The perils of the lockdown are far beyond the contamination of the virus only. Another undesired outcome of the whole ordeal in an underdeveloped country like ours is hunger. With people stuck at their homes and factories shut down, the scarcity of essential items like food is tearing the walls of survival in Nepal. The government has been working to prevent this but reports of people & families without adequate access to basic human resources in this grave situation are abundantly evident. At such times, many businesses with relevant infrastructure have shifted their area of operation to best suit the issue at hand. One such company is Daraz. Here, Daraz is delivering essential goods like food, sanitational utilities, etc. ever since the government initiated the lockdown.
Now usually, Daraz is famous for its large catalog of lifestyle products, electronics, etc. This crucially swift transformation in the business structure was made possible through a collaboration with Bigmart. It is one of the largest retail store chains n the country and the partnership with Nepal’s biggest e-commerce platform kinda seems like an obvious match. So we had a brief Q&A session with Daraz in regards to the whole process, and how it is providing its services during the lockdown.
How did the collaboration come to be? Why Bigmart?
“We were already in works of officially collaborating with Big Mart. Bigmart is one of Nepal’s biggest supermarket chains and they have excellent supply-chain channels through which we are confident we can fulfill the needs of every customer in this difficult time.”
What measures are being implemented to ensure everyone involved in the process of delivering the essential items don’t risk contamination?
“All our delivery riders are regularly educated on hygiene best practices and are also equipped with hand sanitizer for them as well as for our customers. We are following best practices from our Alibaba headquarters, the WHO, and the local authorities. Since the lockdown, we have also enforced a home-office policy to ensure the safety of our staff.
Furthermore, our DEX Delivery Team is equipped with protective masks and sanitized disposable/polythene gloves. We are monitoring their health and well-being very closely with temperature checks, and they are instructed to strictly stay at home if they begin to feel unwell.”
How many delivery agents are on-field every day? How many deliveries do they make a day? What areas are you serving?
“We have deployed our full four-wheeled capacity to ensure we can deliver to as many people as possible, which right now stands at 14 vehicles. So, there will be 14 drivers and 14 delivery heroes. The company is delivering 800+ packages on the same day with a 95% success rate. We are currently delivering inside Kathmandu ring road and the following:
|Kathmandu (outside Ringroad)||Lalitpur (outside Ringroad)||Bhaktapur (outside Ringroad)|
|Mandikhatar, Kapan||Imadole||Sano Thimi|
What sort of impact will this have on Daraz’s operations once the lockdown is lifted and the danger is over?
“COVID-19 has impacted the entire world and therefore us in Nepal as well. As any business would do, we completely reworked our strategy. In order to support the government lockdown, we have been focusing entirely on the delivery of grocery and basic essentials where we closed a partnership with Big Mart that we already had worked on for many months. We are optimistic about the future.
Especially now, we’ve also seen that in other markets affected by COVID-19, online shopping, and food delivery companies have played a vital role and are fully supported by the respective governments. We already have a very sophisticated operational infrastructure to support government initiatives regarding the delivery of essential items in Kathmandu valley. And the government also increasingly registers the importance of e-commerce. However, we also need to ensure supporting all the SMEs across the country right now to allow them to open their shops at least online to make sure they can generate income.
This is where the government needs to support with the right policies. I am optimistic that things can move very quickly now, similar to what we saw in other markets affected by COVID-19, where online shopping and food delivery companies are the country-wide backbone of society right now and are fully supported by the respective governments. Right now we all have to fight together for better days to come.”
And that’s it for the interview (told you it was going to be brief). How Daraz was capable of turning an unsought situation into an opportunity to help the community by delivering essential goods is truly commendable. Not only Daraz, but lots of other e-commerce platforms also have shifted their business focus and are now delivering essential goods. So, check out our compilation list of some of the online shopping platforms offering deliveries of essential goods during the COVID-19 lockdown.