Shreyas Kulkarni
Marketing

India's retail giants and online players together ensure the supply of essential goods

A look at how the two are partnering with each other during the ongoing nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.

Pandemics and economics don't mix.

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in India and the imposition of lockdown, the demand for household products and food staples like pulses and dairy items has gone up massively.

Unfortunately, brands weren't quite prepared to match this level of demand, despite their best efforts. The lockdown has disrupted the ability of distributors to reach outlets.

Online delivery giants that were looked upon as the future of India's economic prowess and poised to redraw the retail sector were crippled from day one of the lockdown.

However, as the country started getting used to the lockdown, brands and e-retailers, too, drew up new ways to reach their customers in this quarantine era.

Walmart-owned e-commerce giant Flipkart announced on April 9 that consumers in Hyderabad will now be able to order groceries and essentials from the Spencer's store on the Flipkart app. The orders will be collected from a set of chosen sample stores across the city by Flipkart executives and delivered to the customer’s doorstep in a timely and hygienic manner.

A Business Standard report on the same day announced a tie-up between Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) and food delivery app Zomato, B2B supply chain startup ShopKirana and car rental company Zoomcar for delivery of essential goods.

It further said Zomato will offer doorstep delivery of GCPL products, while ShopKirana will deliver them to individual retailers. Zoomcar will help facilitate timely delivery of various essential products under the personal care, hair care, home care and household insecticide categories to the distributors.

A report from Qz.com says that Future Group's Big Bazaar is delivering essential goods, such as groceries, with the help of online bike aggregator Rapido and food delivery service Scootsy.

Britannia Industries said, on April 7, that it had partnered with Dunzo, a hyperlocal online delivery platform, to ensure delivery of its products to consumers. Termed 'Britannia Essentials', consumers can use the Dunzo app to order the items. This service is live across Bengaluru right now, and will soon commence in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurugram, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Uber India, in a press release on April 6, said it has partnered with Flipkart to provide their customers enhanced access to essential supplies across Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The cab-hailing app has also announced partnerships with BigBasket and Kolkata-based retailer Spencer’s Retail for its last-mile delivery service. The former (Uber-BigBasket) will be available across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Noida, with Uber deploying its UberGo, UberXL and UberMoto fleet of vehicles. The partnership with Spencer's Retail will be available only in Kolkata.

FMCG major Marico Limited said on April 3 that it has partnered with online delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato to introduce 'Saffola Store'. "This initiative enables the consumer to order essential food items under the Marico portfolio - Saffola Oils, Saffola Plain Oats, Saffola Masala Oats and Coco Soul Virgin coconut oil, from the safety of their homes. This service is available on Zomato in Delhi NCR and Bangalore. It will be activated in other cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad... The Swiggy stores have started the delivery in Gurgaon and the service will be extended to the rest of Delhi NCR, Bangalore and Mumbai..."

On April 2, Domino's Pizza, one of India's largest pizza chains under Jubilant FoodWorks, partnered with ITC Foods to launch 'Domino's Essentials'. A press release said, "The delivery infrastructure of Domino’s will be leveraged to help customers order everyday grocery essentials offered by ITC Foods..." It further said, "This service will be available for consumers, first in Bengaluru, and then in Noida, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad."

All these partnerships are bound to bring some much-needed relief to consumers. But with the lockdown on the verge of being extended, let‘s see how efficiently these services will run, given the experience till now.