E-grocers start utilising available resources of other e-commerce ventures to augment their last mile delivery

Food and grocery retailers and e-grocers have started to utilise available manpower resources of other e-commerce ventures to augment their last mile delivery to tide over the acute shortage of manpower.

Some e-grocers have also agreed to pick and deliver orders from local kiranas and supermarkets to customers, three industry executives said.

Leading national and local supermarkets as well as e-grocers like Grofers and Big Basket are going to partner with food delivery apps Swiggy and Zomato, and other available resources of e-commerce firms in fashion and other segments which have currently shut down operations, the executives said.

Large apparel and electronics brick-and-mortar retailers have also offered their available manpower to food and grocery players to help their in store operations and home delivery back-end, they said.

“Such sharing of manpower is the first such instance when the entire industry has come together forgetting rivalry to supply essentials to consumers with several migrant workers leaving the cities for their homes,” said Retailers Association of India (RAI) CEO Kumar Rajagopalan.

He said several of the food delivery apps and e-grocers have agreed to pick up essential orders from offline stores, from kiranas, local and large supermarkets, to deliver to consumers.

Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Basket MD Devendra Chawla said new solutions to serve consumers are being tried like tying-up with e-commerce and logistics start-ups for delivery when manpower is reduced.

“The industry is also taking support of industry bodies like CII, FICCI and RAI to create a new ecosystem and making store as a platform for pickup and delivery of essentials,” he said.

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Reliance Retail is utilising available manpower from within other formats, while it has received proposals from other retailers and e-commerce firms to work together and augment last mile. “These are tough times and any available resources will help,” CEO (grocery) Damodar Mall said.

RAI said around 25% of brick-and-mortar retail staff are coming over for work as of Saturday, while demand for food and grocery have peaked with the country on a nationwide lockdown hampering the movement of essentials.

Grofers CEO Albinder Dhindsa said the e-grocer has already started picking up and delivering orders from brick and mortar stores in Delhi and Lucknow. He said the company plans to expand this across the nation.

Grofers will also be using the delivery fleet of Swiggy and Zomato, industry executives said.

RAI has created WhatsApp groups with retailers, e-commerce firms, manufacturers and local administration where one can help another and forge partnerships. Even HR heads are discussing on the finer details to make these partnerships work, said Rajagopalan.

Swiggy, Zomato and Big Basket did not respond to queries from ET.

Several states have relaxed the operation of food delivery apps during the lock down, while other e-commerce delivery manpower will work under the retailer’s rolls for the moment to ensure they are considered as essential service.


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