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Be quick or be dead: BigBasket’s quick commerce evolution

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Pranav Balakrishnan

42 reads
author-image

Pranav Balakrishnan

42 reads

Despite entering the quick commerce space in 2022, Tata-owned BigBasket refused to go all-in on the ultra-hot segment for the past two years. Now, the company finally appears to be morphing into a full-fledged quick commerce player and has a few tricks up its sleeve to make up for lost time.

April 24, 2024

13 MINS READ

Key Takeaways

  • A late entrant, BigBasket is playing catch up with Blinkit, Swiggy Instamart, and Zepto in the quick commerce space
  • The company’s belated entry was due to scepticism about the viability of the business two years ago. Today, BigBasket’s quick commerce biz generates more orders than its mainstay, slotted delivery
  • The company is so bullish on quick commerce now that it is considering merging its slotted delivery service with its quick commerce business
  • The company has a few tricks up its sleeve as it looks to make up for lost time, including finding synergies with other Tata Group companies

In the early days of the e-grocery wars, well before the advent of quick commerce, BigBasket and Grofers (better known today as Zomato-owned Blinkit) fought a pitched battle for top spot. After years of bruising competition, BigBasket emerged supreme. In the year ended March 2021, its revenue stood at Rs 7,098 crore, while Grofers posted a comparatively paltry Rs 2,700 crore.

In December 2021, though, Grofers flipped the script on its much larger rival by pivoting to a 10-minute delivery model. It even shut down its services in areas where it could not deliver on its 10-minute commitment. While Tata-owned BigBasket would eventually follow suit, launching its quick commerce offering BBnow in April 2022, it wasn’t convinced about the staying power of quick commerce. In mid-2022, BigBasket CEO Hari Menon said that 80% of the business would continue to come from its slotted delivery service. 

Cut to 2024, and it appears Menon may have misread the tea leaves. The bullishness around quick commerce, not just as a customer proposition but as a viable business model, is stronger than ever before. In fact, according to one BigBasket executive and a Tata Digital executive, BigBasket has lost e-grocery market share to quick commerce players. Even for BigBasket, which still refuses to go all in on quick commerce, BBnow is doing more orders than its slotted delivery business. While the slotted delivery business does about 250,000 orders a day, BBnow does 300,000 orders a day, on average, Menon said. 

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