What is Quick Commerce: All You Need to Know

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Quick commerce is about delivering an order within one hour of its placement. It is the next-step evolution of eCommerce that is all about speed and convenience.
  • The benefits of quick commerce are unparalleled speed, unmatched customer experience, good profit margins, greater reliability, and eco-friendliness.
  • Autonomous deliveries, Internet of Things (IoT), instant gratification, and infrastructure adaptations are the future quick commerce trends you can expect in the future.

In today’s business era, speed and convenience are pivotal to a great delivery experience. Be it grocery items, essential medications, or takeaway food, digital natives want it all delivered to their doorstep at the drop of a hat!

This anticipated growth can be attributed to factors including busy professionals’ fast-paced lives, work-from-home lifestyles, and small households. 

It is where quick commerce (q commerce) comes into play. As it emphasizes super-speedy deliveries of ordered items, it has gained impetus of late, especially in the post-COVID era.

The global quick commerce market size is projected to reach $11.67 bn by 2032. This anticipated growth can be attributed to factors including busy professionals’ fast-paced lives, work-from-home lifestyles, and small households.

This blog elaborates on the concept of Q commerce and how it differs from conventional eCommerce. It also explains the steps to create your QCommerce store, strategies to make it successful, and future trends to expect in this industry.

What is Quick Commerce?

Quick Commerce (Q Commerce) is a business model focused on delivering goods within an hour once a customer places an order. Sometimes referred to as “on-demand delivery’, it is ideal for super-fast delivery of smaller quantities of goods such as groceries, medications, or meal items. 

Q Commerce vs E-Commerce

Feature Quick Commerce E-Commerce
Delivery Time 15 minutes to 1 hour Minimum 1 day to 7 days or more
Warehousing Leverages dark stores model or micro fulfillment centers Leverages traditional large warehouses outside a city
Range of Items Curated ranging from 2000 to 4000 SKUs Can be up to 15000 SKUs or more
Mode of delivery Mostly two-wheeled and electric vehicles Large vehicles, including trucks, trains, or planes

From product fit to the delivery speed and warehousing, quick commerce and traditional e-commerce are worlds apart. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the differences between the two models.

1. Delivery time

eCommerce businesses have stores that deliver orders in 3 to 5 days. Even the expedited delivery takes 1-2 days to take place. 

Contrarily, q commerce providers leverage dark stores and micro fulfillment centers to achieve quicker delivery. The delivery time frame ranges from as little as 15 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Warehousing

Conventional eCommerce businesses often have large traditional warehouses located on a city’s outskirts to minimize operating costs. 

On the contrary, QCommerce companies leverage micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) located in close proximity to densely populated areas. 

3. Types of goods stored 

Traditional eCommerce retailers may store 15000 stock keeping units (SKUs) or more that comprise both fast and slow-moving items. 

By contrast, Q commerce businesses depend on micro fulfillment centers and dark stores and hence, have only a limited capacity of 2000 to 4000 SKUs. So, they curate items and generally keep only the fast-moving ones, i.e., with quicker turnaround times.

4. Mode of delivery 

Traditional e-commerce relies on larger delivery vehicles for transportation, including trains, trucks, cars, or even planes.  

Quick commerce businesses, on the other hand, often deploy two-wheeled vehicles like scooters and e-bikes for delivery. In some cases, like in congested neighborhoods or vehicle-restricted zones, quick commerce couriers employ on-foot staff to deliver orders. 

With these fundamental differences between Quick Commerce and traditional eCommerce in mind, let’s delve into the advantages that Quick Commerce has to offer.

6 Benefits of Quick Commerce

Ultra-fast delivery is undoubtedly one of the most straightforward benefits of quick commerce. However, it is beneficial in several other ways, as follows.

1. Competitive advantage over traditional eCommerce/brick and mortar stores

A Q commerce company can deliver goods in a matter of minutes. It, thus, becomes a unique value proposition that brick-and-mortar retailers or online marketplaces find hard to compete with. 

Another area where quick commerce has an edge is round-the-clock availability. Unlike a conventional retail outlet or a traditional e-commerce site, a QCommerce business is not limited to specific daily opening hours. 

2. Unparalleled convenience and customer experience

Quick commerce provides customers with the convenience of shopping and getting an item delivered while at home. It saves them the hassle of going out to find stores, searching for requisite products, and queuing for billing. 

It is even more useful when they seek an immediate delivery of products like food ingredients or groceries. 

3. Higher profit margins

In today’s era, customers prefer convenience. 

Deloitte’s survey reveals that over 50% of customers are ready to pay more for convenience to shop what they need. 

These customers are often wealthier and value ease of shopping over offline offers or discounts. 

Further, Q commerce is suitable for a small range of products. So, retailers can focus on marketing and selling only those items that sell the most and gain higher profit margins. 

4. Greater reliability 

Quick Commerce businesses manage regional dark stores and micro fulfillment centers strategically, facilitating expedited order processing and last-mile delivery. Moreover, they leverage technologies like AI to prevent stockouts and ensure guaranteed availability of in-demand products.

