As people are urged to stay indoors and practise social distancing to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19, most of them are turning to grocery delivery services to keep up with their everyday requirements.
Surge in Demand for Grocery Delivery Systems
One of the rippling effects of coronavirus pandemic is the surge in grocery delivery systems, and retailers around the world are struggling to fulfil this spike in demand. Online grocery delivery services, like BigBasket, Flipkart, Amazon Fresh, Grofers, etc.are inundated with new orders while marking a significant uptick in customers.
As per a report released by the Economic Times, BigBasket has marked a 2x growth in their orders, with a 15-20% increase in their average order size. Talking in numbers, BigBasket recently claimed completing over 1.6 lakh deliveries in a single day. Grofers, on the other hand, has recorded a 5-7% hike in orders during the weekdays and an 80% increase during the weekends. Grofers mentioned that it is closely working with an added number of manufacturing partners to scale up the supply of groceries while requesting the customers to shop considerably.
Swiggy’s microdelivery service Supr Daily, as well as Milkbaskethave also shown an increase in the average order value by 20-25%, according to the ET report. Retail chains like BigBazaar and Easyday that come under Future Group are also experiencing a sudden hike in demand.
The situation is anticipated to get worse with even more panic buying during the 21-day lockout announced by the Indian PM. The circumstances are being dealt with in the similar manner in almost all the Western countries, with people getting into affrays over the last roll of toilet paper.
In the U.S., grocery delivery apps like Instacart, Shipt and Walmart Grocery have hit new records for daily downloads for their respective apps. Their daily downloads have surged by 218%, 124% and 160% respectively.
As the crisis deepen, the stakes for the world’s largest online retailer go high with its immense logistics operations and thousands of employees now turning into a vital resource for millions of shoppers amid social distancing. Amazon, which accounts for approximately 39% of the U.S. e-commerce sales, is quickly becoming the central provider of food, household goods and medical supplies for many customers who refuse to leave their homes.
In an attempt to beef up its delivery team, Amazon has suspended Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and Amazon Pop-Up Stores until 7th April.
How are Retailers Coping With The Mounting Demand?
With coronavirus spreading like wildfire, the situation is only expected to get worse. People are majorly hoarding three things, namely food, face masks and sanitisers. While face masks and sanitisers are quickly becoming out-of-stock items, the daily essentials are also in short supply on most grocery delivery platforms.
However, the Founder of BigBasket, Mr. Hari Menon dismisses the anxiety among people by saying that all the daily essentials will be back in stock soon. He has also advised people to not hoard on to the supplies. They must only purchase things of absolute necessity to avoid the disruption in the supply chain.
In the meantime, Grofers has decided to cancel all orders that surpass the inventory limit. Apart from that, the company has also issued an “edit order” option that enables the users to add or remove orders, within a time span of 8 hours, as per their requirements.
Easing the anxiety levels, Grofers has also said that apart from a few items that have strict caps on production and those sourced from China, most items will continue to be available, although there may be certain delays in the deliveries.
In a recent report, Amazon mentioned temporarily prioritizing household staples, grocery things and other high-demand items for its grocery delivery services. Although the quantitieswill be limited for most high-selling items. To cope with the accelerated demand in the U.S., Amazon has said that it will hire an additional 100,000 employees along with raising the wages and overtime pay for its workers.
But the real question is, how long will they sustain? As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the first thought that strikes is to hoard the supplies much before the situation gets worse. So how will these grocery delivery systems keep up with the demand when the entire nation is under a lockdown?
Is It Safe to Buy Groceries Online?
The on-going discussion brings us to our next and perhaps the most important concern, “Is it safe to purchase groceries online amidst the coronavirus pandemic?”
Well, one of the primary reasons why online sale of groceries have shot up is because of people’s hesitancy to step outside with the threat of the deadly virus looming over.
All the leading online delivery platforms have constantly ensured complete sanisation. Whether it is BigBasket, Grofers, Amazon Fresh, Zomato, Swiggy, Flipkart or any other leading ecommerce giant, they are all taking precautionary measures to safeguard the security of both delivery partners and the customers.
These delivery platforms have ensured that each and every delivery personnel is aware of the pandemic and takes suitable precautions. These companies have begun disinfecting and sanitising their warehouses, delivery crates, workstations, etc. on a daily basis. Apart from this, they are promoting cashless payments to keep the delivery executives and customers away from potential exposure.
Moving on, these companies are regularly monitoring the health of their employees. They are requesting the delivery partners to maintain a safe distance from the customers.
Meanwhile, companies like Zomato and Swiggy have also introduced the concept of contactless deliveries to maintain least contact between the parties. Myntra and Flipkart have also come up with a string of similar hygiene practices to manage their deliveries.
Rise of Online Grocery Delivery Platforms
Cries have a way of accelerating the preordained. All the grocery items and other household goods have witnessed a sales lift from the COVID-19 crisis, which will eventually fade once the emergency has subsided. However, some behavioural changes, like shift to online shopping is anticipated to be more permanent.
As an increasing number of people get used to online grocery delivery services, the coming years could witness an increase in demand for grocery app development services. And this could call out a new era for the online consumer-staples industry.