Update at 2:51 PM: Only hours after Zomato’s announcing alcohol delivery in Bhubaneswar, rival Swiggy is now starting alcohol delivery in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. The service will be extended to other cities in the coming week. To place orders, customers need to complete an instant age verification by uploading a picture of their valid government ID, followed by a selfie which the platform will use for authentication. All orders will carry a unique OTP which needs to be provided by the customer at the time of delivery.
Swiggy has tied up with HyperVerge to enable AI-face recognition for mandatory age verification and user authentication for alcohol deliveries. The solution “instantly digitises the customer’s ID card, checks if the customer’s selfie matches with the picture on the ID card, and then checks for selfie’s liveness, i.e. if the customer is really present or if it is a photo of a photo”.
Earlier at 12:37 PM: Zomato will start home delivering alcohol in Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar, starting today, the company announced in a release. The service, named Zomato Wine Shops, will be available on the app’s home page, and will allow users to select any product from the listed retailers (just like grocery stores) between 9 am and 6 pm, the company said. Zomato will later expand the service to other cities in the state such as Rourkela, Balasore, Balangir, Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Cuttack. The app will only feature licensed retailers, who have applied for the service, Zomato claimed.
Last week, both Swiggy and Zomato had started delivering alcohol in Jharkhand’s Ranchi, and it isn’t clear if Swiggy is looking to follow suit in this case and start alcohol delivery in Odisha. We have reached out to Swiggy for confirmation. The Maharashtra government has also allowed Zomato and Swiggy to deliver alcohol in select districts, except Mumbai.
“We are working very closely with excise departments to ensure end-to-end compliance to the safety guidelines and are also introducing consumption and identity verification protocols to promote responsible ordering and consumption,” Zomato’s vice president, Rakesh Ranjan said in a statement.
Zomato claimed that it will carry out an age check of users at the time of ordering alcohol, as well as when the product is delivered. Users will be required to upload a valid ID proof to be eligible for ordering, which will later be verified by the delivery person at the time of handing over the order. There will also be product category limits to promote responsible ordering, Zomato said.
*Update at 2:51 PM: The post was updated after Swiggy announced it was starting alcohol delivery in Odisha, hours after Zomato announced the same.