The economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced several companies to diversify their operations into allied sectors to continue supporting its employees and cope with the financial pressures. Food delivery and e-commerce platforms were one of the worst affected during the lockdown, due to the restrictions on the movement of goods in every part of the country.
Today we take a look at three of the most popular delivery platforms of India — Amazon, Swiggy, and Zomato — and how they have ventured into unchartered territories in an attempt to generate additional business opportunities.
Amazon’s entry into the food delivery market
Earlier this week, Amazon India launched its food delivery services, starting with Bengaluru and planning to expand to multiple metropolises of the nation in a short time span. Having already established itself as the biggest player in the e-commerce market, and achieving significant success in its grocery delivery vertical, Amazon Fresh, the company’s move to foray into food delivery services poses a significant challenge to existing players such as Zomato and Swiggy.
Talking about its entry into the food delivery space Amazon spokesperson told indianexpress.com, “Customers have been telling us for some time that they would like to order prepared meals on Amazon in addition to shopping for all other essentials. This is particularly relevant in present times as they stay home safe. We also recognize that local businesses need all the help they can get”.
Amazon’s India operations were worst hit due to the strict government guidelines imposed during the lockdown. The company also assured customers that maintaining safety standards and hygiene was a priority for Amazon Food. “We are allowing customers to order from handpicked local restaurants and cloud kitchens that pass our high hygiene certification bar. We are adhering to the highest standards of safety to ensure our customers remain safe while having a delightful experience”, said an Amazon official. With more than 50,000 employees in various domains, expanding operations into food delivery services is an essential move to support its personnel.
Swiggy’s expansion into grocery and alcohol delivery
Soon after the lockdown Swiggy partnered with firms like Hindustan Unilever, P&G, Dabur, Godrej and more to enter the grocery delivery market. With severe losses due to the restrictions on delivery of food in the early phases of the lockdown, the move gave consumers an additional option in a landscape dominated by BigBasket and Grofers.
Earlier this month, Swiggy also announced home delivery of alcohol. The diversification is aimed to help reduce the problem of overcrowding at liquor shops and bring in additional revenue for Swiggy. The company began operations in Ranchi, Jharkhand on Saturday, with Haryana and Odisha also likely to permit home delivery of alcohol in the coming days. Here are more details.
To prevent misuse of the alcohol home-delivery feature, several measures such as age verification and user authentication by cross-referencing a valid government ID have been put into place. With a decrease of more than 20 percent in food delivery services across the country, alcohol delivery is expected to raise the orders and traffic on the Swiggy app, as well as allow effective utilisation of Swiggy’s delivery executives.
Zomato Market and home delivery of alcohol
Zomato has expanded its business into domains similar to Swiggy, i.e. grocery delivery and home delivery of alcohol. Zomato Market is Zomato’s grocery delivery wing, which has partnered with FMCG, Vishal Mega Mart, among others. Since mid-April, Zomato Market has been meeting people’s grocery requirements in more than 80 cities by accepting orders via the Zomato app.
Earlier this week Zomato rolled out alcohol delivery services in Ranchi and is in advanced talks to replicate the same in other states of the country. “We have already started our alcohol delivery services in Jharkhand and are in advance stages of discussions with other state governments. We are focused on building solutions utilizing our expertise in consumer technology and our wide delivery network while continuing to build depth in other businesses such Zomato Groceries, Hyperpure and Contactless Dining,” a Zomato spokesperson told indianexpress.com.
Zomato’s decision to enter the alcohol home-delivery market is aimed to bring about a technology driven solution to promote responsible alcohol consumption. The model is expected to work in a similar fashion to Zomato’s food delivery services. “The model would be similar to food delivery- our delivery partners would pick up the order from the retailer and deliver it to the user’s location.”, quoted a Zomato spokesperson.
The expansion of Amazon, Zomato and Swiggy into domains which the companies are not primarily known for is a good example of how even large-scale conglomerates are being forced to shift their focus areas to multiple ventures in order to bring in the required revenue.
Written by Shubhang Gopal, intern with indianexpress.com
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