Companies are competiting for rapid delivery of groceries as it gives them an edge in establishing an advantage in the market.
This is where the dark store model can help businesses. Dark store is a distribution center. It is used for fulfillment of operations.
These centers are not open for visitors, hence allowing more space for inventory. Dark stores provide facilities like online purchasing, same day delivery and pick-ups.
These stores are not set up in shopping malls or places with large number of footfalls, but in places with good connectivity.
A dark store typically offers three types of pickups.
Curbside pickup usually consists of a parking space near the store.
Customers can wait in their cars in this parking lot. An employee of the store delivers the order to the customer so that the customer does not have to get out of the car.
Curbside pickup is a convenient way for picking up orders quickly.
The stores offering this facility has a dedicated area near the front of the store. Customers can come and pick up orders from this area.
This is another way to deliver the order quickly and has no delivery expenses.
Home delivery is another method of delivering items from a dark Store. An employee picks up the order from that store and delivers to customer’s door steps.
The delivery is usually contactless. During the pandemic, this method was widely used across most of the megacities in India.
The home delivery method may involve some additional expenses on the part of the customer, as the vendor has to recover transportation cost.
The additional cost associated with extra space of a physical grocery store or a shopping mall store is also not present with a dark store.
A dark store being online can also serve a larger customer base than a physical store. This tends to increase the gross revenue and cut down overall costs.
Digitisation is an important part of a dark store. The grocery merchant which fulfills order through a dark store typically has an app or an online website to collect customer orders.
Such an App will typically be available through Google Play Store or apple iStore.
Customers can download the app install on their mobile phones or visit the merchant website to do the shopping. Payment in general is online, but in some cases cash on delivery is also offered.
Dark stores usually employ people consisting of inhouse staff like order receivers, monitors, labelers, packers and floor managers and also external staff like delivery boys.
The inhouse staff is commonly salaried, and the external staff or the delivery boys work on a per order or per hour basis.
Attrition rate among delivery boys is higher, as competitors often offer higher rates to lure them away.
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