Swig it! Swiggy launches home delivery of alcohol

Daniel Fowler
May 22, 2020

Sending a strong signal to Zomato and Swiggy who have been severely hit by Covid-19, ecommerce giant Amazon with deep pockets has entered the vast online food delivery market in India, with launching Amazon Food at select pin codes in Bengaluru.

Though the service is available in just one state, it is a step that could enable an ecosystem of safe alcohol deliveries across India - and prevent long public queues at a time when we desperately need social distancing. Zomato, which is now Swiggy's biggest rival and acquired Uber's India food delivery business, UberEats India, last year, had to lay off about 13% of its workforce, apart from instituting pay cuts for the entire organisation. Recently, the company launched a new "safety gear audit" feature within the Delivery Partner app which checks for "mask usage" to reinforce Swiggy's commitment towards ensuring the safety of consumers and delivery partners.

The customer will be verified at the time of delivery using an OTP. Amazon's entry in the food delivery space could be a major challenge for Zomato and Swiggy that occupy a majority share of the food delivery market in the country. The company did not say how soon it plans to expand across India. Amazon in the statement said that its food delivery service will also help local businesses a lot.

Sources told Reuters previous year that the Seattle-based company was planning to enter the highly competitive business in India, but the move was delayed as the company tried to sort out logistical issues.

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And as the tests serve profoundly different purposes, "positive" results from either test can not be interpreted in the same way. They are what state governments have been counting to track the number of confirmed cases of the virus they have.

Figuring out a path to profitability is especially challenging in India, as unlike in the developed markets such as the US, where the value of each delivery item is about $33, in India, a similar item carries the price tag of $4, according to estimates by Bangalore-based research firm RedSeer. Both the startups today are seeing fewer than 1 million orders on their respective platforms, down from almost 3 million they were each processing earlier this year.

"There is also a capping on the order quantity to ensure a customer does not order alcohol above the prescribed limit as per the state law", Swiggy said.

Amazon has launched Amazon's Prime Now and Amazon Fresh platforms in India to sell perishables and grocery items in recent years, and expanded its warehouses in several parts of the country along the way.

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