What is quick commerce?

“Modern times are demanding, and so are the stakeholders living in it. Not just present day businesses, but contemporary consumers too have become extremely ravenous for their deliveries to reach them as quickly as possible.”

1. introduction

How many times have you felt the need to get the products delivered to your doorstep instantly? Or how curiously have you ever waited for your deliveries to reach you at lightning fast pace? ‘Not at all’ or ‘less often’ cannot be taken as an expected answer to these questions because the ecommerce landscape has transformed completely, and you, who is reading this, are no exception. Ecommerce has become quick; really quick or lightning quick to say the least.
In today’s galloping digital age, the contemporary consumers are unanimously seeking convenience and efficiency in every aspect of their lives, including their shopping experiences. It is this need for speed that has paved the way for a tremendous amount of ecommerce to take place- in fact quick commerce- one which reaches the customers at an ultra fast speed.
Quick commerce, also abbreviated as q-commerce, is a model that aims to deliver products to customers in the shortest possible time – sometimes in a few minutes and oftentimes with the blink of an eye. The grocery you ordered the previous week for the family, that reached you by the time you were done with submitting your review about your shopping experience, is commerce done exceptionally fast- and that is precisely what is meant by commerce getting ‘quick’.
In the blog that follows, let us see the remarkable growth of quick commerce in recent years and how it has transformed the way we buy, view and expect marketing to be.

2. The emergence of quick commerce

The dynamic behaviour of consumers and their ever increasing needs have called for something prompt- which is why businesses have adopted the hyperlocal ecommerce model of deliveries- one which is really quick. This trend has also picked up immense pace among the consumers.
In fact, quick commerce rose as an innovative response to the loud call of consumers to have speedy deliveries, especially during the pandemic period, when restrictions became the norm and the word ‘contactless’ became the ‘buzzword’. There is absolutely no criticism about the fact that e-commerce on-demand and instant delivery has emerged as one of the most sought-after logistics services globally, especially post-pandemic.
With the coming into being of on-demand services and the rise of e-commerce giants in the previous few years, it goes without saying that consumers have become highly accustomed to seamless experiences and faster deliveries. It is this acclimatisation and subsequent expectation from global delivery giants which has led to the birth and rapid penetration of quick commerce- one which leverages technology, automation, logistics networks, and intelligent algorithms to provide lightning quick deliveries to the modern day consumers.
Q-commerce has gained significant traction in roughly all the corners of the world, garnering over 400 million q-commerce users globally in 2022. Though the list of q-commerce players is a lengthy one, a prominent player in the quick commerce market is Istanbul-based Getir, which has raised close to two billion U.S. dollars in funding as of 2023. Similarly, in the United States, Gopuff outdid competitors in the quick commerce market, with more than 3.4 billion U.S. dollars in funding. It is estimated that more than 26 billion U.S. dollars have been generated in the quick commerce market in the United States in 2023.

3. Growth of quick commerce- Discovering the factors behind it

a. Dynamic consumer behaviour

It is no secret that consumers of the twenty first century have had a blistering pace of change in their needs and choices. What was considered to be a luxury a decade or two ago, has now become a need for the majoritarian consumers. They now prioritise convenience and instant gratification above everything else. They are happy to pay a premium price for products that can be delivered instantly. Quick commerce just perfectly aligns with this shift in consumer behaviour by offering on-demand, hyper-localised delivery solutions.

b. Technological advancements

Technology has been the fulcrum around which all the advancements are happening. Progresses made in mobile technology, GPS tracking, route optimization and real-time inventory management systems have enabled the seamless integration of quick commerce into existing retail infrastructures. This has supercharged contemporary businesses and has led to next-level speed and efficiency in deliveries.

c. Expansion of delivery networks

When we discuss quick deliveries, we cannot prevent ourselves from discussing the widespread delivery network that makes instant deliveries possible. As hyperlocal ecommerce stands today, quick commerce providers and hyperlocal businesses have been expanding their delivery networks and optimizing last-mile logistics to ensure faster, transparent and more reliable deliveries. This includes partnerships with local retailers and the use of crowd-sourced delivery personnel to meet customer expectations.

d. COVID-19 pandemic impact

The sudden outbreak of the pandemic put businesses at a standstill, while some q-commerce players emerged significantly. The global pandemic, as everyone witnessed, has accelerated the growth of quick commerce as more consumers turned to e-commerce due to lockdowns, strict quarantines, and social distancing measures. The need for contactless and rapid deliveries was immediately felt and it further boosted the demand for quick commerce services during these challenging times.

e. Sedentary lifestyle

Consumers have grown accustomed to availing products and services at home. Given an option, the majority of buyers would like to have things home delivered than to go out and spend hours shopping. This need to have things doorstep-delivered is evidently growing and is expected to push people toward more sedentary choices. And it is this push that is leading to more and more q-commerce businesses to come up and cater to their needs.

4. Some overt benefits of quick commerce

a. Time-saving convenience

Instant deliveries through q-commerce partners have been a big time saver for modern consumers. Quick commerce eliminates the need for time-consuming trips to physical stores. With q-commerce partners around, customers can order essential items, groceries, or even meals with just a few clicks and taps on their smartphones, saving valuable time that can be allocated to other productive activities.

b. Increased efficiency

There is little doubt over the efficiency q-commerce businesses deliver. They are highly and indisputably efficient. By utilising advanced algorithms and predictive analytics, q-commerce providers optimise delivery routes & inventory management, removing bottlenecks and resulting in efficient operations and fewer delays.

c. Enhanced customer satisfaction

If customer is the king, as they say, striving for customer satisfaction is the kingdom every business wants to get into. As a result, quick commerce places customer satisfaction at the core of its model. The ability to receive products quickly and reliably contributes to better customer experiences, enriches their bond with businesses and strengthens brand loyalty. Moreover, in today’s times of lightning quick deliveries, q-commerce has become a necessity for businesses to satisfy and delight the customers with lightning quick and unexpected delivery times.

d. Support for local businesses

Needless to say, q-commerce businesses have been a great support for vendors and entrepreneurs of the modern times. They collaborate with local retailers, elevating their chances of getting noticed, allowing them to reach a broader customer base and compete with e-commerce giants. This symbiotic relationship facilitates growth in the local economy.

5. Challenges and future outlook

While quick commerce has experienced rapid growth and largely all of us have availed its services at least once, it faces a few challenges too. The growing need for timely deliveries comes with its own sets of difficulties. It requires robust logistics capabilities, efficient inventory management, and effective fleet coordination. Moreover, the cost implications of maintaining a fast and reliable delivery network can be a hurdle for small businesses.
Moving forward, quick commerce is likely to evolve further. Technologies like autonomous vehicles and drones may soon play a more significant role in expedited deliveries. Additionally, the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning can enable even more efficient logistics planning and personalised customer experiences.

6. Wrapping Up

Quick commerce has become a buzzword- so strong that modern-day consumers are going gaga over it. It has rapidly transformed the traditional shopping landscape by offering customers unprecedented speed, convenience, and a seamless experience. The remarkable growth it has witnessed in recent years is a testament to the increasing demand for instant fulfilment.
Increased proliferation of internet-enabled smartphones and the ever-changing consumer expectations have become the order of the day. With rapid advancements in technology,  hyperlocal ecommerce and quick commerce platforms are poised to mould and shape the future of retail and drive further innovation in the years to come. It would be interesting to see just how significant it will be.