Brighter future ahead for India’s online grocery retailers: GlobalData
While the initial days of lockdown enforced in India in response to COVID-19 crisis sent the Indian online food and grocery retailers into disarray, they were able to quickly turn things around and convert the situation into one of immense growth opportunity, says GlobalData, a leading data, and analytics company.
The Indian customers embraced online food delivery platforms like BigBasket, Grofers, and Licious during the lockdown. However, most of these businesses struggled to benefit from the massive spike in demand, at least initially, as shortage of delivery staff and challenges with local administration disrupted their supply chain.
Saurabh Daga, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, said that most of the migrant workers hired as delivery staff by online retailers chose to return to their hometowns in the initial panic caused by the lockdown, thus reducing the operational capacity of these firms.
“While the central government had allowed online delivery of essentials, the local administration was often not clear about permissions for movement of delivery vehicles or staff, which led to delays or missed order deliveries,” he added.
However, online platforms re-designing their strategies to overcome the challenges. For instance, iD Fresh tackled the issue of long queues at its physical stores, and frequent stock-outs with an ‘online store finder’ application. This app enables customers to plan their store visits by running a search online for stores that are open, check product availability, and fresh arrivals.
Licious, an online meat and seafood seller, on the other hand, tied up with third-party logistics providers like Shadow fox and Yulu to overcome the shortage of delivery staff and continue its order fulfilments.
Daga added, “Online grocery retailer BigBasket’s success at raising an additional US$60mfunding in a venture round and US$51.8m in debt financing from Alibaba, and Reliance JioMart’s debut on Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp, only indicate that the market participants are anticipating and gearing up for a bigger and brighter future ahead.”