These are arguably the most difficult times for Swiggy, the app-based food delivery startup.
With food delivery orders down by nearly 80%, and less than 40% of restaurants on it plying in 200 cities, Swiggy has had to quickly pivot to keep itself in the business.
It smartly moved on to concierge services and grocery delivery. But its challenge now lies in convincing its customers to use it for more than just food.
Swiggy is ready for the long haul, it would seem. It is virtually retraining and certifying more than 25,000 delivery executives to get acquainted with the new tasks and services.
Swiggy has already rolled out essential supplies delivery in 220 cities. It has launched 'Swiggy Genie' in 30 cities to harness its hyperlocal logistics assets --- it lets users order stuff from any store that they want, not just the Swiggy partners.
It is taking on Dunzo, the on-demand delivery service startup, in right earnest. How serious is Swiggy about its new business? Well it is setting up a technology centre in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and is focusing on devloping 'location intelligence' --- a clear pointer to the fact that Swiggy is taking seriously the business of delivering groceries and other daily essentials to its customers.
The new centre will house specialists in AI, engineering, data science, and QA, and their brief is to build AI and big data systems that will mine the millions of location pins generated through the orders fulfilled by Swiggy.
Restaurants close ranks
Swiggy is forced to look beyond food delivery not just because of the pandemic, but also due to the move by restarants to cut down on their dependence on Swiggy and Zomato.
As per this report, many restuarants feel that companies like Swiggy and Zomato "came in trying to solve a genuine problem but eventually they are just decimating the small businesses with their business policies."
With restaurants trying to close ranks, Swiggy's original business is never going to be the same again. And to save cash for the new business, Swiggy is tightening its belt --- it has retrenched some staff and closed down its cloud kitchen division.
Swiggy believes that its new initiatives will help keep revenue and other business metrics up to compensate for the sharp dip in food delivery orders. It is bravely investing money afresh for a new mind-share positioning for itself as a mobile-screen conglomerate.