The grocery delivery model in India is tottering. Days after Flipkart had announced that it’s shutting down Nearby, its grocery delivery arm, it is now being reported that Ola is on the verge of shutting down its own grocery delivery service, Ola store. Ola Store operated in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon.
Ola Store had been launched in July last year and promised quick deliveries in one hour delivery slots. The company has tied up with retail chains such as PNP Retail, Topintown, and Namdhari’s Fresh, among others.
But customers told OfficeChai that its service was erratic at best. “It never completed my full order”, said Gayathri, a regular user of the app. “I’d order a large number of items, and invariably the company couldn’t deliver a few of them. The app would show that items were available, but later I used to receive calls from their customer service representatives that they wouldn’t be able to deliver some items.”
Experts have questioned the grocery delivery model that most firms operating in India have adopted. Most firms operating in this space don’t own inventory, and this leads to razor-thin margins. The low order sizes that are common in India have made free deliveries, a service that the Indian consumer has come to expect, economically unsustainable.