Retailers and online grocery companies have started tapping resident welfare associations (RWAs) to bulk deliver to thousands of households with minimum resources amid the Covid-19 lockdown. Hypermarket chain Spencer’s Retail has placed drop boxes in various housing complexes in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi NCR, among other cities.
Residents drop their order lists and Spencer’s delivers the next day. Online grocer Grofers has started servicing residential societies in Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru with a limited number of essential products. Cash and carry operators Metro and Walmart India, too, have either piloted or are planning bulk supplies to RWAs.
“Two weeks ago, we came up with a model,” Devendra Chawla, chief executive, Spencer’s, told ET. “Only three to four employees are required to service 40-50 orders as one single delivery, at a pre-agreed time of booking as well as delivery.” Residents, too, support such bulk deliveries.
“We only had one grocery store in the vicinity of our society and it was not able to service essential needs,” said Rajat Choudhury, an RWA member from Noida. “We tell residents to come in batches of 10, as per token numbers.” Rohit Sharma, head of supply chain for Grofers, said hundreds of RWAs
approached the company for bulk delivery and it has started delivering to many. “This is a unique format. We just supply in bulk to them and distribution is the RWAs’ responsibility,” he said.
Retailers said it is logistically easier for them to send full loads of minitrucks directly to the residential gated communities and that would help free up delivery guys, whose numbers have already been curtailed due to the lockdown. Also, only a limited number of delivery guys are issued with “curfew passes” by various city and district authorities.
“Deliveries to RWAs is one opportunity we are exploring,” said Arvind Mediratta, managing director, Metro Cash and Carry India. “We have Metro stores right next to condominiums in Delhi, East Delhi, Ghaziabad, Mumbai.
RWAs are registered bodies and have GSTs. So, they become our customers.” Walmart India has started delivering essential goods to RWAs in some places in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, a person familiar with the development said. Walmart did not respond to an email seeking comments as of press time Tuesday. Ahmedabad-based Osia Hypermart encourages families in societies to combine their orders so the company can bulk deliver.