It is expansion time for most startups in the direct consumer delivery business, whether grocery or foods or any other. They have all been adequately funded through the first two halves of this calendar year and they are on the streets prowling for avenues to acquire more customers.
BigBasket, for example is said to be keen to takeover another startup, Kwik24, which is into manufacturing and selling customized vending machines. A couple of these vending machines (five, to be precise), by Kwik24 are already working as dedicated units for BigBasket and customers are able to draw delivery of their online orders on the BigBasket site from these vending machines located outside their apartment complexes. This is linked to the BB Instant initiative (read app) that has been launched by the e-grocer to broaden the customer base. Customers can download the app and place orders directly.
Independently, Kwik24 has its machines installed at different locations and if the proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Kwik24 by BigBasket goes through, the machines will be made and operated only for the online grocery company supporting its business offline. This would be one more example of the online retailers choosing to expand offline, a kind of backward integration to get closer to the customers. As reported earlier, BigBasket could start delivering milk at doorsteps of homes once its takeover of the milk delivery startup RainCan is complete. That effort is also aimed at developing a committed base of customers, since in the case of milk delivery, they will be touching the customers daily and the chances of receiving orders for other items on its online store increase multiple times.
There are rumours that BigBasket may even enter the medicines delivery vertical and it is already on the lookout for a suitable startup to invest in. And there could be a move to take a position on the Paytm Mall, going ahead, thanks again to the Alibaba connection.
As is known, the Chinese giant Alibaba has made a strategic investment in BigBasket and therefore funds are not going to be the limiting factor in its effort to spread its wings and be thoroughly prepared to take on the Walmarts and Amazons for entering into the Indian households.