Swapping passing out pizzas for gathering groceries, Mike Nigro started shopping with Shipt in 2017 and found his true gift: creating trustworthy, long-term client relationships. “It’s nice that we’re like a family almost,” he says, “There’s people who trust me with garage codes and I’ll stick their order in the refrigerator and let their dog out, and it’s the little things that gain peoples’ trust. It feels like you’re doing a favor for part of their family.”
Shipt orders went well for a while…until Mike felt it was hindering his ability to be personable with long-held clients and go that extra mile. “It’s just not the same as it used to be, unfortunately,” says Mike, “It’s a shame because it was a good company to work for, I’m not saying it isn’t right now, but a lot of things have changed. And that’s why I started Dumpling because I wanted my good customers to be my only clientele, and to focus on giving them a better variety of stores that Shipt doesn’t have.”
It was through meeting Chuck Elliott, a former Shipt shopper, at a conference that Mike realized “things weren’t working out.” “As soon as Shipt started screwing around with the app, they changed the way we got orders and offered your order to 20 people at once, and you literally had to have your finger right on the button to get their order; you get one shot and that’s it,” Mike explains, “With Dumpling, they’re gonna get me and don’t have to wonder if it’s gonna go to someone else.”
By starting the switch to Dumpling in June 2022, Mike finally transitioned his gold-star client relationships to a platform that offered more stores and flexibility, better compensation, and in-store pricing for clients. “I like having the personal one-on-one connection with them, and there’s nobody watching over your back if you’re late or there’s a bad substitution,” Mike says, “I have everyone’s number so if there’s a problem with anything, of course I’ll fix it, and they know there’s nothing I’d do to jeopardize my relationship with them.”
Making Dumpling 100 Percent of His Business with Plenty of Extras
As Mike delivers about 30 percent of his orders with his Dumpling business, Shop With Mike, and 70 percent with Shipt, he hopes to make his biz full-time within the next year. “I’m trying to get my services out there and the biggest thing is to tell ’em there’s no upcharge like on Instacart or [Shipt],” Mike explains.
“They don’t want customers to see the receipt because they’ll see how much they’re paying versus what they’re paying in store so that’s another thing I say is they’re gonna pay store pricing and the only thing I’m gonna charge for is my wage and gratuity; that’s how I’m paying myself to shop for you,” he adds.
After five years of delivering groceries, Mike knew when it came to pay he needed to “set the bar a little above what I used to get paid to keep up with car maintenance and gas” in his Dumpling business. That meant pricing at 15 percent of the order total and minimum 15 percent gratuity and shooting for a goal of $500 per week. From 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday through Friday, with Saturdays off, he’s building in-store relationships as he shops and providing store extras.
“I’m at the store daily and I’ve only shopped this store for the last five years, and they all know me so if I need to keep a customer item in the cooler in the summertime, I can leave it there, no problem,” Mike says, “They go out of their way to hold stuff for me and if there’s a hard-to-find item, like baby formula, they’ll stockpile it in the back and it’s really good to have those relationships.”
Formulas Focused on Communication to Increase Regular Orders and Shopper Pay
In addition to chatting up store employees, Mike also gets laser focused on client communications to drop more regulars into Dumpling. All clients have his number and he texts them about special store items, substitutions, or surprises. “Just the little things that show them you’re going the extra mile and that you’re thinking about them and doing these things out of your own [goodness],” he says.
And that ties into the “fantastic” customer service he believes Dumpling provides that coincides with exactly how he wants his clients to feel: heard and responded to. Any issues he’s had were handled promptly, just like he would with a client, whether it was a receipt, card, or the app.
“I go above and beyond for everyone and that’s the biggest thing I wanted to bring to the table when I signed up for Dumpling. I’m not gonna do a poor job and leave you high and dry. I’m going to do everything right, and if you’re satisfied the first time, you’ll keep ordering from me no matter what,” Mike explains, “Chuck sold me on something [with Dumpling] that you’re gonna get paid more per order because you can set your pay yourself. And with Shipt, there’s no formula for how much you’re gonna make unless they’re a really good customer.”
Greater Income Stability with Sky’s-The-Limit Order Growth
Building up his Dumpling operations to full-time has already shown Mike that with setting his own pay and strong relationships, his income has greater security. “I’m much more stable and not only that, but clients all have your information, it’s not like you’re even working for a company anymore, you’re just working for yourself,” he explains.
He also uses Dumpling’s Insights to measure business progress and performance in terms of regular orders, reviews, and new orders from potential repeat clients as well as schedule maintenance. “At least with Dumpling, I can get orders the day before whereas with Shipt, they only send you orders 3 hours before they’re due so you don’t have a game plan of what you need to do for that day,” Mike says.
If you’ve struggled to see growth on other platforms or want to secure a grocery delivery customer base, Mike recommends learning more about your clients, what they order and how often, and try to upsell when you see ingredients for specific recipes. “I always try to upsell, like if I see chili beans and chili ingredients I ask, ‘Hey, do you have meat for the chili? Do you have sour cream, chopped onions, celery?’ Try to go outta your way to make that total bigger, which puts money in your pocket,” he says.
As a shopper, your job is to take seriously any opportunities available to help your clients. “They’re trusting you with their hard-earning money to go out to the stores and shop for them, bag it all up, and bring it to their house so they can have dinner that night,” Mike explains.
And he “definitely” recommends Dumpling for scaling so you can match personable communication experiences and one-on-one relationships with your income goals. “The sky’s the limit on how many orders you want to do,” says Mike, “And you don’t have anybody to watch over you since everything is through you and the customer where if there’s a problem you handle it yourself and make it right.”