Mercato, an online platform that helps smaller groceries establish e-commerce stores, has raised a $26 million Series A round of funding. TechCrunch was first to report the news today, writing that the round was led by Velvet Sea Ventures with participation from Team Europe and returning Seed investors Greycroft and Loeb.nyc.
As we have covered extensively over the past year, the pandemic accelerated consumer adoption of online grocery shopping. And while the number of people using grocery e-commerce has come down from the record highs of last summer, the most recent data from Brick Meets Click showed that U.S. consumers spent $6.1 billion on grocery pickup and delivery in February of 2021.
As a result, the big retailers in the space have ramped up their spending to keep up with demand and eventually encourage online grocery shopping. Giants like Walmart and Albertsons have and are investing in automated e-commerce order fulfillment and expanding curbside pickup and delivery options.
That’s great for big, publicly traded grocery retailers, who have the money to implement multi-faceted online shopping experiences. But what about the smaller, local, independent grocers without a huge market cap? That’s where Mercato comes in.
Mercato’s platform handles all the operational functions of running an online store for the smaller grocer. Mercato takes care of order management and processing, online marketing and even connects stores with a network of delivery drivers across the country. During the pandemic’s first big wave last year, Mercato launched a rapid on-boarding process that it now says can get grocers online in as little as 24 hours.
Mercato told TechCrunch that it has 1,000 merchants across the country on its platform, up from 60 in March of last year. The company said it will use its new funding to expand its team and its data analytics services.