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Groceries home delivery, Retail News, ET Retail

Meesho, Shopclues, NoBroker, others enter online grocery space for survivalBENGALURU: A slew of internet businesses has diversified into the groceries space, a category deemed tough to crack for e-commerce players, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Social commerce startup Meesho, etailers like Snapdeal, Paytm Mall, Perpule and Shopclues, as well as food delivery app Zomato and real estate platform NoBroker have all launched delivery of essential grocery products on their platforms, in a bid to keep operations running and tap into rising consumer demand.

The foray into grocery and delivery of essentials have also been pushed by local governments and allows these businesses to get curfew passes to stay operational during the lockdown period — a significant incentive at the moment, a policy executive told ET.

Zomato said its grocery service Market had gone live within two weeks across more than 80 cities. Snapdeal has expanded its reach to 96 cities, and Paytm Mall said it was signing up merchants across the top 10-12 cities. Meesho said its pilot is less than a week old and live in a few cities. Swiggy said it has enabled groceries delivery across all tier-I & II cities and is in discussion with multiple national and regional (FMCG) brands for a partnership.

This comes at a time when all these platforms have seen core earnings drop sharply due to the Covid-19 crisis, and startups are exploring various revenue streams to allocate resources, including on-ground workforce and logistics personnel.

Most of them have partnered with local manufacturers, kirana (corner) stores, local modern retail outlets like Nilgiris and Modern Bazaar, startups like NinjaCart, Gully Network, Jumbotail and supermarket chains like Spencer’s Retail, Vishal MegaMart, More, Metro Cash & Carry, as well as FMCG companies like ITC, to fulfil orders. “When we tapped local wholesalers, they were happy to sell online (also) because payments are quicker via ecomm than through traditional retail channels where extending credit is often the norm,” Rajnish Wahi, senior vice-president of Snapdeal said.

In fact, others who are already in the business including Swiggy Stores, DealShare, Dunzo as well as Flipkart, Big Basket and Grofers are aggressively looking to expand by forging partnerships with brands, kirana stores, last-mile delivery companies and are setting up new warehouses to cater to a surge in demand.

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