Adding to the list of on-demand services witnessing an untimely demise of sorts, India’s largest e-commerce platform by all stats — Flipkart, is joining the list as it announces closure of Nearby, the grocery delivery arm operated by India’s e-commerce poster boy.
Online groceries or the hyperlocal delivery segment on a whole, was “the” trend last year, with an army of startups lining up, backed by massive cash investments. But then, be it a poor business model or simply that inability to sustain, most of these fell to their deaths or at least had to condense.
We saw a number of shut downs of startups in this sector in the last few months. In fact, a couple of months ago, Grofers, the Gurgaon based on-demand delivery startup which is one of the more heavily-backed ones, shut down its operations in 9 cities because of lack of demand. The service had just recently expanded its reach to 17 cities across India.
This was followed by breakdown in PepperTap, which also laid off almost 400 delivery guys.
Following that trend Flipkart has announced that it has shut down its very own grocery arm, the not-so-famous ‘Nearby’. This project was initiated last year in October as an experiment. The service was provided by the company via a separate app which shot in over 100k downloads, but clearly failed to clock expected numbers.
Flipkart provided this service exclusively in Bangalore but it seems it’s time to say goodbye to it because of poor demand and severe lack of margins. This isn’t new as the service had been facing both these problems ever since its roll-out.
We have mailed Flipkart for additional comments, and will update this story once we receive some.