Ant Financial-backed foodtech unicorn Zomato has forayed into online grocery delivery services as demand for home delivery of grocery has shot up significantly amid 21-day nationwide lockdown, which has been imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Zomato’s new initiative ‘Zomato Market’ will particularly help those seeking delivery of essential food items at their doorsteps. The Gurugram-based company will offer its services in Kerala, Punjab and Delhi to start with.
“@ZomatoIN starts a platform for online grocery delivery in Kerala in association w/ SupplyCo. Operations in Kochi, Trivandrum, Kottayam & Thrissur aiming to “reach out to people under #lockdown &deliver essential commodities quickly in a safe&secure manner”. Good luck!,” Congress MP and lawyer Shashi Tharoor tweeted on Thursday.
Zomato is yet to give an official comment on the development.
Food news: @ZomatoIN starts a platform for online grocery delivery in Kerala in association w/ SupplyCo. Operations in Kochi, Trivandrum, Kottayam & Thrissur aiming to "reach out to people under #lockdown &deliver essential commodities quickly in a safe&secure manner". Good luck!
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 1, 2020
With this, Zomato has followed the footsteps of its arch-rival Swiggy, which forayed into hyperlocal delivery last year. At a time, when Zomato continues to witness a steep fall in online food orders with deepening coronavirus crisis, the move to enter the grocery delivery segment will help it stay afloat. This is true for other food delivery companies as well, as the sentiment against eating out is forcing families to stay indoors and eat home-cooked food.
Meanwhile, top online grocers, including BigBasket and Grofers, have resumed delivery services in select parts of the country after a short-disruption in the earlier days of lockdown. However, they are struggling to keep up with a surge in demand.
Last week, BigBasket issued a statement saying that they will be restart their services in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Indore, Mumbai, Mysore, Noida, Surat, Vadodara. But, there will be delay in services for up to a week owing to high demand. Consumers have started to hoard basic necessities such as lentils, cereals, eggs, and rice as they fear closure of physical outlets amid escalating cases.