The real price of groceries delivered in 10 minutes

The real price of groceries delivered in 10 minutes

Posters have appeared in the main French cities in recent months with this proposal: your shopping “delivered in 10 minutes”. Those who make this promise are the new players in electronic commerce, including Flink, Gorillas or Getir. Together they account for more than 80% of this new market, according to IRI panelists.

Behind this striking slogan, hellish logistics: small warehouses that travel through big cities to be closer to consumers; within them, a limited number of references, scattered in carefully numbered stalls, “pickers” ready to fill a basket in a few moments, and delivery men doped with electricity, bags bolted to their backs, ready to run to your landing.

At certain times, orders arrive

A survey of those who, on a daily basis, have managed these warehouses shows the limits of the promise. “Timeframes were sustainable at launch when we had 100 orders per day, explains Karl (1) who, for a year and a half, was successively in charge of a warehouse in Gorillas and Flink in Germany, the country of origin of the two companies. From the moment you deliver ten times more, that is no longer possible. »

“Obviously we did not meet these deadlines, confirms Dimitri, who managed a warehouse in Paris for a year for Gorillas. When I left, we had to do 600 orders a day: we delivered in 10 minutes in less than 15% of the cases. » Everywhere, the observation is shared: impossible to keep up, due to the size of the warehouses and the need for manpower.

One reason particularly limits the ability to make instant deliveries: “We’re open from eight in the morning until midnight, but there are only a few hours when orders pour in,” explains Erdem, former number two of a Flink warehouse. Newcomers to express delivery have overwhelmingly opted for permanent contracts. They are caught between the need to have a large workforce to cope with peaks and the need to limit losses during low hours. Result, at aperitif time, it is not uncommon for ten minutes to turn into an hour…

a hell of a beat

Everyone talks like that about an infernal rhythm. “We’ve turned the warehouse into a machine!” You manage around thirty people: supervising is being a great director, you have to set the tempo”, explains Nabil, who participated in the launch of a Gorillas brand in the North. “For example, data collection should never last more than two minutes, details Tao who has just left his management position at Getir, in Germany. Otherwise, the collector has to practice. There are techniques: store a max next to the output, for example. »

In these companies where “data” is king, every second is tracked, even if it means putting teams under pressure. “We decided to send emojis to the delivery people at the end of the race: a snake if they were too slow, a rocket for the fastest, Karl details, who specifies that the incentive had no economic impact. But we put them in danger. I had to call the families several times to announce: “Your son is in the hospital”.I ended up disagreeing with the company’s promise. I said, “It doesn’t matter if you deliver in fifteen minutes.” »

“The bags sometimes weighed more than 20 kg”

“We had an accident on average every two weeks: we casually sent people to the stake, abounds Damien, who ran a Parisian warehouse for Flink. Delivery drivers are quite easy to manage: they are often first jobs or people with residence permits. » They are the first victims of the dizzying increase in the number of orders.

“During peak hours, we could go out with two, three or even four orders in the suitcase to be able to distribute to everyone”, explains Axel, a delivery man for a few months. “The bags sometimes exceeded 20 kg: the joke among the delivery men was to say that there should be a tax on water bottles,” he continues.

The platforms have integrated the extension of deadlines: for several weeks they have focused their communication on a delivery ” soon “. Gorillas and Getir refuse to give average times. Flink ensures that it delivers on average “in 15 minutes” in France by specifying, in a particular sense of “at the same time”, not to have “no goal of delivery in 10 or 15 minutes”.

Examining the general conditions of sale confirms your desire to back down. gorillas? “Fmakes every effort to deliver orders within the indicated times. » Flink? Delivery is made as soon as possible. » getir? We will do our best to deliver the products to you within a maximum period of two hours.»

“The ten minutes are doomed to disappear”

The main thing is now elsewhere. The race for fast delivery is expensive. In June, the Bloomberg agency indicated that Gorillas continues to lose close to 80 million euros a month. Even while the sector consolidates. The small players are bought by the big ones, like Flink’s French Cajoo. And bigwigs limit losses: Gorillas, for example, closed its branches in Belgium and Italy, to focus on markets where it is better established.

“The ten minutes are condemned to disappear from the landscape, judges the economist Philippe Moati, co-founder of Obsoco, the observatory of society and consumption. The question is rather: “Is it feasible to deliver in less than 30 minutes?” » Difficult costs to chase. “You have to have a fine mesh of the territories with the warehouses and it seems difficult to save labor”, Philippe Moati list.

There are then two options to be profitable: “Are they going to increase their margins or deliver at the actual price? », asks the economist. Competition is strong in this sector. “We have to see how far investors will go. There has been a lot of money in the financial markets in recent years, allowing companies like Uber to be supported as they lost money. Markets are currently changing and this could be fatal for many fast delivery players. »

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A consolidating market

A study by the Atelier Parisien d’urbanisme from February 2022 identified 80 ghost stores in Paris and in the inner suburbs. According to the Paris City Council, today there would be about 115 in its territory.

At the end of 2021, there were approximately 150 of these stores in France, spread over eight cities.

Among the most active start-ups in the market, we find Getir (of Turkish origin), the Germans Flink and Gorillas, Gopuff (which has been a pioneer since its creation in the United States in 2013) or even the French Cajoo… which was bought by Flink this year. The market is constantly consolidating.


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