Do we really need quick commerce? | The Financial Express

Do we really need quick commerce?

Even as the experience so far has largely been one of ‘over-promising and under-delivering’, the fact is that quick commerce could lead to problems that affect the overall customer experience negatively

Do we really need quick commerce? swiggy delivery
These quick commerce apps ran high-decibel promotions promising extremely quick deliveries along with great offers of discounts. (PTI Photo)

By VV Ravi Kumar

Quick commerce is the buzzword today. A host of apps today promise grocery deliveries within 10-30 minutes of placing the order. The nearest dark store gets into action once the order is placed through a smartphone app and starts the process of picking the items, packing and billing the same even as a delivery executive is readied for reaching the customer’s place. This quick commerce grocery delivery business model has attracted a raft of players both small and big. Dunzo daily, Ola dash, Zepto, Swiggy Instamart, Blinkit are some of the names that come to mind instantly which are active in this space. Bigbasket, the early entrant into the grocery ecommerce segment operating with an assured delivery slot model, was also compelled to provide an option for quick grocery deliveries with its variant named BBNow due to the fierce competition for quick grocery deliveries.

For this model to be sustainable, each dark store may able to serve within a radius of 3 kms only and depends on multiple factors like fast moving Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in a given area, the number of items ordered by a customer in an order, availability of manpower in the store as well as the delivery executives and, most importantly, the traffic conditions in a particular zone. Of course, technology is being leveraged extensively to manage the challenges.

These quick commerce apps ran high-decibel promotions promising extremely quick deliveries along with great offers of discounts.

Now, it was decided to try out these quick-commerce apps, to observe the results on ground. In two cases, first involving fruits and vegetables delivery and the second involving cleasing items, there was over-promising and under-delivery—while in the first case, order delivery took 29 minutes instead of the promised 19, in the second case, delivery was completed well after two hours of the order being placed. Though the promised delivery time in the latter case was 10 minutes, The moment the order was placed at 8.33 am, a message alerted that order fulfilment was taking longer than expected due to high demand and that it would be delivered in just under two hours. The reason given for the delay in the first case was the bad traffic conditions enroute.

Such experiences raise very pertinent questions for both the companies promoting quick commerce and the customers.

  1. Is this model sustainable for the smartphone apps promising grocery deliveries almost instantly as business grows?
  2. Are the delivery executives pressured to zip through traffic and meet the tough deadlines or do they operate in a very small radius?
  3. Is grocery such an emergency group of items that it has to be delivered in 10 minutes?
  4. If items are picked up in such a hurry and as volumes increase, there could be issues of quality, wrong-billing, mixing up of items in an order in addition to the delays as pointed out in the two situations above which could result in poor customer satisfaction.

It is for us as a society to come to a decision as to whether delivery under 10 minutes is a requirement for delivery of grocery items or can it be say within a reasonable timeframe of 2 hours which could also result in meeting the customer expectations every time rather than giving reasons of traffic or high demand for the delayed quick deliveries.

(The author is the Deputy director of Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune. Views expressed are personal and not necessarily that of Financial Express Online.)

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First published on: 04-04-2022 at 22:19 IST