E-grocery deliveries delayed in 2nd wave too
Facing postponed deliveries and unavailable stock, consumers said these companies have been unable to meet the spike in demand.
“Just one single reason — people falling sick. Huge absenteeism. That’s the single biggest reason,” Bigbasket founder Hari Menon told TOI. “And we have a short window of 6-10am to hire and interview people.”
Industry insiders, however, said there is a reluctance among these online retailers to hire new people.
While Menon said Bigbasket will sell 20% more goods in May than it sold in July last year, a Grofers spokesperson said, “Grofers has scaled up its supply chain and manpower by more than 100% over the same time last year. Understandably, the demand is much higher than even the highest supplies we built…” Grofers said it has already hired more than 2,000 personnel and plans to add over 7,000 more across functions. Flipkart announced the hiring of 23,000 people between March-May. Despite the claims of scaling up, the inability to deliver when it matters most, has reflected in the numbers (see graphic), as disappointed consumers have returned to their triedand-tested kirana stores.
“The last lockdown was a big party for everybody. But with so many deaths and sickness all around now, people are not buying large packs anymore and are saving every penny,” said MD at a large FMCG company. “And when they are shopping online, they are disappointed because online players have a tendency to stock premium products and large packs for better margins.”
In the meanwhile, large brick-and-mortar retail chains, including Big Bazaar and DMart, seized the opportunity and beefed up their online delivery capability using their physical stores as mini warehouses to deliver goods in the vicinity in a short time.