Ola Rethinks Strategy for Quick Commerce – Scales Down Ola Dash

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

We can’t emphasize enough how hot it’s getting in the quick commerce bazaar. Phew! Homegrown mobility platform, Ola forayed beyond just hailing cabs for us. After announcing its expansion plans in January for its quick commerce service – Ola Dash, the company plans to scale down its ‘dark stores’ business.

Wait… Dark store? What? Take a guess. 

For a layman, ‘Dark Store’ may have negative or dystopic connotations, akin to that of the Dark Web. But, hold on.

If you aren’t already aware, let us do the decoding for you. The term ‘dark store’ refers to a retail outlet or distribution centre that caters exclusively for online shopping. It most certainly is a brick-and-mortar store but without the customers equipped with aisles, shelves and racks for groceries.

The Big Daddy of Dark Stores – no more?

Ola Dash announced this January that its network of 500 dark stores will be spread across 20 cities, making it the largest dark store network in India.

On the flip side, the cab-hailing unicorn is restructuring its dark store game as it plans to keep human resource costs under control. In the past few weeks, it fired around 2,100 contract workers brought on board to handle Ola Dash’s dark stores. There’s not much to say about where the existing 200 stores are headed, but a few may probably shut down for all we know. 

The secret sauce for the success of other players in the league such as Grofers, JioMart and Zepto also lies in dark stores. Poor customer feedback could also be a reason for Ola to press the pause button on instant delivery.

Too long? Here’s a one-liner: Ola Dash to scale down its dark stores as a result of major restructuring; fires 2,100 contract workers and shutting down of existing 200 stores is likely.

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