Coronavirus lockdown: Retailers, wholesalers come up with strategies for swift deliveries of essentials

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Published: April 9, 2020 3:30:35 AM

Mohit Sardana, COO, food delivery at Zomato, said the firm has an estimated reach of 50 lakh households with Zomato Market, the company’s grocery service that is live across more than 80 cities.

About 20,000 staff from non-food stores have been deployed in food stores so far and the number is expected to improve going ahead. About 20,000 staff from non-food stores have been deployed in food stores so far and the number is expected to improve going ahead. (Representative image)

As the acute shortage of labourers and poor availability of transport on the ground will take considerable time to get back to normal, offline and online retailers and wholesalers have come up with strategies to enable swift deliveries of essentials to consumers.

DMart, which runs over 200 stores across the country, has launched ‘store on wheels’ — a service that will facilitate DMart trucks carrying essential grocery items to be parked in residential societies for three hours. The retailer did not comment on whether the delivery personnel moving the trucks are facing resistance from local authorities.

Arvind Mediratta, MD and CEO at Metro Cash & Carry, told FE that the company has been deploying its own trucks to pick up goods from several warehouses. To help kiranas order online and allow them access to stocks, the company has also launched its e-commerce app. The delivery to the business customers is taken care of by the company, Mediratta said. Availability of products like Nestle Maggie and toiletries by HUL is low, thereby making way for local brands. “Customers are keen on getting the product rather than being conscious about their brand affinity,” Mediratta said.

Devendra Chawla, MD at Spencer’s Retail and CEO, Nature’s Basket, told FE the company has stitched partnerships with Uber, Swiggy and Rapido to enable last-mile delivery to customers. The retailer is also reaching out to various resident welfare associations (RWA) as part of the effort. While during the first half of the lockdown, customers were primarily stocking up staples, currently, demand for products like shampoos, detergents, pizza bases and breads and more vegetables are also on the rise.

Mohit Sardana, COO, food delivery at Zomato, said the firm has an estimated reach of 50 lakh households with Zomato Market, the company’s grocery service that is live across more than 80 cities.

Ashish Kumar, co-founder at near.store, a Mumbai-based online aggregator of neighbourhood stores, said yogurt brand Epigamia has started delivering in housing societies listed with the company. The orders are placed by individuals at societies and the delivery is done by Epigamia the next day.

Grofers in a statement on Wednesday said it has introduced ‘Society Group Orders’, a service through which it has partnered with RWAs of 100 societies across leading metros to make essentials available to more customers. The company plans to expand the tie-up to other cities soon.

Karthik Venkateswaran, co-founder and CEO at B2B start-up Jumbotail, said the company is picking up stocks from distributors of FMCG companies and delivering them to kirana stores.

Samarth Agarwal, founder and CEO at MaxWholesale, said to retain staff, the firm has introduced a bonus scheme for operations staff wherein they will get a 50% additional pay in April. While FMCG companies are still “struggling” with supplies and the company is having difficulty in maintaining stock of packaged foods, the situation is manageable so far as more suppliers have started operations, albeit partially. There is a surge in consumer demand for cooking oil, dal, spices, rice and atta, Agarwal said.

Domestic brand Nobel Hygiene that makes diapers and sanitary pads has made an arrangement wherein regular customers can collect their orders from nearby distributors. “There is a minor improvement on the supply chain side and stock is trickling onto chemists’ shelves,” vice-president Kartik Johari told FE.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO at Retailers Association of India, said collaboration among government officials, supply chain companies, offline and online players have helped in ensuring supply of essentials to consumers. About 20,000 staff from non-food stores have been deployed in food stores so far and the number is expected to improve going ahead. Local employers are getting back to work and staff attendance has risen to nearly 70% from 25% earlier, Rajagopalan said.

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