Ola Store

ANI Technologies, which operates online cab booking service Ola, has come out with a standalone application for hyperlocal groceries delivery called Ola Store. Currently, the service has debuted in Bangalore and claims to have over 12,000 products in 13 categories. The service available only for Android devices.

Customers can pay for their deliveries through Ola Money, its in-app wallet, or through cash or cards on delivery. Product categories include groceries, fruits, vegetables and dairy products in addition to health supplements and medicines. 

Ola Store says that it will deliver orders between 8 a.m and 11 p.m.everyday and customers can get free delivery for purchases above Rs 250. Ola Store charges Rs 30 for deliveries below Rs 250.  Users have the option of setting their preferred time slot for delivery and the ‘Deliver Now’ option where orders are delivered in 90 minutes. The service delivers groceries from neighbourhood stores such as Family Mall, Grocery Mart and Namdhari’s Fresh

Ola had been testing the new service with select customers since June. The company had begun hiring for the grocery service in April. The requirements in Ola’s ads had pointed to an interesting picture where they mention that the delivery executives must possess motorcycles. It would seem that Ola is probably moving away from cars as a delivery medium and it makes sense as motorcycles are a lot more suited for quick deliveries.

Ola Chef: In March, Ola debuted its food delivery service called OlaCafe for users to order food from nearby using the Ola app. The service will be available in parts of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai and users can pay either via Ola money or through cash. The company claims a delivery time of 20 minutes.

 

Delivery of medicines and health supplements

The inclusion of medicines and health supplements as a category is interesting in light of the fact that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is formulating a framework for ecommerce companies to sell medicine. Presently, Ola Store delivers over the counter (OTC) drugs and nutritional supplements such as pain balms, cough syrups, ayurvedic medicine, protein milkshake powders among others.

Pharmacy associations, such as the Indian Pharmacist Association, are in opposition to ecommerce companies selling medicine and say that they are in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. As per Section 42 of Pharmacy Act, “Only Pharmacist can dispense medicine on the prescription of a doctor.” And whoever contravenes these provision is punishable with imprisonment.

It is unclear whether the rules of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act apply to OTC medicines, and supplements as many of the products are available in general grocery stores too.

Competition

– Godrej Group’s premium food products retailer Nature’s Basket had acquired Mumbai-based online grocery store Ekstop.com, in February this year, and later integrated it into Nature’s Basket’s online store.

– In April, hyperlocal online grocery retailer Grofers acquired mobile grocery startup My Green Box. My Green Box’s 15 member team joined Grofers and MyGreen Box founder Varun Khurana was expected to act as the CTO of Grofers.

– Last year in November, Reliance Industries’ retail arm Reliance Retail had launched an e-commerce store called RelianceFreshDirect.com to delivery grocery products in some neighborhoods of Mumbai. The platform sells vegetables, fruits, groceries, dairy products, confectionery products, packaged food and personal care products to the residents of Navi Mumbai, South Mumbai and parts of Thane.

– Other players in this space include FreshWorld, LocalBanya, Amazon India’s KiranaNow, PepperTap, Delyver.com, BigBasket and SRSGrocery.com among others.