The real price of groceries delivered in 10 minutes

In major French cities, posters have appeared in recent months with this proposal: your shopping “Delivered in 10 minutes”. Those who make this promise are new e-commerce players, including Flink, Gorillas or Getir. Between them, they weigh more than 80% of this new market, according to IRI panelists.

Behind this bright slogan, infernal logistics: small warehouses crisscrossing big cities to be closer to consumers; inside them, a limited number of references, scattered in carefully numbered stalls, “collectors” ready to fill a basket in a few moments, and delivery riders doped with electricity, bags slung over their backs, ready to sprint to your landing.

At certain times, orders come in

A survey of those who, on a daily basis, manage these warehouses shows the limits of the promise. “The deadlines will be maintained at launch time if we have 100 orders per day, explains Karl (1) who, for a year and a half, successively headed a warehouse of Gorillas and Flink in Germany, the country of origin of both companies. From the moment you deliver ten times more, that is no longer possible. »

“Obviously we didn’t 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 within 10 minutes in less than 15% of the cases. » Everywhere, the observation is shared: it is impossible to keep up with the flow, due to the size of the warehouses and the need for manpower.

One factor greatly limits the ability to make immediate deliveries: “We are open from eight in the morning until midnight, but there are only a few hours when the orders are coming in,” explained Erdem, ex-number two of a Flink warehouse. Newcomers to fast shipping are increasingly choosing to lease permanent contracts. They are caught between the need to have more workers to cope with peaks and the need to limit short-time losses. As a result, at aperitif time, ten minutes can often turn into an hour…

One hell of a run

Everyone is talking like that at an infernal rate. “We turned the warehouse into a machine!” You manage almost thirty people: management is a good conductor, you have to set the tempo”, explained Nabil, who participated in the launch of a Gorillas brand in the North. “For example, data collection should not take more than two minutes, details of Tao who recently left his managerial position in Getir, in Germany. Otherwise, the collector must practice. There are techniques: you store a maximum 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 people who deliver at the end of the race: a snake if they are too slow, a rocket for the fastest, details of Karl, who determined that the incentive had no financial impact. But we put them in danger. I had to call the families several times to let them know: “Your child is in the hospital.”I was angry at the company’s promise. I said, “It doesn’t matter if you deliver in fifteen minutes.” »

“The bags are sometimes more than 20 kg”

“We have an accident on average every two weeks: casually, we send people to the stake, many Damien, who manages a warehouse in Paris for Flink. Delivery people are easy to manage: they are usually first jobs or people with residence permits. » They were the first victims of the increase in the number of orders.

“At peak times, we can leave with two, three or even four orders in our bags to deliver to everyone,” Axel explained, delivery man within a few months. “The bags are sometimes over 20 kg: the joke between the delivery people is to say there should be a tax on water bottles”, he continued.

Platforms combine the extension of deadlines: for several weeks, they focus their communication on a delivery “in a few minutes”. Gorillas and Getir refused to give average hours. Flink assures that it delivers on average “in 15 minutes” in France while specifying, in a particular definition of “at the same time”, nothing “there is no target to deliver in 10 or 15 minutes”.

Sifting into general trading conditions confirms their desire to backpedal. gorillas? “Fmakes every effort to deliver orders within the times indicated. » Flink? Shipping is done as soon as possible. » gether? We will do our best to deliver the products to you within two hours at the latest.»

“Ten minutes are doomed”

The main thing is now in another place. The race for fast delivery is expensive. In June, the Bloomberg agency showed that the Gorillas still lose around 80 million euros per month. Even with sector consolidation. Small players were bought by the big ones, like Flink’s French Cajoo. And the big losses of the fish limit: Gorillas, for example, closed its branches in Belgium and Italy, to focus on the markets where it is better established.

“Ten minutes are destined to disappear from the scene, judge economist Philippe Moati, co-founder of Obsoco, the society and consumption observatory. The question is instead: “Is delivery possible in less than 30 minutes?” » It’s hard to keep up with the cost. “It is necessary to have a good eye in the territories with warehouses and it seems difficult to save work”, List by Philippe Moati.

There are two options to be profitable: “Will they increase their margins or deliver on the real price? », asked the economist. Competition is fierce in this sector. “You have to see how far investors can go. There has been a lot of money in the financial markets in recent years, which has allowed companies like Uber to be supported while they are losing money. Currently, the markets are turning upside down and this could be fatal for many fast shipping players. »


A consolidating market

A study by the Atelier parisien d’urbanisme in February 2022 identified 80 ghost stores in Paris and the inner pasture. According to the City of Paris, there are currently 115 in its territory.

By the end of 2021, there will be approximately 150 these stores in France, spread over eight cities.

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

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