Your Shopper Heather started in April 2021 with the same sharp focus Heather Rynerson carried through years of nonprofit work: alleviating the guilt and shame families felt asking for help from others, and building connection bridges to simplify complicated situations in their lives. Working in rural communities, Heather guided youth and their families through risky decisions and helped reduce drug and alcohol use as well as teen pregnancy.
But when she began working on her grocery delivery business full-time, she “got super busy, super fast” with Instacart and Shipt. “I kept finding a lot of my customers were very refreshed that I was getting ’em the items they wanted, and took the time to communicate,” Heather explains.
“I didn’t care how long it took me to shop, even though I was hustling…I found many of them were like, ‘Wow, we can’t believe you asked how I want my bananas or I’ve never been asked how I want my avocados,’” she adds, “And then I had a girlfriend who said, ‘Hey, I found another friend who’s shopping on Dumpling. You could be your own independent business owner and should check it out,’ so I did.”
With their algorithm changes, her COVID illness, and car accident, she wasn’t seeing orders flow in with Instacart or Shipt like when she started. “I’ll sit there and wait and wait and wait and maybe get one order within two hours so luckily my Dumpling business has been kicking up and I’ve been increasing my social media presence,” she says.
“I’m so thankful I found Dumpling so I don’t have to rely on [Instacart or Shipt] long term. Plus, you make next to nothing when you’re shopping for a Shipt or an Instacart,” Heather adds, “You used to be able to calculate 80 cents to $1 per item, but now you could shop a 50 to 60 item order and maybe make $12 or less plus you drive like 12 miles to make that delivery, or they’ll bundle 3 orders together in completely opposite directions so you’re scrambling to try to keep items cold or warm, it’s just odd.”
Building Bridges, Simplifying To-Do Lists, and Understanding Time = Money
“I love owning my own business and I love that I’m a bridge builder; that’s just the gift God’s bestowed upon me…My passion is helping people have ease in their lives,” says Heather, “Our lives are way too busy as it is, mine included, so time is money, and I know I can save people time by helping them with things on their list.”
In order to grow her Dumpling business, she focuses her marketing messaging on the idea of what else would you do if you didn’t have to go grocery shopping or run errands this week? “It’s so helpful to help people free up their time and not feel guilty about it…Some people feel so guilty asking others for help,” she explains, “And if I can help them to not feel guilt or shame for letting somebody help them, that’s powerful.”
Supporting 15 active clients where 6 order regularly, Heather’s garnering more leads every day with her personal approach, and loves that unlike Instacart and Shipt, with Dumpling she can continue building long-term relationships. As soon as she receives an order, Heather immediately begins communicating, which is what her customers adore about her service.
She lets them know she saw their order and is available to answer questions, notifies them when she’s shopping and sends order photos, asks about their schedule for delivery, and checks back in as she heads to checkout to see if there’s anything extra she can get for them.
From start to finish and through every single step, she’s clearly communicating and being of service. “It really shows appreciation because they chose me and they could go to the store themselves or ask a neighbor, or go through other platforms and just roll the dice,” Heather explains, “And I tell my customers, ‘I want you to know if I miss something, if there’s rotten strawberries and I didn’t catch it, or I miss an expiration or I make a mistake, which happens, I want to know immediately, I’ll drive back to pick up that item and make it right,” because you’re gonna have to do that anyways and it wasn’t your mistake. That’s my personal touch.”
She also makes her clients feel special with items like holiday tablecloths kids can color on, birthday cards, or when she has a client who’s ill, she’ll shop for them, pick up a “Get Well” card, and follow up to see if they need anything to help them heal faster like soup.
Dumpling Mentoring and Support to Build Her Own Business The Smart Way
“The resources Dumpling has are incredible. Their coaches do twice a week training calls, I’m not able to jump on all of them, but the fact that they’re there and the community spirit of helping each other is really helpful,” Heather explains, “I love that it’s my business and I’m solely responsible for the success or failure of this business, but I have all the support and tools I need at my fingertips for whatever direction I want to take it with Dumpling.”
She also enjoys the in-app messaging for consistent communication and Dumpling’s social media strategy. “The app is incredible…It’s so professional and helpful for the success of my business or anybody’s business,” says Heather, “I love Dumpling’s social media presence, especially on Instagram, how they shout out their shoppers and provide helpful content for families as far as recipe and cooking ideas. And I love that I can reshare to my Instagram story to show the magnitude of Dumpling and the legitimate platform that it is.”
With the growth of her Dumpling business, Heather’s shooting for full-time shopping with Dumpling by June 2022, with her Monday through Saturday schedule from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. And the overwhelming support Dumpling and the shopper community offers her not only makes her feel welcomed, but like she has plenty of connections if she needs assistance.
Driving around town in her car bedazzled with vinyl stickers showing “Your Shopper Heather” plus an Instagram logo and QR code, Heather’s also hoping to connect in her community, especially with senior care facilities, through grocery delivery.
“[I wanted to] let them know that if they have anyone who’s struggling with the quality of other delivery services, I offer mine and see if they’d feature me in their newsletter or allow me to share information with their residents,” Heather explains, “I also want to be part of the local Chamber of Commerce so I can not only give back to my community, but let people know that I’m here if anybody needs shopping or delivering services.”
If you’re thinking about diving into grocery delivery, Heather offers some last fantastic starter advice: “Go through all the Dumpling University videos, be on the coaching calls, and work with a coach because the coaches are going to help you be successful. Then, be on at least one of the two weekly coaching calls to ask questions and connect with other shoppers because you’ll get the support you want and need.”