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Four Ways Grocery Retail in India Has Improvised amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Four Ways Grocery Retail  in India Has Improvised amid the Coronavirus Crisis
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1. Forging Strategic Partnerships 

 Online and offline grocers and FMCG retailers have partnered with various fooddelivery servicescab aggregators and e-commerce firms that usually focus on non-essential goods 


Food-delivery platform Zomato has joined forces with online grocer Grofers for the delivery of essential items. According to Economic Times, Zomato is also considering an acquisition of Grofers for a valuation in the region of $750 million, although Zomato has refuted those reports.

Pizza chain Domino’s entered into a partnership with ITC Foods to launch Domino’s Essentials, an essential goods delivery service that first started in Bengaluru and was then made available in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Noida.

After recently entering into a $5.7 billion deal with Facebook, Reliance Industries’ online grocery shopping platform JioMart has gone live in selected suburban regions of Mumbai. Consumers can order via JioMart by messaging via WhatsApp. They are then sent a link that opens up a mini store on the browser. The JioMart-WhatsApp partnership is one of the key components of the Facebook-Reliance deal.

Uber has partnered with retail store chain Spencer’s Retail, e-commerce firm Flipkart and online grocer Bigbasket to help deliver groceries and essentials.

Metro Cash & Carry has entered into a deal with food-delivery platform Swiggy for last-mile delivery of essentials. The service was piloted in Bengaluru and is expected to be rolled out across Metro stores in all cities by early May.


Online bike taxi aggregator Rapido has tied up with retail chain Big Bazaar, Bigbasket and Spencer’s Retail to aid these companies with their last-mile delivery.

FMCG company Britannia Industries partnered with online delivery platform Dunzo to launch its “Britannia Essentials” store. Dunzo began delivering food essentials in Bengaluru, and the service will be made available in other major cities.

2. Reverse Supply Chain as a Temporary Procurement Arrangement

With the countrywide lockdown in India having put a spanner in the works for FMCG companies and suppliers in terms of the distribution of goods, some retailers have stepped up to ensure that their operations are not unduly affected.

Retailers such as Grofers, Spencer’s Retail and Lots Wholesale have been dispatching their own trucks to the distribution centres of FMCG companies and large suppliers.

3. Bulk Delivery to Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs)

Both offline and online grocery retailers have launched a system in collaboration with RWAs (voluntary legal associations that represent the interests of the residents of a society) of India’s apartment blocks and condominiums, whereby they supply essentials to RWAs who then handle distribution. The idea is to optimize logistics by catering to a maximum number of consumers with limited resources.

Grofers tied up with more than 100 RWAs across metro cities to deliver essentials during the lockdown. Metro Cash & Carry, Reliance Retail and Spencer’s Retail are among the brick-and-mortar retailers that have entered into such partnerships. Under this arrangement, apartment residents send their order lists via WhatsApp to the RWAs, who then forward the aggregate order to the retailer for delivery.

4. Ramping Up Hiring Activity and Reallocating Labor

Shortly before the nationwide lockdown was announced, scores of essential services workers returned to their hometowns, leaving grocery retailers significantly understaffed at a time when demand has increased multifold.

Bigbasket announced in early April that it will hire 10,000 new staff while Grofers announced that it will add 4,500 new workers in addition to the 2,500 that it had already hired.

Future Group, Reliance Retail, Tata Trent and other hypermarket operators have temporarily reallocated many of their employees from consumer electronics, fashion and other discretionary goods divisions to groceries and essentials. As a case in point, Tata Trent has reportedly transferred some of its staff from its consumer electronics chain Croma to its supermarkets business, according to Economic Times.