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Bigbasket, Grofers orders double as malls shut down

The development comes as authorities in major metros are urging people to stay at home, shutting down malls and restaurants, while companies are also announcing work-from-home for employees across the country to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2020, 08.18 AM IST
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Bigbasket CEO Hari Menon said he has been camping at the warehouse for last two days tackling a huge surge in orders.
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(This story originally appeared in on Mar 16, 2020)
BENGALURU: Online grocery retailers like Bigbasket and Grofers saw a spike of 80-100% in orders over the weekend as customers across metros began stocking up staples like flour, rice and pulses besides disinfectants, hand sanitisers, diapers, and personal care items, top executives at these companies said.

The development comes as authorities in major metros are urging people to stay at home, shutting down malls and restaurants, while companies are also announcing work-from-home for employees across the country to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Bigbasket CEO Hari Menon said he has been camping at the warehouse for last two days tackling a huge surge in orders. “We are seeing 2x (times) kind of growth and baskets are larger by 15-20%,” he said. Menon added that the platform is also seeing a lot more new users and is now ramping up capacity including storage space, delivery van and personnel. Grofers’ founder Albinder Dhindsa said that while the platform had started seeing a spike of 5-7% earlier this week, demand has increased by 80% over the weekend.

On an average day, Bigbasket does over 1.6 lakh deliveries for next-day shipments and 1.4 lakh for its micro-delivery business BBDaily, which delivers essentials like milk and bread every morning. Grofers, which only does next-day delivery, does about 90,000 orders a day.

The spike in demand is also leading to delays in fulfilment of orders on these platforms, from typically within 1 day to 3-4 days. “Stock availability of essentials will not be an issue. It’s just that we got hit by the huge unprecedented surge and hence struggled with stocks for a day or two. We are getting geared on stocks now,” said Menon, adding that they are advising consumers to not buy more than needed.

Dhindsa said the Soft-Bank- and Tiger Globalbacked company has started implementing limits on hand sanitisers and masks, which have been deemed essential goods by the government. It also put dynamic restrictions on grocery items as it fears hoarding by some customers. “We are seeing hoarding behaviour come up, so we are figuring out how to stop that. It is better to be safe than greedy,” said Dhindsa, adding that Grofers has already started implementing restrictions on some grocery items as well.

Grofers also saw a customer in Chandigarh run up a bill of Rs 52,000 on the platform, beating the previous record of Rs 24,000. Dhindsa said Grofers has also asked its delivery personnel, which number about 10,000, to take precautions, while giving each of them hand sanitisers. The Gurgaon-headquartered company is also “isolating” warehouses — not letting workers at one, go to the other — so in case there is an infection, multiple locations don’t stop working.

Even offline retailers like Future Group, which owns Big Bazaar and Easyday, is seeing a spike of 20-25% according to industry sources. “The demand is significantly higher in select SKUs (stockkeeping units) like rice, daal, atta (flour), milk and ready-toeat items like Maggi. This is happening over the last twothree days,” said a spokesperson of the Future Group.

Supr, food-delivery major Swiggy’s micro-delivery platform, which sells milk and other essentials like eggs, bread, vegetables and fruits, has told consumers it will now deliver the products to consumers by 9am due to high demand. Typically, it delivers by 7am every morning.

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