‘It is a desperavole point of difference ‘

Ambi Parameswaran, founder, Brand-Building.com
At the face of it, Zomato’s 10-minute food delivery seems like a gimmick. But is it? We should remember that one of the biggest ready-to-eat products that is consumed all over the country is Maggi 2-minute Noodles. If we dig into that brand’s launch focus, its success was because of many factors, not just its ‘two-minute’ promise. However, one big contributor to the brand’s success was the way the early ad campaign honed in on one specific ‘usage occasion’; kids come home from school at 3 pm screaming ‘Bhook lagi hai, mummy’ and the mother says, ‘two minutes’.

For food delivery platforms, 10 minutes may not be enough unless you hit the right consumer insight cues. Zomato’s offer, seen in a vacuum, looks empty. In branding terms, this looks like a desperate ‘point of difference’ that the brand is creating since all ‘points of parity’ are taken. So, a lot will depend on how Zomato manages to make this 10-minute offer connect with the consumers. Nothing is known on how Zomato is planning to trigger the food order, but if it is just another ‘point of difference’ gimmick, it will die a quick 10-minute death.

‘Food quality might get compromised’

Harish Bijoor, founder, Harish Bijoor Consults

Times have changed – e-commerce has morphed to quick-commerce, and food delivery has sadly taken that route. My point of objection is a simple one – it’s not the delivery, it’s the food! Good food takes time to cook; even if handled by cloud kitchens at your street corner (enabled by predictive algorithms that are savvy and suave), it has a process. When you promise a delivery in 10 minutes, there is the doubt of a compromise somewhere. The big thought is that the food has been made and kept ready to be popped into a microwave and rushed out. Perception is more important than the truth! Food that is not fresh is no replacement for food that I expect to be freshly made. A compromise on this is a quality compromise.
When a consumer thinks of his / her food as not as fresh as is meant to be, a 10-minute delivery becomes a marketing gimmick with a short lifespan. As we instantise our lives with off-the-shelf offerings, these offerings serve a niche, and what serves the niche, normally finds it difficult to survive. Therefore, even this gimmick shall pass!

‘Not a high-volume market’

Alagu Balaraman, CEO, Augmented SCM

Every service offering should fulfill a real customer need to get traction (generate sales). If the customers in a market see sufficient value in the service, then the service would be profitable. With existing customer behavior patterns, the 10-minute delivery is being positioned as a service for the “Oops! I forgot ”situations and for the self-indulgent,“ I want it and I want it now ”personas. As a market, this is not a high-volume market. Life is usually easier with fewer deliveries to receive, pay for, and put away. It is a low-margin business and ensuring consistent quick deliveries requires additional investment. Given these two factors and the fact that the targetted customer categories are unlikely to generate a sufficient volume of business, the unit economics is not going to be profitable. Scaling it up will not generate efficiencies, but demand absorbing increasing losses.

However, customers can come up with as-yet unknown needs that they see as more valuable and for which they will pay more, like medicines. If this happy and serendipitous discovery takes place, the 10-minute delivery setup might actually be economically useful.

Read Also: Rentokil Initial appoints Mark Gillespie as the managing director, Asia

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