The wave of rapid trade is spreading


Hyderabad: Jyothi, a resident of a settlement some distance from Alwal’s main road, has to walk about a mile to get to the nearest grocery market. To save time, she does the necessary shopping when she comes back from the office. If she has to visit the market at odd hours, she postpones the visit or makes do with what’s at home, that was until a few months ago.

Now she’s found a solution in the form of Flipkart Quick, the section that takes orders for groceries, dairy, vegetables and more. If the ordering and payment mechanisms remain the same as on the e-commerce portal, it is the delivery that sets it apart. There is no waiting a day or two for products to be delivered – they are delivered within minutes. It is the wave of fast trading or q-commerce that is happening. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on instant delivery, sometimes within 15-30 minutes of ordering.

The past 18 months have been characterized by an increase in screen time on mobiles and electronic payments in the form of UPIs due to Covid. This combination gave rise to a new segment of commerce known as fast commerce, also popular as “on-demand delivery” and “e-grocery”. Flipkart, Ola, BigBasket, Swiggy Instamart, Grofers (which is now rebranded as Blinkit), Zepto and others are part of the fast trading segment. Most of them are present in several cities or plan to be there soon.

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Some products

The delivery is made without contact in view of the fear of the Covid which still continues. Until recently the minimum order required was Rs 99 and now it has been increased by Rs 199 on Flipkart’s Quick Service Wing. There is no delivery charge for orders over Rs 199. Fruits, vegetables, medicines, dairy products and fast consumer goods like cookies, atta, toothpaste, stationery, personal hygiene products and over-the-counter medications are the most ordered products on the q-commerce platforms. Early players like Swiggy and Dunzo have stepped up their operations in the fast-paced trade space. Blinkit has announced plans to add 150 dark stores to bring the total to 500 this year. Dark stores are mini-warehouses that have a limited number of storage units (SKUs).

Delivery

Delivery times are considerably reduced as the products ordered come from a local warehouse nearby. An army of bicycle delivery men waits outside. The order is processed in about ten minutes and is ready for immediate delivery.

Hyperlocal play

For example, Swiggy has a mini-warehouse in Lothkunta, which serves surrounding areas within a radius of about five km. There are similar micro-warehouses from other companies near Kompally and surrounding areas. The prices of fruits and vegetables are dynamic. The price drops or the quantity increases when they are about to perish.

Big potential and growth driver

A report by consultancy firm Redseer Consulting said rapid trade is now estimated at $ 300 million and is expected to grow to $ 5 billion by 2025, mainly due to increasing adoption by customers looking for convenience with unforeseen control behavior. Instant delivery, multiple payment channels, flexibility to order via mobile are the main drivers of rapid commerce growth, which is expected to be a major e-commerce model in the days to come. Travel restrictions and social distancing standards, if re-enforced, will not reduce demand but rather increase it. Customers willing to pay extra for instant delivery will be the key to its success in the days to come. Analytics can be used for more targeted marketing.

Delivery platforms only

Flowers, cakes, groceries, restaurant food items are also seeing hyperlocal delivery. Wefast, Dunzo, Grab, Saral, Shadowfox and others are used by small businesses to deliver their products to their customers. Prompt delivery, tracking, cash on delivery are the main features. They are used to deliver documents, products, flowers, pet supplies, health and wellness products, fruits, vegetables, groceries, meat, fish and others.


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