It helps them commit to delivering essential items promptly. Moreover, this emphasis on guaranteed on-demand fulfillment of orders in the shortest delivery time frames contributes to trust-building and higher customer satisfaction levels. 

5. Sustainability

McKinsey’s survey reveals

Products making Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) – related claims averaged 28 percent cumulative growth over the past five-year period versus 20 percent for products that made no such claims.

It clearly shows that sustainability has come to the fore worldwide. Mostly dependent on e-bikes and scooters for deliveries, Q Commerce businesses can pave the way to reduced carbon footprint greenhouse gas emissions. 

Additionally, delivering goods locally doesn’t necessitate additional security. It, thus, minimizes the need for heavy external packaging and waste resulting from it, making it an eco-friendly service.

6. Market expansion and revenue streams

Q commerce opens the door to market expansion and new revenue streams, especially for offline startups or businesses looking to venture into online retail. As the demand for quicker deliveries is sky-high, offline stores can tap into quick commerce to build their online presence and reach new customers.

Now that we’ve understood the benefits of Quick Commerce let’s delve into the business model of a QCommerce store.

Quick Commerce Business Model

Hyperlocalization forms the cornerstone of a quick commerce business model that aims to make deliveries fast and efficient. Here are the steps to understand how a Q-commerce business operates.

1. Order creation

A quick commerce company captures and manages each incoming order via an Order Management System (OMS). Once a customer places an order, the merchant, delivery partner, and warehouse/dark store management system receive the alert. 

Planning and optimizing the tasks for delivery fulfillment to reinforce compliance with the service level agreement follows next. The retail partner(s) or dark store manager starts preparing an order for shipment. The creation or preparation of the order marks this first step complete.

2. Parcel collection  

A delivery company collects the package from retail partner(s) and handles delivery operations as per the agreed-upon terms. 

It distributes orders to delivery executives based on criteria, including location, vehicle type, availability, or traffic to optimize operations.  

3. Delivery ride initiation and real-time tracking

After getting deliveries assigned, drivers set out on the routes optimized to complete them. Both the store manager and customer can track the driver’s movement in real time and any deviations from the preassigned route. 

They can also view the driver’s name, contact number, or order-specific information for a holistic customer experience and transparency.

4. Proof of Delivery (POD)

After delivering an order, the rider marks it ‘Complete’ and moves to the next destination. The delivery management system shares a unique one-time password (OTP) with the customer to ensure every delivery is complete instead of any fake attempts. 

Once the driver enters this OTP, the delivery is marked ‘Complete.’ Certain deliveries may also require additional proof, such as the customer’s signature or photo as proof of delivery.

Now that we’ve explored how a Q-commerce business operates let’s move toward setting up a Q-commerce business.

3 Steps to Set Up a Q-Commerce Business

Building a Q-commerce business requires a judicious mix of strategy, technology, and regional customer demand analysis. 

Below are the steps to establish a quick commerce business.

1. Create a regional hub

To deliver products fast, staying as close as possible to your customers is vital. So, start looking for a site to set up a local warehouse/dark store in proximity to your target city or town.

You can hire drivers or partner with local third-party delivery services based on your budget and the area to cover. If required, you can use a combination of in-house delivery crew and third-party shipping partners’ services for reliable operations.

2. Curate your product catalog carefully

Quick commerce has become a popular choice among Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. You can also research your target area’s demographics to monitor demand trends and stock items based on that.

For instance, people prefer quick grocery delivery instead of ordering and waiting for days. You can also consider packaged foods/drinks, sanitary products, bakery items, and household goods.

3. Create your store site, app, and pages

Most Q commerce businesses have their site and mobile app to receive orders and execute deliveries. So, creating a desktop website and mobile app for your store is a must.

Following that, you should ensure your store pages are basic in design and have pictures of the product, relevant information, and pricing details. Your site’s search functionality should also work well so that your store’s visitors can quickly find and order the requisite items. All of this contributes to the ultimate customer experience. 

6 Strategies to Make Your Q Commerce Business a Success

Optimization, technology, and personalization form the building blocks of a successful quick commerce business. 

Following are the practices you can follow to take your business to the next level.

1. Optimize your last-mile delivery operations

Streamlining last-mile delivery operations is crucial for quick commerce businesses. So, you should consider embedding advanced route management software. It will help weigh in factors like traffic, delivery destinations, and vehicle type to determine optimal routes accordingly. 

Another vital aspect is integrating real-time tracking. It facilitates tracking deliveries for both you and your customers. It also helps inform your customers with live notifications regarding the Estimated Times of Arrival (ETAs) and builds trust, elevating their overall experience.

For example, Getir, a Turkish quick commerce company, utilizes sophisticated routing algorithms to optimize delivery routes in real time. This ensures that customers receive orders promptly, leading to higher satisfaction and repeat business.

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2. Use advanced analytics for real-time inventory management

Data analytics forms the cornerstone of efficient inventory management. It helps process sales data, identify patterns and trends, and forecast demand based on seasonality, market shifts, or customer behavior. It helps you figure out what your customers will demand even before they order it. 

