Online food ordering and delivery platform Zomato is seeing a new business opportunity in grocery as its core business has reportedly taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ant Financial-backed company is in talks to partner with online grocery startups Grofers and BigBasket to sell food products and essentials on its platform by facilitating their deliveries, The Economic Times reported.
The new feature, which is being tentatively called Zomato Market, is expected to go live this week. It will help Zomato maintain a high demand at a time when businesses across are witnessing a slowdown as more and more people refrain from stepping out, and practice social distancing.
According to the report, users may find Grofers’ offline partner stores listed on Zomato’s app. They will then be able to place a delivery order, which will be fulfilled by Zomato. The service is expected to be piloted in India’s national capital region.
According to a recent Business Today report, Zomato’s arch-rival Swiggy has seen around 25-30 per cent decline in business so far since the coronavirus outbreak. Swiggy, one of the most funded food-tech startups, has also been expanding beyond food. It acquired hyper-local delivery startup Supr Daily in 2018 and launched Swiggy Stores to deliver household items like groceries, flowers, medicines, among others, at a customer’s doorstep.
Online food orders have, overall, dropped by about 20 per cent, The Economic Times report said.
On the contrary, demand for online grocery deliveries has seen a spurt in the past few days with coronavirus cases increasing within the country. In fact, bigger players in the space, including BigBasket, Grofers, and Amazon are struggling with delivery services due to this sudden spurt.
Consumers have started to hoard basic necessities such as lentils, cereals, eggs, and rice as they fear closure of physical outlets amid escalating cases.