COVID has left a lot of chaos in its wake, from crippling the global economy to leaving people helpless when it comes to getting delivery of essential goods & services during COVID.
During the lockdown, there was a lot of misinformation that made rounds and it led to a lot of confusion regarding the type of commodities that people could leave their homes for. This has also resulted in a lot of disruption when it came to the delivery of essential goods and services.
However, one thing that we can count on is that the lockdown pushed a lot of companies to step up their game and find innovative ways to ensure their people get deliveries of essential goods.
What is an Essential Commodity?
Before we delve any deeper into this topic, let’s take a look at what exactly is an essential commodity.
Under the Essential Commodities Act of 1955, an essential commodity is a product that is essential for the survival of human beings. These commodities can then be controlled by the government in terms of production, supply, distribution, trade & commerce, keeping in mind the demand of the general public.
What is included under essential commodities?
According to the government, the following things are included under essential commodities.
- Drugs as defined under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940
- hankyarn wholly made from cotton
- petroleum and petroleum products
- raw jute
- And types of seeds
In March 2020, in lieu of the COVID pandemic, the government also included masks, surgical masks and hand sanitizers under essential commodities.
Essential Items That You Can Ship
Grocery Items –
- Wheat flour
Medical Equipment –
- Blood Sugar Monitors
- Over-the-counter Medicines
- Prescription Drugs
Personal Protective Equipment –
- Face masks
Baby Products –
- Milk Formula
Personal Care –
- Face Wash
- Oral Hygiene Products
Pet Care Supplies –
- Pet Food (Dry and Canned)
- Hygiene Products
Books & Stationery Items –
- Educational books for students
Delivery of Essential Goods – Things to Keep in Mind
With the COVID scare, packaging and hygiene have become top priorities not only for customers but also for the shippers. Packaging can no longer take a back seat and instead has now become a cause for concern for a lot of shippers. Each package must be cleaned and sanitized before getting shipped to the customers.
When it comes to packaging, essential items can be split into two different categories – Perishable & Non-perishable.
These items come with a limited shelf life and they need to be packed accordingly. The shorter the shelf-life, the more secure packaging is required. You need to ensure that your packaging does not play a hand in helping the perishable item getting spoilt.
For non-perishable items, you need to ensure that packaging remains compact and also adheres to the government guidelines for shipping essential goods & service during Covid. Sanitization at every step is a must since your customers trust you to provide packaging that is untainted and clean.
When it comes to delivery, you need to ensure that your package arrives at your customer’s address safe and secure.
For perishable goods, you need to ensure that items are delivered as fresh and as early as possible. In the case of food items such as fruits and vegetables that have a very short shelf life, having a same-day or next-day delivery is very important. A customer expects their food items to be fresh and clean when they arrive and won’t wait 4 days for delivery.
When it comes to these, you can take a bit longer to deliver. As long as they don’t have a short life cycle, people will wait for their products. These items include things such as hand sanitizer, drugs, self-care items such as makeup, etc.
While people don’t mind waiting a couple of days for these types of items, ensure that the wait time doesn’t become too long or you might end up with customers who don’t return.
It is very important to ensure that your documentations regarding your services are in order.
Documents you need for delivery of essential goods and services during COVID:
- Company Authorized Letter
- Valid invoice
- Authorization letter from FSSAI (Optional)
- GST Compliance (Optional)
- Copy of Drug License (Optional)
- Name, Number, and Pickup Location
Companies that Stepped Up
There are a few companies that have embraced the pandemic and are doing everything they can to make it easier for people to get essential goods and services during COVID.
Here are a few examples of some companies:
While Swiggy is a way to get your food, getting grocery items when restaurants were shut was becoming exceptionally difficult. So, Swiggy launched a new service that was similar to Dunzo but with more resources.
Need groceries or other essential goods, Swiggy Genie could help. Simply add your address, select your location, choose products that you’d like delivered and you’re done. The product would reach you in a couple of hours.
JioMart / Amazon Pantry / BBDaily / FlipKart
A lot of companies that were already in the grocery space made their services more widely available. While Amazon Pantry was already active in a lot of metropolitan areas, their range was limited but with the lockdown, Amazon Pantry made their services more accessible and widely available.
Even Flipkart and Jio entered the grocery space by offering essential goods for delivery from their apps. BBDaily became the most commonly used app for getting milk and grocery items delivered directly to your building.
Local Grocery Stores / DMart
A lot of local grocery stores started offering delivery services to ensure their customers aren’t disappointed and are safe. Local kirana stores hired more delivery boys to keep themselves stable during their turbulent times.
Even DMart had started offering deliveries to their customers. Customers could directly place their orders on the app, after which they would be assigned a delivery time slot.
PharmaEasy / 1mg / NetMeds
In addition to grocery stores, medical companies such as PharmaEasy, 1mg, and NetMeds have also revamped their delivery services to take into consideration the inflow of more orders.
Delivery of Essential Goods Becomes Crucial
One trend that we’ve noticed is that delivery has become essential for companies to survive. Companies that originally profited from in-store sales, are now looking at going digital by building their own websites and apps to offer deliveries.
There has been significant growth in websites and more companies are now choosing to go digital with their services. As stores shift online, more people are now actively choosing delivery since it ensures that they don’t have to leave their homes and can instead get everything delivered to their doorstep.
This has resulted in delivery becoming extremely crucial to the sustainability and growth of the business.
How Dash101 Can Help During Delivery of Essential Goods?
Since delivery has become important for businesses, creating shipping strategies can help. And for a lot of businesses that are new to shipping, hiring a shipping aggregator can be beneficial in the long run.
This is where Dash101 can help! With features such as no minimum weight, lowest shipping rate at ₹23/500gms, bulk shipping, etc., Dash101 is not only the optimum shipping partner but also a great business partner.
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