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The promise of superfast delivery helped us scale up quickly: Zomato Market COO

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on May 14, 2020 Published on May 14, 2020

Mohit Sardana, COO-Food Delivery at Zomato

Mohit Sardana talks about Zomato’s entry into the grocery delivery market

The lockdown has pushed e-commerce companies to look at alternative revenue streams. Several small players have entered the grocery delivery segment. Food tech firm Zomato recently announced its entry into this space with ‘Zomato Market’. Mohit Sardana, COO-Food Delivery at Zomato, spoke to BusinessLine about its pivot into the grocery segment, the demand for it, and food delivery in the post-pandemic era. Excerpts:

How has the lockdown changed consumer demand? Does the company see its online grocery delivery service continuing even after the lockdown?

When it comes to food delivery, we noticed a large number of our users showing a preference for hygiene-rated restaurants. We have seen this demand translate into actionable insight, with a lot of interest from restaurants to be hygiene-rated on Zomato. This is largely led by the fact that restaurants with a hygiene rating saw a 20 per cent less impact on their business due to the pandemic, as compared to the ones without hygiene ratings.

For grocery, we are glad about our continued service — we are able to support our users’ essential purchases. When we launched Zomato Market, we received a lot of brand love from our customers for instantaneous deliveries. While other platforms were taking days to deliver, this promise of superfast delivery, along with our easy-to-use interface and robust coverage across over 180+ cities, helped us scale up quickly.

Once the lockdown gets over — and nobody knows when it will really fully get over — we expect consumers to come back to the market but demand things in different shapes and forms than before.

While contactless delivery defines today’s reality, we pre-empt contactless dining to be the future, post lockdown. We are already working to instil confidence in our users for the post lockdown future through our initiatives around contactless delivery along with working with restaurant workers and delivery partners.

What were the technological and financial enhancements needed to get Zomato Market into action?

Given the current market needs, we quickly sprung into action to build Zomato Market. Considering our expertise in consumer tech, we were always clear on the messaging and overall design and had the tech capabilities to build the system. Our extensive delivery network was already in place, which allowed us to start operating quickly and expand efficiently.

How many partners is the company been associated with at the moment? How do you plan to scale it up further?

For Zomato Market, we have over 3,700 partners, including FMCGs, retail chains and local kiranas. We are adding more and more every day.

Why have partnerships with kirana stores not worked before? Why will it work now?

While grocery was always on the radar, it was only now that we launched the service to support administrations’ and users’ needs. We believe that local kiranas understand the needs of the customers in their area and are doing monumental work in ensuring quick access to essentials, especially at this time.

We have thousands of such local stores on Zomato Market and they already constitute more than 35 per cent of our current order volume. Our wide delivery network, which specialises in on-demand delivery, is well equipped to empower local kiranas and expand their footprint.

Do you see yourself as filling the gaps left by big players like Amazon, Flipkart and Bigbasket? What are the challenges you foresee in the future?

Our differentiator is essentials delivered within 60 minutes. Our segment is specific to on-demand essentials, such as in case you run out of an ingredient and need it immediately.

Does the company plan to enter newer segments? If yes, kindly elaborate...

We have always been focussed on food. The grocery segment is another touchpoint within the same ecosystem and therefore we explored it and were able to expand so quickly. We are currently focussed on building different solutions to aid our industry.

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Published on May 14, 2020
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