In an attempt to meet the sudden spike in orders because of the coronavirus lockdown in India, online grocery store Grofers is going to deliver products 24x7.

The company has seen a two-fold growth in sales and value of orders.

Speaking to BusinessLine , Albinder Dhindsa, co-founder and CEO of Grofers, said: “The volume in sales and deliveries is more than double.”

Panic buying

The paranoia around the coronavirus outbreak had created a boom in the retail and FMCG industry. This was clearly driven by the instinct of panic buying according to experts.

Grofers too saw a spike in impulsive buying on their portal. However, this panic buying clearly impacted the supply chain and created a backlog of deliveries.

As of last week, Grofers had seen a 75 per growth in business pan India. “We have seen a rise in both the number of orders at 45 per cent and order value at 18 per cent,” said Dhindsa had told BusinessLine .

According to the CEO of the homegrown grocery delivery company, the focus right now is to clear the backlog for the next four days.

To address the backlog, “Grofers is extending its hours of operations to 24x7 from coming Thursday,” Dhindsa said. That means customers can choose to get the delivery at any time of the day and night. Grofers usually deliver between 6 AM to 10 PM.

In the first phase, this will start as a pilot in Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru and Kolkata “and we will scale up after looking at the response,” he added.

The company is also beefing up its safety and hygiene by providing ‘zero-touch’ delivery.

Issues due to lockdown

Grofers is valued at over $800 million and aims for a $1 billion revenue. Currently, Grofers is operational in over 27 cities including metros, Tier -1 and -2 cities, and has over 7,000 service partners.

However, Grofers and other retailers are facing issues in supply chain and deliveries, as some local enforcement authorities are prohibiting delivery boys and van drivers.

BusinessLine had reported on Tuesday that despite clear guidelines from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, that selling and delivery of essential items and grocery will not be impacted, van drivers and delivery boys were being stopped at toll booths. A few of them were also beaten up by the police.

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This has obviously led to a cascading effect in the supply chain and respectively a delay in deliveries.

Like many other online and offline players, even Grofers faced issues with deliveries. Dhindsa said: “The challenge is the uncertainty,” At the moment, Grofers has had many incidents where their vans are being turned back from entering cities which are carrying products from our godown. Some of their delivery boys were also arrested. It ended up impacting their deliveries to a great extent.

Buy essential goods

According to a social media firm, LocalCircles survey, 35 per cent consumers couldn’t get most of the essential goods via e-commerce apps. “14 per cent said they were able to get only some items as stores were stocked out for others and 15 per cent said they were not able to get most of the items. 6 per cent said they were not able to get anything.”

LocalCircles had conducted a 2-poll survey to get a citizen's pulse on how it has been their experience in the last 3 days while trying to buy essential goods from retail stores as well as from e-commerce apps. The survey received more than 15,000 responses from consumers.