From Hurricane Katrina and extreme couponing to building her grocery delivery business, Making Groceries For You, Dominique Turner knows how to power through tough situations and succeed.
“Right after Hurricane Katrina, I stopped being employed by the city of New Orleans. A couple of years later, met my husband, got married, became a stay-at-home mom and had two children in diapers and we were a one income family,” says Dominique, “I decided to make up the [income] difference…and got good at extreme couponing and started doing a couponing class. I realized I liked to shop so once my youngest was in school, I looked into stuff I could do on my own as far as shopping and found Instacart and Shipt.”
By discovering her hidden shopping and couponing talents, Dominique began collecting excellent reviews on the platforms, and was consistently asked if she could become her clients’ personal shopper. “I was like, ‘Well, no, that’s not an option on these platforms, but hopefully one day [you can choose me], and the pandemic hit and everybody was saying, ‘You need to go out and do this on your own,’” she explains.
With the help of her sisters, Dominique tackled creating a concept, designing a logo, getting her social media and marketing off the ground, and found Dumpling to get rolling. “Dumpling has been a huge help with back-of-house tools that made me more professional whereas I could compete with the Instacarts and Shipts with the Dumpling app and could pay virtually through credit cards,” says Dominique, “The fact that I was contactless and knew what I was doing helped me zoom into the scene quickly, and grow fairly quickly, and get a nice customer base in a short amount of time.”
As her Dumpling business expanded and Instacart hit a downward trend, Dominique left Instacart completely. Her main issue? They didn’t listen to shoppers when there was clear fraud happening. “Instead of looking at my background and track record, one person saying I didn’t deliver their order was a strike or someone saying their items were damaged and would literally list their whole order as damaged would be a strike against me and a low rating stopped me from being able to get orders,” she explains.
When she saw the fraud interfering with her financial growth, Dominique immediately began looking beyond Instacart and Shipt “because it was so frustrating when I knew I was doing the best I could that somebody could wanna scam to get free groceries, and it was hurting my livelihood,” she adds.
Revving Up Growth for a Financially-Savvy Mom On The Go
Since partnering with Dumpling and beginning her own grocery delivery business, Dominique moved from taking shots in the dark to gathering ideas and marketing tips from the mentorship team. “A lot of people will try Dumpling and think it’s like Instacart and the orders are gonna be coming your way,” she says, “You really have to get out there and get yourself known or get customers to see you because otherwise it won’t move.”
Having her own business meant she could “still be able to be a band mom and do Girl Scouts,” earn money for her family, and maintain a flexible schedule as well. Currently, Dominique serves 20 regular clients and works Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. She also found a repeat restaurant client that she delivers for every weekday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and they regularly advertise her business to help her get leads.
When it comes to her client systems, Dominique guides them seamlessly through each step with clear communication and shows her diligent shopping processes. “The features in Dumpling’s app that allow me to send already pre-loaded messages, I love that, love that…it’s made my life a lot easier,” she says, “And in my intro to people, I let them know I’m shopping for you as if I’m shopping for my family. I’m a mom of four, I’m a wife, and extremely particular about the food I bring home to my family. I’m paying attention to if the produce is bruised or molded, if your berries are good at the bottom, expiration dates on the meat, if the package is puffed.”
It’s that sharp attention to detail that’s reflected in her top reviews and client word-of-mouth praise. And in order to keep spreading the word, Dominique expanded her branding by tapping into Instagram and incorporating her business name, Making Groceries For You, onto shirts with her phone number on the back plus branded masks, sweatshirts, and insulated bags.
“I found Instagram has been a huge way for me to get to more people,” says Dominique, “Facebook didn’t really catch a lot of eyes, but Instagram has been huge and getting seen by people and getting tagged in their posts has been good for getting exposure.”
While she works on growing leads and exposure, Dominique’s also been experimenting with Dumpling’s app and landed on a new favorite: controlling zip codes. With this feature, she can collect zip codes that make financial sense to deliver to “and I absolutely love it because everyone who’s reached out since that’s gone live has been in the area I want,” she adds.
Because you’re building your own business alongside Dumpling, “I’m able to set my own prices and I liked that it was also trial and error as to what was worth my time, how to not be so expensive that the client couldn’t afford it yet be expensive enough that it made financial sense for me,” Dominique explains, “Nine times out of 10, my clients tip really well, but I don’t wanna rely on tips so the percentage base structure has worked best for me so that regardless if you tip or not, I know that I’ve gotten what was worth my time.”
Reeling in Recurring Dumpling Revenue Without Sacrificing Shop Quality
“I’m always looking at the number of repeat clients, I love when that goes up. I remember when I got to 100 repeat clients, I was super excited and 1,000 orders; I celebrated that,” says Dominique, “I like to make sure my insights, as far as my earnings, are going up, or that I’m hitting a certain goal every month, and that’s easy to track and see in Dumpling’s app…If I can make $3,000 a month, I’m hitting my goal.”
Because of her determined drive to create a seamless shop, she’s looking to grow her business by adding additional services so her clients feel like working with her is effortless and easy. She also loves that Dumpling helps her think ahead, like sending customer surveys so she didn’t have to spend time building her own.
Moving into grocery delivery and constructing your own business takes time and work, but Dominique has a few tips to help you immediately start creating one-of-a-kind customer experiences: Use customer notes in Dumpling’s app to record food and allergy preferences (peanut, pork, vegan, keto, etc.) so you can always deliver, and make sure to take note of special dates like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or their 50th or 100th order so you can remember to show customer appreciation.