With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the consumer to change the way they shop, startups too have been trying to figure out ways of sustaining amid a dynamically changing business environment. One such startup that pivoted quickly is Swiggy, and with its grocery delivery pivot turning out to be a massive success, the food delivery unicorn is planning to double down on the same.

According to a report in the Economic Times and later confirmed by the company, Swiggy is looking to start express delivery of essential items such as grocery. The company is planning to open convenience stores to help it fulfill orders within 45 minutes. The service is being called ‘Instamart’.

In the beginning, Swiggy plans to offer about 2,500 items from its partner ‘dark stores’, says the report from ET. These dark stores do not have walk-in locations and exist only on its app, similar to the concept of cloud kitchens. The pilot is expected to initially start from Gurugram and Bangalore with plans to expand soon across other primary Swiggy markets.

“With 30-45 minutes deliveries… day and night serviceability (7 am – 12 am), a wide assortment across categories such as instant meals, snacks, ice creams, fruits and vegetables, Instamart will address the unmet grocery needs of the time-pressed, convenience-seeking urban consumer,” a Swiggy spokesperson said in response to the ET report.

With restaurants mostly shut and the hospitality industry taking a massive blow due to lockdowns, Swiggy too faced headwinds in its food delivery business. But the company quickly turned it around — as is expected from startups — and used its existing logistics and supply chain networks to start delivering essential items. The move turned out to be a huge success, pushing the company to further expand the offering. Swiggy also started a liquor delivery pilot, which according to initial reports, has turned out to be running pretty decently.

This move to quickly expand its grocery delivery service comes at a time when India’s hyperlocal delivery space has once again started to see some hot contest. And this is all thanks to Reliance, which announced the launch of JioMart with a gigantic 200 cities to start with. There have been consumer issues with JioMart, but all in all the service has proven to be nothing short of a game-changer. So much so, that established ecommerce players such as Flipkart, too did not anticipate such a rapid launch and hence later started their own hyperlocal delivery services.