Ola, the ride-sharing platform, has announced its plans to expand its quick commerce service — Ola Dash — by introducing 500 dark stores across 20 cities in the next six months, making it India’s largest dark store network.
Ola Dash currently operates across nine cities: Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, and Lucknow. Groceries are delivered in 10 minutes thanks to the company’s ‘Store to Door’ service. It currently has 200 dark stores with a total of 2500 stock-keeping units (SKUs). Ola in a statement said the company’s goal for the year is to increase order volume to over 500,000 per day.
The range of products available on Ola Dash includes fresh produce, instant food, snacks & beverages, home care products, fruits & vegetables, cooking essentials among many others. The Bhavish Aggarwal-led company is striving to position itself as a mobility-to-commerce behemoth, with significant investments in food and essential delivery likely in the coming months.
Commenting on the development, Anshul Khandelwal, Chief Marketing Officer at Ola said, “Ola has been a leader in the on-demand mobility business for more than a decade. Our advanced geolocation tech, coupled with the very low cost of customer acquisition gives us a unique advantage to bring the benefits of mobility to all. Our quick commerce service is an essential part of our connect with customers as they rely on technology and online service to fulfill their daily needs. Over the next few months, we will be expanding our reach and presence to more cities and customers.”
Ola is competing with Reliance-backed Dunzo, six-month-old Zepto, and Zomato-backed blinkit in the quick commerce category, in an attempt to reshape India’s rapidly developing online retail sector. Ola Dash is available on the official Ola app, but unlike competitors like Swiggy’s Instamart and Zepto, it does not provide customers with cash on delivery (CoD) options.
Swiggy also announced plans to inject $700 million into the grocery delivery vertical over the next few years in December. It had 150 dark stores till December, and it wants to add 100 more by the end of February 2022. Zepto, on the other hand, claims to have 100 stores and hopes to expand 500 more in the coming months. Blinkit (formerly Grofers) claims to set up 300 dark stores, as of the data published in December last year. The quick commerce service has gained huge momentum with the help of dark stores.
These stores enable e-commerce players with direct access to the products since they are only meant for delivery. A RedSeer report suggests that India’s quick commerce industry is expected to rise to $5 billion by 2025, up from the current $0.3 billion.