India’s ride-hailing company Ola is increasing its focus on the emerging “quick commerce business”, aiming to set up 500 dark stores in the next six months across 20 Indian cities to support its Ola Dash service.
Dark stores are warehouses that do not have retail storefronts. These stores will enable Ola Dash’s “store to door” 10-minute grocery delivery service.
ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the parent of ride-hailing company Ola, has rebranded its quick commerce business as Ola Dash amid rising competition for Swiggy, Dunzo and Grofers, which are also increasing investments to support their respective quick commerce in the country.
Ola Dash was previously known as the Ola Store. Notably, the company had initially entered the hyperlocal delivery space with the launch of Ola Store in June 2015 but decided to shut it down in 2016.
Seeing emerging competition and traction for the service, the company had, in October last year, set aside $33.78 million for the grocery business. The service is available in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Lucknow.
The company, which currently has over 200 dark stores and 2,500 stock keeping units (SKUs), aims to expand to more than 500,000 orders per day by the year-end.
Ola Dash service currently delivers snacks, beverages, instant food, fruit and vegetables, cooking essentials and home care products.
“Our quick commerce service is an essential part of our connection with customers as they rely on technology and online service to fulfil their daily needs. Over the next few months, we will expand our reach and presence to more cities and customers,” Anshul Khandelwal, chief marketing officer, Ola said in a statement.
Swiggy, the most aggressive player in the space, recently raised $700 million from global investors. The investment will allow it to invest heavily in its quick commerce and delivery segments, Swiggy Instamart.
Grofers, backed by Zomato and Tiger Global Management, had rebranded itself as Blinkit in December last year to increase its focus on 10-minute grocery delivery business to 100 cities. It has plans to diversify into non-grocery deliveries.
Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd also bought a nearly 26% stake in hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo with $200 million. Dunzo is backed by Google.
Zepto has also raised funds over the last 12 months to support its 10-minute grocery delivery service. Kiranakart Technologies-owned company raised over $160 million in 2021 and is valued at $570 million.