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Watch: BigBasket’s Hari Menon on why ecommerce cannot scale overnight despite surging demand

26 May, 2020

Online grocery delivery companies are expected to emerge stronger on the back of the Covid-19 lockdown, as customers in big cities have taken to getting groceries home delivered instead of venturing out to buy essentials from local retail shops. 

For the country’s largest online grocer BigBasket, this is an opportunity to increase the role of digital payments, reduce discounting on its platform and expand its market share. 

The two months of lockdown has been the healthiest for BigBasket’s topline and bottomline -- the firm has incurred no customer acquisition and marketing expenditure, even as demand continues to increase.

In this segment of a two-part interview, Bengaluru-based BigBasket founder Hari Menon explains why, unlike a pure technology player who can easily scale a business, his company has to hire more people and expand the infrastructure and physical assets to serve more orders.

Backed by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, and with a reported revenue of around Rs 5,000 crore last year, BigBasket has enough capital to run for 24 months without any fund infusion. Menon said he does not want to think about the next round of funding or valuation yet, as nobody could have predicted the Covid-19 crisis. 

An industry veteran, Menon earlier ran retail chain Trinethra, which was acquired by Aditya Birla Group-backed More in 2007. Amazon later acquired More through Samara Capital in 2018.

You can watch the first part of the interview here, where Menon explains why the company struggled to keep operations going even as demand for essentials, especially groceries, has escalated to unprecedented levels.