Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, leading retail chains such as Spencer’s, Big Bazaar and Reliance Fresh have initiated discussions with food delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato for possible home delivery of grocery items. The idea was first mooted in a state government meeting on Saturday at Nabanna, following which the retail chains have reached out to the food delivery aggregators.
Meanwhile, e-grocery firms, who were earlier stuck amid irregular supply and restriction, claim to have resumed services in select areas. An official said it’s a win-win situation for both e-grocers and food delivery services as food apps are not getting adequate business. The apps could partner with at least 10,000-12,000 delivery firms in the city.
Associations of various wholesaler markets in Posta and Burrabazar, e-commerce firms Amazon and Flipkart, e-grocers BigBasket and Grofers and hypermarts like Spencer’s and Big Bazaar had attended the meeting.
Business head of Future Group (east), Manish Agarwal, said, “We are discussing with them (Swiggy and Zomato) and trying to arrive at a solution.” A spokesperson of Spencer’s said it’s exploring possibilities (tie-up with food apps). Agarwal pointed out it is catering to people under several constraints.
Sandip Agarwal, additional general secretary of Posta Bazar Merchants’ Association, also feels that only customers will be benefited from the move.
A Zomato spokesperson said they did not have anything to add to Saturday’s development. Swiggy’s comment, too, was not available till the report went to the press. Since Sunday morning, customers have started getting texts and calls from e-grocers that previous orders would be delivered first and they would begin taking fresh ones within a day.
Currently, 90% of Grofers warehouses are operational and it has deployed 50% of delivery partners. Rohit Sharma, head of supply chain, Grofers, said: “We have ramped up supply chain capabilities to secure sufficient stock. Delivery, though, may take time.” BigBasket said: “We are operational in Kolkata. We are creating a focused programme to bring back on-field workforce. For a huge backlog, prepaid order will be prioritized.”Amazon India is only delivering existing prepaid orders of essential products.
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