The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed every aspect of regular life as we know it – education, professional workload, and even healthcare services have been largely pushed online. Everything in the power of the internet is being done to ensure that people stay indoors, including home deliveries of certain essential goods such as food, medication, and hygiene products. The imposition of mobility restrictions has pushed more and more consumers to turn to online shopping for fulfilling their needs, resulting in a corresponding rise in the demand for food delivery, grocery delivery and medicine delivery.
A recent report by the Retailers Association of India called ‘Indian Retail – Certainty despite Headwinds’ reveals that consumer expenditure during the pandemic has been largely concentrated on essential goods, particularly food and grocery. The average expenditure for crucial items has gone up 1.5 times after lifting of lockdown. The expenditure spiked to Rs 900 per basket in contrast to Rs 650 per basket in early-March. Essential deliveries have sustained people throughout the government imposed a lockdown period. However, we can power these deliveries electronically that could also benefit the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.
How Omni-channel retailing is responding to these Needs?
ANAROCK Retail MD and CEO Anuj Kejriwal has noted that “Many companies are using malls or in-mall stores as urban warehouses. It further ensures a faster delivery to customers, while companies are tying up with existing e-commerce and delivery portals to leverage their incumbent network and reducing additional expenses at the same time. “These retail chains are partnering with third-party delivery services to reach consumers as quickly as possible.
One such enterprise facilitating the delivery of essential goods is Zypp, a Gurugram-based bike rental service that facilitates last-mile delivery for products by renting e-scooters and e-bikes for quick and efficient deliveries. These scooters can be rented by companies for their delivery executives so that they can get their parcel/product picked up from a place/person and get it dropped at the appointed location. For a long time, this service has been dominated by conventional modes of transport, but retailers are now turning to EVs for a variety of reasons:
Last-mile deliveriesby zero-emission EVs significantly reduce the pollution in residential areas. This is an important advantage to consider for smoke-choked urban cities in general, but especially in times of COVID: Rob King, founder of London-based e-cargo bike company Zedify, highlights that “Air pollution appears to be one of the risk factors for Covid-19. So clearly the pandemic has strengthened the case for looking at ways to reduce the impact of increased deliveries by van”.
Platforms like Zypp can also bridge the gap between retailers and customers by providing an opportunity for interaction between the two. The Zypp app has an online store where manufacturers can list their products for sale, and retailers can get their stores registered with Zypp to receive free calls from customers for home delivery orders.
A Better, Faster Fit for Urban Roads
The reduction of air pollution is not the only aspect that makes EVs an attractive alternative. In post-pandemic urban areas, where restrictions have been imposed for through traffic and parking spaces are limited, the smaller size of e-bikes makes them more capable of navigating congested cities than the typical trucks and vans used for delivery services, and also makes it easier for them to move around and park temporarily in areas where parking facilities are not available.
Low Operational and Maintenance Costs
EVs are easily rechargeable and can cover an impressive distance before needing a refuel. Zypp’s e-scooters, for instance, can travel at the speed of 25 kilometres per hour for forty to forty-five minutes on one full recharge. The rising fuel-prices do not impact EVs, thereby lowering their daily expenditure. The lack of fuel also makes them less volatile and less vulnerable to combustion-related faults and accidents, thereby establishing a lower maintenance cost.
Services like Zypp thereby fulfil the need for quick deliveries at cheaper prices, while impacting the environment in a positive manner with their lack of CO2 emissions and quick recharging. This new mode of reaching consumers provides a greener alternative to traditional pathways and has the potential to transform the delivery of goods for the better.