India’s Zomato sees business opportunity in grocery amid COVID-19 crisis

Photo: Mint

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.

 

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.