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Blinkit : The dark phase

Kamya Rawat

April 26, 2023

Blinkit is an online supermarket that gets products across categories like grocery, beauty, and wellness, household care, baby care, pet care delivered to your doorstep. Blinkit provides over 3,000 products at prices lower than supermarkets every day. Blinkit currently operates in a total of 26 cities across India. Zomato-owned quick-commerce platform Blinkit shut down nearly 100 dark stores across Delhi-NCR in the past few days. A dark store is basically a retail facility that is designed and operated like a traditional retail store, but it is not open to the public for browsing and shopping. Instead, it is used as a centre of fulfilment for online orders. The closure of some Blinkit dark stores comes days after a strike was announced by its delivery executives, who demanded the company to reinstate their payout structure after a sudden reduction. Delivery executives are protesting the change in their payout structure that they claim would result in lesser earnings for them. “Almost all of the 50-60 stores in Gurugram are shut, and more across Noida and Delhi are shutting as the new fee structure is being rolled out,” a person aware of the matter said. Moreover, customers across the region have been unable to place orders at the offline stores with the Blinkit app showing these locations as “temporarily unavailable” on account of the store being under maintenance. Several are taking to social media platforms to raise the issue. A browse on Blinkit app across most stores in Gurugram, and several others in Delhi, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad showed that these were unavailable. Some stores located in South Delhi areas, and some locations in Noida were available for 8-10 minute deliveries as of Thursday. ET has learnt that while the delivery executives across the Delhi-National Capital Region plan to continue protesting over the coming days, the company will continue to go ahead with its plan to roll out the changed payout structure across more stores. In a report, ICICI Securities said Blinkit is expected to lose 1% of its revenue on account of the ongoing strikes during the April-June quarter, with Zomato likely to lose 0.15% of its revenue during the period on a consolidated basis. ET had reported earlier that around 100 Blinkit dark stores were shut temporarily because of the strikes. The company has around 400 dark stores in the country, almost half of which are in the Delhi-NCR region.