When consumers get groceries delivered in 10-30 minutes, does it change expectations from other delivery sectors?
Consumers these days have come to expect a whole new level of convenience – having groceries and household essentials delivered to them in 10-30 minutes. In keeping with this trend, leading online grocery delivery firm Grofers recently changed its name to BlinkIt.
It's very telling of the times we live in. Brands in this segment promise grocery delivery in as little time as possible. This has led to a whole new level of consumer expectations.
The players in this segment include Dunzo Daily (which promises delivery in 20 minutes), Swiggy Instamart (delivery in 15-30 minutes), Ola (delivery in 5-15 minutes) and the newest entrant Zepto (delivery in 5-15 minutes). All these brands have set up 'dark stores' in neighbourhoods so that they can facilitate quick delivery as soon as the order is placed. During the 2020 lockdown, brands like Zomato and Domino's Pizza also diversified into grocery delivery but exited the category in a few months.
So, will this expectation of quick delivery have a spillover effect on other sectors? Is it going to make the consumers more impatient, when it comes to waiting for deliveries from, say, an e-commerce brand, or a food aggregator? Are we witnessing a very fundamental change in consumer behaviour? (Recall that in the 1970s and 80s, people would wait weeks for letters to get delivered.)
Sai Ganesh, CMO of delivery brand Dunzo, says that the need for quick delivery comes from the consumer requirement to have fresh groceries delivered to their doorstep in their quest to eat healthy, fresh food.
"When it comes to the speedy delivery, the consumer has got used to it, which means that the brands have to go that extra mile to make it happen"Sai Ganesh
“Especially during the covid pandemic, the consumer wants to eat healthy food to boost their immunity. When it comes to the speedy delivery, the consumer has got used to it, which means that the brands have to go that extra mile when it comes to making the convenience of delivery available in different neighbourhoods.”
Ganesh confides that his data reveals the quickest grocery delivery happened in 84 seconds in Bengaluru. It was a combination of less traffic because of night hours, close location of the delivery address to the dark store, and ready availability of items.
“We also have to ensure that a variety of stock of products is available in order to be able to fulfil delivery requirements across categories.”
Indrajeet Mookherjee, managing partner, dentsuMB India, points out that during the COVID pandemic, the brands have reinvented themselves significantly to make an outreach to the consumers. There are newer buying models, enhanced accessibility and a multitude of choices.
"What started as a trend amongst a certain section of the audience, is now mainstream."Indrajeet Mookherjee
“What started as a trend amongst a certain section of the audience, is now mainstream. Both established and new brands will continue to find compelling value propositions to woo the consumers.”
Mookherjee adds that this is great for the consumer, who is spoilt for choice. But it is important to spare a thought for the delivery agents and logistics teams, who will face immense pressure to provide this experience in a consistent and timely manner to live up to the brand promise.
Harish Bijoor, a business and brand strategy expert and a consultant, agrees that times have changed as have the consumer expectations from different segments.
"Grofers' semantic morph into BlinkIt is a good one. But it does need to be backed up by delivery efficiencies that walk the talk."Harish Bijoor
“Grocery delivery expectations have transformed from a long wait to a reasonable wait, to no-wait at all! The consumer is impatient. Grofers' semantic morph into BlinkIt is a good one. But it does need to be backed up by delivery efficiencies that walk the talk.”
Bijoor adds that impatience is now the norm for the consumers, and will form the base of future marketing messages that the CMOs design.
“The consumer is the same. Wherever he, she or they shop, the sentiment that demands superior service, speed, shopping and delivery experience will be the same. Physical retailers need to get their act right. The consumer has two currencies in pocket. One is money and the other is time. As of today, the consumer is exercising his/her second currency of time predominantly. Time overrides money,” Bijoor concludes.
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