“We are seriously considering hyper local fulfillment, within two kilometer radius and this would be for products and services where it requires instant gratification,” Justdial founder & MD VSS Mani said during the company’s Q4-FY15 earnings conference, while answering an analyst question about whether Justdial was looking at last mile delivery services or building a delivery personnels team. Mani also mentioned that the company was in fact running a pilot on these lines, at present.
He added, “You would see us investing more on that and this is completely technology enabled. It’s more like how you see these cab hailing apps…which you would be able to integrate and the delivery boys will be available on the spot and you could expect delivery within an hour – any product that you order within your own vicinity.”
Mani also mentioned that “in this quarter (Q1-FY16), we will try couple of pin codes and by the next quarter we would have scaled to about 15 to 20 pin codes in different cities, and then we would look at scaling it on a pan-India basis.” He also said that the initial pilots are being carried out by Justdial’s internal team, but once it goes live the deliveries will be handled by a third party.
But that’s not all: Mani also mentioned that they’ll soon be launching an on-demand services business – “basically on demand services like on demand plumper, electrician, or a TV repair fellow or a carpet cleaner, name it on demand you can just click on, you can say plumper now there will be a tab you click on that and then you will have a plumper showing at your house within an hour or an electrician showing up within an hour and this would be expanded to the length and breadth to the country in every part of the country we would be using that.”
Why the delivery business?
“This will be Justdial fulfilled hyper local logistics, which means that if you order food from a restaurant or grocery or medicine through Justdial that fulfillment will be taken care by Justdial, but this is limited to a two kilometer radius which is very-very hyper local in nature. We identified there are products and services where consumers are looking for an instant gratification – instant delivery is expected. We felt that we need to use far more technology to make it happen and obviously without human being you can’t do delivery right now, so there will be a human element also.”
Why hyper local?
“This we are doing because this is what the consumers are expecting. As far as shipping a television or for that matter a camera or a mobile phone from a distance of 20 kilometers or 15 kilometers is concerned, it’s not required, because those vendors are already well equipped to do the delivery. Also, (Merchants) have a lot to benefit (by) delivering on time, because that is how they will get more orders from Justdial and from the market place. Whereas, (in case of) hyper local fulfillment there isn’t a good technology in place. Usually people who have their delivery boys they are multi-tasking, they are either in this shop, cleaning the shop, packing, and doing certain other things. Hence, the delivery time is not predictable. It’s like something (that should be delivered) within an hour, sometimes it takes more than three to four hours. So, that is where we felt that we needed to fill the gap with our new approach.”
Note that last year, Justdial had been planning to offer its merchants the ability to deliver products purchased from its marketplace. At the time, Mani had said that: “We personally feel that there are enough and good logistic companies in place. We can always recommend it to the vendors, but we would not want to get into the logistic side of the business. We will only guide them to the best players in this space who can actually deliver their goods and even do cash on delivery.” It’s also worth noting that Justdial already offers flower delivery service, online food delivery service, pharmaceuticals delivery services, etc, as part of its Search Plus suite of services.
Localbanya’s Instabanya: Last month, online grocery delivery service provider Localbanya had introduced an 120 minutes delivery service called Instabanya in Hyderabad, barely a month after expanding its service to the city. The service is currently available across Hyderabad, and is free for orders above Rs 500. And a flat fee of Rs 49 will be charged for orders below Rs 500. The company is testing waters in Hyderabad, and based on the response they get Instabanya will be extended to the other markets it’s operational in.
There are several other players in the grocery delivery space, including PepperTap, ZopNow, and Amazon’s KiranaNow among others. Then there’s Grofers, which also delivers personal care products, baby products and household products. However, on paper Justdial wouldn’t be worrying about competition because it plans to offer a much wider range of delivery services.