When you monitor demand patterns, you also help avoid ordering a quantity of products beyond what you need. This is specifically valuable for businesses, grocery stores, or meal delivery apps and helps prevent food waste. Hence, you can implement smart inventory management software to track your inventory levels on the go and avoid under/overstocking situations.

3. Make your delivery platforms user-friendly

A user-friendly online shopping experience is essential for retaining customers. Instacart, a grocery delivery service, offers a seamless mobile app that allows users to browse the catalog, select items, and place orders easily. The app also offers personalized recommendations based on previous purchases, enhancing the shopping experience.

4. Embrace environment-friendly practices

Customers are increasingly demanding sustainability when making an online purchase. So, you need to adopt eco-friendly shipping tips for your QCommerce company. As customers know the repercussions of packaging waste, you can use biodegradable or recyclable material to demonstrate your commitment to environmental-friendliness. 

Another aspect to focus on is the mode of delivery. Adding electric delivery vehicles to your fleet can help reduce carbon emissions. For instance, Gorillas, a European quick commerce provider, uses electric bikes for deliveries in some cities, reducing carbon emissions. They also use reusable packaging to minimize waste, resonating with eco-conscious customers. 

5. Stay agile and responsive 

Staying agile and responsive is indispensable for e-commerce companies to remain competitive and relevant. To improve your customer experience, you should embrace innovations like AI-driven chatbots, drone deliveries, or augmented reality. You can also closely monitor your competitors to learn about their offerings, prices, and strategies. 

Many e-commerce companies, like Gorillas and Getir, operate in multiple countries. You can also determine whether the demand for your products is beyond domestic boundaries and create a strategy for expansion. Using these insights to determine the scope for improvement can help refine your e-commerce model. 

6. Create stronger supplier and partnership networks

Stronger supplier and partnership networks are key to Q Commerce’s success. Therefore, it is important to establish strong relations with your local vendors. It can help you restock your inventory faster and reduce the risk of stock-outs, especially during seasonal demand peaks. 

DoorDash, a well-known food delivery and quick commerce platform, collaborates with restaurants to expand its offerings. This partnership benefits both DoorDash and its restaurant partners as they gain access to a broader customer base and convenient delivery solutions.

7 Future Trends to Expect in Quick Commerce

Quick commerce marks just the beginning of an era in which digital natives will seek lightning-fast deliveries. While it has already come a long way since its inception, Q commerce has yet to witness trends that can reshape it further. 

1. Drone and autonomous delivery

Integrating drone technology and autonomous vehicles can enable speedier deliveries and revolutionize quick commerce. Companies may turn to investing in these technologies to improve delivery times further.

2. Integration with the Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT devices at home can play a role in quick commerce. For instance, smart refrigerators can automatically detect when certain groceries are running low. They can then order replenishment and seamlessly integrate into the quick commerce ecosystem.

3. Seamless mobile and app experiences 

Refinements in mobile technology and user interfaces could lead to seamless and user-friendly quick commerce apps. It may include advanced features like augmented reality for virtual product try-ons. 

4. Convergence with brick-and-mortar stores

Quick commerce companies might explore partnerships or collaborations with brick-and-mortar retailers. It may help them leverage the infrastructure of a conventional retail outlet for order fulfillment and provide costumes with more options and convenience. 

5. Regulatory considerations

As quick commerce grows, regulatory frameworks may evolve to address challenges, including worker rights, data privacy, and competition. Q commerce companies may need to adapt to these changing regulations. 

6. Increased focus on data security

With collecting large amounts of customer data, q commerce companies will emphasize a heightened focus on data security and privacy measures. It will be paramount to build and maintain customer trust.

7. Infrastructure changes

Local governments may look to planning and building adequate infrastructure to match the boom in the volume of goods ordered through Quick Commerce. They may plan to restrict the entry of delivery vehicles into high-congestion zones and divert their paths. They may also consider building sideways or routes for quick commerce delivery vehicles in high-demand areas.

FAQs

Swift delivery, competitive USP, high customer satisfaction, and increased profit margins are the key benefits of a Q-commerce business.

Advanced inventory management software, Internet of Things, and route optimization software like Upper are some of the advanced technologies and software solutions to manage a q-commerce business efficiently.

Delivery Hero, Getir, Gopuff, Deliveroo, Gorillas, and DoorDash are some popular names in the quick commerce space.

Common qcommerce challenges encompass supply chain optimization, financial strain, heavy tech infrastructure investment, ever-changing customer expectations, cut-throat competition, regulatory navigation, quality assurance, return management, and data security.

Industries like grocery/food delivery, pharmaceuticals, fashion & apparel, home & office supplies, and floral & gifts can benefit from Q commerce more than e-commerce.

Seal Your Q Commerce Business Success with Efficient Logistics

Q-Commerce is the way forward for e-commerce and conventional outlet retailers. So, the need of the hour is to adopt this emerging business model and maintain a competitive edge in the modern-day business landscape.

How effectively you optimize your routes for eCommerce deliveries is one critical aspect that determines the success of your QCommerce business. Therefore, it is imperative that you implement next-gen route optimization software that lets you plan and optimize routes to maximize delivery efficiency.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.