With the beginning of lockdown 3.0, the whole country is divided into Red, Green and Orange zones. Starting from 4th May 2020 lockdown 3.0 has been implemented with many relaxations with an objective to restart the economy.
Revised rules for ecomm deliveries
One of the major relaxations made by MHA caters to ecommerce industry as well. The government has announced the provision of lifting partial and compete ban on ecommerce activities. As per the latest directive, ecomm companies are eligible to deliver both essential and non-essential items in the zip codes following under green and orange zones.
However, the delivery of nonessential items is still prohibited in the red zones. All major metro cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad,
“Ecommerce activities will be permitted only for essential goods” outside containment areas in red zones, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in revised guidelines issued on Friday evening. Untill now, ecommerce providers were allowed to deliver only essential items throughout India.
Typically, eretail companies churn maximum sales( more than 90%) such as smartphones, electronics, appliances and apparel, and have been severely affected by the countrywide shutdown,.
With ecommerce companies being allowed to deliver non-essential items provide an airpocket, the uptake of which will be a key indicator of consumer sentiment.
“Demand for work-from-home category spends will pick-up considering this new normal is here to stay. The demand generated by tier II and III cities will be key indicator of the consumer sentiment as many of the tier I cities continue to be under mixed zone. Supply chain will continue to be a challenge albeit with reduced pressures considering relaxation, with start-ups keeping a keen eye on maintaining balance between supply and demand,” said Ankur Pahwa, Partner and National Leader – E-Commerce and Consumer Internet, EY India.
In green and orange zones will be allowed between 7 am and 7 pm, as per the MHA guidelines for non-essential services. While companies welcomed the move, they said that with more than half of their sales coming from metros and large cities, which are mostly in the red zone, business will continue to be impacted.
Here is the list services which are allowed as per the zones.
Brick and mortar retail
Things are pretty much same for offline retailers as it were in the earlier phases of lockdown. Malls and shopping plazas and shops located in market areas are still prohibited. Only relaxation is for standalone shops selling essentials and non-essential items.
However, as India is classified into red, orange and green zones with certain relaxations, retailers and FMCG companies need to quickly figure out their manufacturing and supply strategies and prepare for the "Next" phase.
Speaking on same, Pinakiranjan Mishra, Partner and National Leader, Consumer Products and Retail, EY India, said, “ Companies should identify and fix the gaps during this crucial period, and be ready for the time when the restrictions will be fully lifted and business resumes as usual. Some key actions that retailers should take include, re-evaluating buy plans and communicating changes to suppliers, increasing collaboration with the ecosystem, considering asset repurposing and reinventing some stores as micro-fulfilment centres for online or click and collect centres.”
Going further he adds companies should also implement a comprehensive COVID checklist in their factories, offices and stores to ensure employee safety, establish trust in the organization especially with families of staff members and with local authorities. Regular health checks of staff , mandating use of sanitizers and masks, and ensuring a strict governance and regular & transparent communication will be key to a successful rebound for companies. The current relaxations will give an opportunity to open businesses in green and orange zones as applicable and also help slowly get the sales and supply chain systems in place,”
Green signal to Cab aggregators
Along with online deliveries, the government has also allowed cab aggregator services in orange and green zones as well besides allowing other forms of travel.
MHA order reads as “In the orange zones, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with one driver and one passenger only. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four-wheeler vehicles will have maximum two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.”
In 2017, The Organic World (TOW), sprouted as the green heart of Nimida Group in Bengaluru, sowing the seeds of sustainability to cultivate positive change in our way of life. Founded by Gaurav Manchanda, Director, The Organic World, this unique brand strives to offer a holistic range of organic and natural products. From pesticide-free fruits and vegetables to chemical-free homecare products, TOW provides consumers with over 3000 choices to embrace a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable lifestyle.
Gaurav, during his return to India from the United States in 2016, identified a gap in the market for healthy and organic food options. Motivated by a personal quest for such products and a desire to offer the same to a wider audience, The Organic World was born in 2017. Starting with the launch of its first store in JP Nagar, Bengaluru, TOW quickly expanded. Today it has 15 stores across Bengaluru, and is exploring the franchise model and the plan is to steadily expand TOW’s footprint across South India.
“Our journey is only getting started. We plan to expand up to 100 stores over the next 18 months, and exploring cities like Chennai, Pune, and more,” he says.
TOW positions itself as a multi-brand retailer, hosting products that are not only organic but also differentiated, providing better value to customers as they journey towards a healthier lifestyle. The stores boasts a comprehensive product range, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, staples, personal care items, and home care products. The presentation of these stores is world-class, ensuring a unique and engaging shopping experience.
Gaurav sheds light on TOW's commitment to responsible retailing, focusing on three core pillars: authenticity, accessibility, and affordability. The company enforces a rigorous vetting process for products, maintaining transparency by publicly listing 25 blacklisted ingredients and chemicals not allowed on their shelves. This disruptive approach challenges the industry to prioritize healthier and sustainable products. TOW has created a strict ‘Not In Our Aisle’ list – a list of chemicals and harmful ingredients that do not find a spot on its store shelves, despite their industry popularity. This includes ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener, found in soda, juice, candy, breakfast cereals and packaged snacks; artificial flavorings/colors found in most packaged foods; Tertiary Butylhydroquinine (TBHQ), an antioxidant found in biscuits, microwave popcorn, butter substitutes and chicken nuggets; parabens, sulfates and phthalates found in personal and beauty care products; and a range of acids and toxins found in home cleaning essentials, to name some.
“When you step into our store, it's an interesting and world-class experience. We strive to be a full basket retailer, so you can complete your shopping journey within our stores. Now we have about 3000 SKUs on our shelves, and we continue to introduce interesting categories and products,” explains Gaurav.
The brand’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its product offerings. It has introduced a zero-waste section in select stores, encouraging customers to bring their own containers for grains and nuts. The company is conscious of consumer preferences, with a dedicated vegan category accounting for a significant portion of sales. TOW's initiatives have not only resonated with environmentally conscious consumers but also positively impacted its revenue.
The Organic World has embraced a tech-driven approach to bridge the online and offline shopping experience seamlessly. Initially partnering with tech enablers, TOW later developed its in-house tech stack, comprising apps, websites, and delivery mechanisms. This move provides the company with more control over data, enabling better insights into consumer behavior.
Acknowledging the challenges in the grocery and organic sector, Gaurav emphasizes the importance of trust in the brand and scale to stay competitive. The company strives to deliver within a two to four-hour time slot, and in a bid to make its last-mile delivery sustainable, TOW is exploring the use of electric vehicles.
In a market flooded with products labeled as organic, The Organic World sets itself apart through a combination of the 3As. The brand's strong category play, especially in emerging trends like veganism, further distinguishes it from competitors. The company's commitment to scale, transparent pricing, and a variety of unique products solidifies its position as a leading player in the organic and healthy foods sector.
“We work closely with farmers and a network of farmers under the brand Happy Harvest Farms. They are certified and organic. Additionally, we do our own checks internally, and based on these checks we believe that we are able to provide an authentic experience to the discerning consumer,” Gaurav asserts.
He is optimistic about the future, fueled by the growing awareness of health-conscious consumers. With plans to expand its store network and franchise model, TOW aims to be a dominant player in the Indian organic market. The brand envisions not only leading in the organic sector but also influencing responsible retailing practices across the broader retail industry.
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