There has been some speculation on hoarding and pricing of essential items during the current Covid-19 outbreak. We figured it would help to set some expectations, provide more transparency and share some tips with our customers and the general public.
Rush to hoard and fear of stocks running out
Let me start off by saying - at current levels, all essential supply chains are functioning normally, both for Grofers and for our suppliers. Apart from some items which have hard caps on production and particularly those that are sourced from China, most items should continue to be available, although the mode of delivery and supply chains will have to adjust. At Grofers, we will stay committed to a better more affordable life for our customers by sticking to honest pricing through these times - case in point, we were selling N95 face masks at Rs. 90 even when our entire stock ended whereas market prices seemed to be in the range of Rs. 450-500.
Precautions in packaging and delivery
We have two main touch points with products - at our warehousing facilities and through our local distribution partners (typically small stores).
At our facilities, we have already implemented stringent screening criteria to make sure all employees are healthy, staying healthy and taking necessary precautions as advised by WHO on prevention of spread of Covid-19. This also means we have suspended travel between locations and offices, so each of our 20+ units across the country can stay isolated and clear of the virus.
While our local store partners don’t have the kind of congregation of people like a mall or large department store would, we are still taking precautions to prevent inter-mingling of our supply chain with anything related to offline footfalls in stores. This means, our supplies are now passing through separate areas, manned by different personnel than those that work in crowds in store.
The delivery personnel are being monitored and trained on handling of sealed crates. The crates themselves are being washed and disinfected after every usage. This has meant that we had to press our entire inventory of crates into service, so you as a user might see some bright colours outside of our normal blue and orange.
Abuse vs sensible buying
While we are seeing average ticket sizes which are way higher than normal and more customers are preferring to take the online route to grocery buying vs going to local markets or supermarkets, we are trying to engage constructively with customers in being cooperative during these times.
Here are some useful dos and don'ts -
Don’t hoard - Buy what you need and maybe add some cushioning on top as we will keep working hard to keep items in stock and reasonably priced for all our customers. Excessive buying or multiple orders to bypass inventory limit can lead to order cancellation.
Do plan - We are expecting that there will be some panic in people avoiding coming to work at our offline partner stores to avoid contact with crowds. As such, there might be fewer delivery resources available to us (who are fit and monitored). In this scenario, you can expect a few days of time from order to delivery (it is currently 3 days in Delhi and less than 2 days in most other cities). It will help if you can plan.
Pro-tip : Do Edit and Add - Once you place an order, you will have some time to edit your cart (till about eight hours before delivery) and add anything you might have forgotten. So, even with higher delivery times, you will still be able to get everything you need.
Do avoid cash - While Cash on Delivery is the favoured mode of transaction in our country - it can also become a source of transfer of virus between individuals. Therefore, avoid the act of looking for change at the door and exchanging notes. It will keep our delivery partners safe and also avoid pesky viruses entering your household.
Our helplines are abnormally busy at these times but the best source to reach us remains in-app chat. You will see some changes in the order of the options depending on how much volume we are dealing with. We are prepared to help in any way we can, so drop a message anytime and we will get back asap.
Important note on promotions
Some regular promos or sale events we run at different times of the month might not be available as we work on making sure our sellers have enough items and regular supplies. We are working hard to ensure availability, access and price of critical goods, in that order.
So, stay safe, don't panic buy and keep washing your hands with Savemore Handwash :)