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Q&A: Building out instant-delivery networks with DoorDash

Shanna Prevé, vice president of enterprise sales and business development at DoorDash, creates partnerships with large customers, from restaurant to convenience to retailers. Prevé spoke with Insider Intelligence about the company’s mission to lead the instant-delivery space, shifting consumer behavior, and smart technologies.

Insider Intelligence: How is DoorDash expanding?

Shanna Prevé: When the company started, the goal was to deliver anything from any local merchant, but it had to start somewhere. We started with restaurants because it was the hardest problem to get right first. If you could figure out how to deliver a pizza while it's hot or ice cream while it's frozen, everything seems a lot easier after that.

We are moving into other categories because of the logistics network that has been set up, and also as a result of the pandemic, which increased consumer demand to get everything delivered. Consumers did it for safety during the pandemic; now they are doing it for convenience. It's a trend that is here to stay—consumers want what they want, when they want it, and usually they want it now.

II: What other shifts in consumer behavior have you seen?

SP: Even a few years ago, online ordering meant you were able to shop from a variety of places. If you wanted a pair of jeans or pet supplies, there'd be a host of sites to order from, but the tradeoff for all that selection is that you'd have to wait. Now, if you want a Bed Bath & Beyond product, you don’t need it sent from a distribution center in northern Florida. Instead the customer can go online, order it from Bed Bath & Beyond, and because it's coming from their local store, they will get it in minutes. Our technology is enhancing the footprint of physical retailers.

You can have the selection of the entire internet, and DoorDash has built a logistics network to get it to you within minutes, not hours or days. When you can get deliveries that fast, it's changes the habit of the consumer.

II: Why should retailers partner with DoorDash?

SP: We have the largest consumer base. We have 25 million monthly active users, and we know those users want to explore and purchase retail products immediately.

The second is that we have the largest built-out logistics. We have millions of Dashers who are super reliable and can deliver those retail products.

The third is our coverage. DoorDash covers more cities than any other logistics provider (92%) of the US, allowing retailers in most cities to access our services.

II: What opportunities do you see for smart technologies?

SP: We bought Bbot, which will allow patrons to go into a restaurant, scan a QR code, and easily look at the menu, order, and pay. We want to reduce friction from retailers not being online. We feel like we're making good on our mission to grow and empower local economies when we acquire technologies like this and make them available to our merchants.

We also use technology to improve our systems, especially machine learning. We've got millions of Dashers delivering millions of orders per day, so we use technology to figure out how we can optimize their time. Hundreds of factors go into each customer order, such as traffic patterns, weather patterns, and the time of year. Our technology looks at all that data, builds simulations to predict what might go wrong, and creates a plan for that.