Grofers has rebranded itself as Blinkit, as the company moves away from scheduled grocery deliveries to position itself as a quick commerce brand. “We learnt a lot as Grofers, and all our learnings, our team, and our infrastructure is being repurposed to pivot to something with staggering product-market fit—quick commerce. Today, we are surging ahead as a new company, and we have a new mission statement, ‘instant commerce indistinguishable from magic, and we will no longer be doing this as Grofers—we will be doing it as Blinkit,’” founder & CEO Albinder Dhindsa has said in a blog post on Monday.
Quick commerce or instant delivery (typically within 10-30 minutes) of groceries and everyday essentials is increasingly finding takers—at least in the metros—as consumers are now more open to experimenting with new online formats, and certainly do not mind signing up for services that bring convenience at their doorsteps. As more customers took to online shopping during the pandemic for a whole range of items, including regular groceries and other essentials, the time is ripe for brands to leverage the opportunity and expand use cases. Analysts say that quick commerce is becoming relevant in India as the top-up needs of consumers is high. For instance, much of the grocery consumption in the country is unplanned.
Blinkit—which is building a 10-minute delivery model and forayed into the space earlier this year—claims to be already processing over a million orders a week across 12 cities in India. The company is establishing an expansive network of dark stores to fulfil instant deliveries. Dark stores are retail spaces that companies use to store their inventory. They do not have storefronts and serve as warehouses or fulfilment hubs. The firm partners with local merchants who run and manage these dark stores for them. In an earlier blog, Dhindsa said that Blinkit already has a network of 211 dark stores and is launching a store every eight hours. “We sincerely believe Q-commerce is the future of commerce,” Dhindsa said. The firm has indicated its ambitions to gradually expand the scope of products that can be fulfilled via instant deliveries.
Competition in the quick commerce space is intensifying, with established startups like Swiggy, Dunzo and new players like Zepto betting big on the category. Swiggy has set aside a $700 million war chest for its express grocery delivery service Instamart, that offers consumers an assortment of products across categories—ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to personal and baby care. Founded by two 19-year-old Stanford dropouts, Zepto—which has built a business model to only cater to instant grocery deliveries, and has already bagged $60 million from investors—is reportedly in midst of raising more capital that may fetch it the status of a unicorn.
Analyst at market research firm RedSeer Consulting estimates the Indian quick commerce market to touch $5 billion by 2025 from $300 million currently. “With high fill rates and 30–45-minute delivery service for unplanned orders, mid to high-income households in the Metros are increasingly replacing traditional kiranas with Q-commerce platforms,” they say.