Online classifieds platform Quikr plans to roll out an on-demand delivery service, taking on the likes of Swiggy, BigBasket and Amazon Now.
It will allow customers to order anything, from grocery to restaurant food, from nearby stores and get it delivered at their doorstep for a fee, a person privy to the development told BloombergQuint requesting anonymity. The company will begin the pilot by mid-November, the person said.
Quikr already delivers used products sold on its platform within and across cities. The $1-billion company has around 100 delivery executives across Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru and plans to monetise the service, the person said.
The market is small, and Ken Research estimates it to grow to $344 million (Rs 2,306 crore) by 2020. The competition is rising, with Google also rolling out its Areo in-city delivery app in April. Ride-hailing company Uber Technology launched its UberEATS food delivery service a month later. That comes even as online retail giant Amazon has secured clearance for $500 million investment in the foods business in India.
Quikr, which began as India’s Craigslist, is among the nation’s first crop of consumer-internet companies. Founded by Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas in early 2008, it offers listings for everything from jobs, homes, cars and services and delivers products bought and sold through its QuikrBazaar. Backed by Tiger Global Management and Sweden’s Kinnevik AB, it has acquired eight companies in 18 months to boost its verticals.
The company declined to comment on the story.
On-demand delivery has been a tough market to crack. Half-a-dozen startups have shut shop over two years. TinyOwl, Eatlo and Spoonjoy wound up after failing to raise funds. The well-funded ones like PepperTap and LocalBanya couldn’t survive the competition.
Most of them began by offering free delivery. The ones that survived have started charging. BigBasket has its own inventory and levies a delivery fee on products and offers free shipping on an order of Rs 1,000 and above. Swiggy earns a commission of Rs 30-50 on every order.
“Quikr needs to pick and choose its battle wisely,” Sanchit Vir Gogia, the New Delhi-based chief analyst of consultancy Greyhound Knowledge Group, said. “There is no half-run in this space. If you are serious about hyperlocal delivery, you have to be fully committed to scale it up.”
The portal is not short of cash though. It earns commission on services and charges a fee for premium listings. The portal has raised over $430 million since inception, according to Crunchbase which collates information on startups.
Gogia said the market hasn’t warmed up to on-demand delivery yet. “Quikr needs a bigger brand to capture the market, to get better visibility and then it will also get more control on the products it is delivering.”