Mar 10, 2022

10 Minute Danger - Quick Commerce

💀10 Minute Danger in the form of Quick Commerce

This was a thought that came to my mind when I went to nearby XXXX offline ( Intensely not mentioning the name) store of Quick-Commerce Startup in Jaipur. I was passing through that area, suddenly got a call from wife, she asked me to bring some groceries while coming back home. I saw a store nearby and visited in, went inside with a predetermined mindset of what I wanted to buy. I noticed, there were 8 or 10 floor staff standing, perhaps they were in a hurry, all were running towards the shelves to get the goods off according to the list they were spontaneously watching.

It was amazing to see them working like robots, for a while I thought they were all in a hurry, so all were in fast forwarding mode. It seems like the machine is working. Curiously asked a man who was standing over the counter. Whether he was a manager or a cashier, I don't know but asked them what was going on and why they all seem like robots and are in such a hurry. He said, our company pivoted the model to Quick-Commerce model with a promise of delivering the consumer's order within 15 minutes. Hence, the time slot is working as per the order & our IT system is helping to prepare it and hand over the goods to the delivery man.

I have not seen this kind of energy even in factories in China, where people also work like robots. Since I am from retail so my curiosity was high and want to know more about this concept. So, requested him if he can explain to me the model and how it works. It was high time for him so he asked me to come in the evening or he would meet me outside the shop and then explain another day.

After a few days, I called him (he requested, don't give his name) and we decided to meet at a nearby coffee shop.

Now, we were in a coffee shop and it's like "Chai par Charcha". I asked him why they changed their business model and what new evolved Quick commerce model is all about. He added that Startup is a completely customer centric brand promising to deliver the goods within 10-15 minutes of the ordering by the consumers. They explained to me how they work and managed to deliver the goods within the promised time. A Mumbai-based startup is also working on this model, and many others are working on quick delivery, he added. Hence they are now known as quick-commerce players who mainly cater to B2C delivery in grocery and pharma. OK, we ended our discussion but I asked him that I will come down to his store and want to see the operations physically. So, the next day I went to a store, trying to find out the working style of the people involved in the process.

I have seen that a order of Rs. 40 , two small bottle of Thumps cold drink, and one pcs of amul butter in another order valued Rs. 125/-. Even one order was one packet of Eno. This store was getting 1500 daily orders of MOQ hardly Rs.150/-. On an average the said startup was getting more than 15000 orders daily basis. Now, if I talk about the opex of one store, it was amazing to discuss. One Store Manager, 4 Floor Staff, 3 Billing clerk, 2 security Guard, 4-5 Packing staff and 15-20 logistics i.e. Bikers. Appx 1000 sq.feet store area comprising monthly rent : 40000/-, electricity consumption more than 20000/- and investment on shelf and other capex is all about 30-40 Lakh. I am not going to sum it and matching the ROI but apparently can say that financial viability of such model is a big question in front of retail professionals. even, I am not concerning about it.

further, I saw that, more than 20 motor bikes and their riders were waiting outside the shop. They were all attentive like a soldier patrolling the border post and waiting for their turn to collect the package which they would deliver within 10 minutes.

Everyone was in a hurry as enemies are coming towards them and they have to run to save their lives. A man came running from inside the shop and handed over the package to a rider. Here every second of time matters. He took it and put it in his hanging bag, scroll his phone for delivery status to pick up the order. Within 10 seconds he was out of the parking area and disappeared. I spent 45 minutes watching the whole process.

I was curious to see how the list of 5-10 SKUs is selected from the shelves, packed in a polythene packing, sealed, status updated on the IT application, handed out for delivery i.e. to the rider and finally 10 or is delivered to the customer within a maximum of Rs. 15 minutes. This store was catering within a radius of 3-4 kms.

Though things were clear to me but again I have to ask why such services are needed in India. Do they really need it?

I am not even asking about the business model or the companies involved in this process, but my concern is who is looking after the delivery people who are delivering the goods in the promised time. I have seen them driving the packages in a big hurry. They were driving rush at a top speed of 60/KM or even more without thinking about their safety. One can see that what top speed is needed while driving in the narrow and congested lane of Jaipur city.👎

When I inquired about it, the data was shocking that every day 10-12 delivery people met with some minor or major accidents, not because of the fault of others but because of their speedy driving. Why are they doing this? We have to think on this.

All such delivery services which are claiming to reach the customer in 10 minutes will pose a severe challenge to traffic safety in the coming months or years. These companies are putting the lives of the delivery riders at stake.

Just imagine, stretch out the need and think whether such services are really needed by the consumer or whether the consumer is not concerned about the safety of the delivery boys who are risking their lives to get the goods delivered as fast as they should be.

Companies will do their business and they will do it without taking any humanity or human concern but after all end consumers have to think that whether they really need merchandise in 10-15 minute or it can be delayed to thirty minutes. I am okay with 30 minute delivery time.  

I can smell the danger so raising a flag that soon it will be a big issue of law & order specially from Traffic Police prospects and they will take action against such riders or finally if safety norms is not followed they may send notice to these companies and ask clarification from them that why they are putting lives of their delivery staff in danger.

Worker's Safety:

Just think on this guys. Disruptions should be positive

I am concern with such companies because they are cutting throats of millions of Kirana retailers, giving tough competition, snatching impulsive buying opportunities from them and on the other side they are putting lives of delivery staff in danger. Is this kind of Disruption is really needed in India?  

Please do write to me on and comment and share among your circle and spread as much as you can do and aware the end consumer that such services will snatch live of someone who is coming to delivery your order in 10 minute time. Risking lives of other for own benefit is also a Sin. 👽

Note: Picture is taken from google and accordingly cut and paste just to give a feel

Writer: Balwant Singh Rana,

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