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The 10 Minutes (Unplanned) Grocery Delivery seems inevitable but not for everyone

I am perhaps writing the last long-form public article of 2021. After reading so much on Twitter, and LinkedIn about 10 Minutes delivery, I thought of creating a picture and this is the result. :)


For the past few months, the 10 minutes delivery seems to be the talk of the town. After all, the 10 minutes delivery seems super amusing. Starting with fact, the founders working on the 10 minutes delivery deserve praise - after all, they have come up with new processes that can amuse customers. (clap) (clap)


Recently, I have completed a book - Competing Against Luck - and the authors have tried to explain the customer's purchase decision based on the jobs theory.

According to jobs theory, the decision of hiring a product by customers largely depends on the progress that the customer is trying to make in specific circumstances. I applied jobs theory on 10 minutes grocery delivery - and realised, it does make sense for a customer segment that is trying to make progress in specific circumstances. I have added a few circumstances below.

Now to understand this, I have divided the grocery purchase into two parts

  1. Planned/monthly Groceries

  2. Unplanned/instant groceries

I think customers might not purchase planned/monthly groceries through 10 minutes delivery. But for unplanned groceries - 10 minutes delivery app will be their first choice.

Here are a few circumstances at which customers are trying to make progress that can be completed through 10 minutes delivery.

  1. Purchasing missing items at the time of cooking.

  2. Purchase of forgotten items from the list of planned groceries.

  3. Satisfying all kinds of procrastination: Carving ice cream, chocolate etc. at 11:30 PM

I am sure you can think of many such circumstances.

The circumstances of the customer’s struggle - missing groceries items at cooking are real. In the absence of 10 minutes grocery delivery, customers were making this progress either running to a local Kirana or waiting/postponing that activity. Thanks to 10 minutes delivery - now customers can complete that progress.


And hence customers will hire 10 minutes delivery services. And I think we might be willing to pay for the delivery charges in the future. I had never thought - I will pay for food delivery, I do.

10 minutes grocery delivery companies have two advantages

  1. Grocery is a super-high frequency purchase category - Unplanned grocery is an ultra-high-frequency purchase category.

  2. It is a large market - an $850 billion market.

Just by understanding the progress a customer is trying to make in a specific circumstance you can build a large company.

So, the debate of whether 10 minutes delivery is necessary or not? Whether customers care or not etc are irrelevant.

The 10 minutes grocery delivery is a real threat for incumbents. I am not seeing any friction for customers to adapt both unplanned and planned grocery purchases through the same platform in the future.

I am sure the company will have many ideas. I can think of a few right now.

  1. Monthly Subscription - subscribe to 10 minutes delivery service for a month, three months, six months, a year and receive unlimited 10 minutes of free delivery.

  2. The 10 minutes delivery as a value addition - on planned grocery purchase.

The companies shall figure out the monetization model after achieving a critical mass.

But what we need to understand is that - the 10 minutes delivery is not for everyone. Take an example of ZILA's target customers - non-metro.


If a ZILA's target customer is missing an item while cooking, they usually borrow that from neighbours in under 10 minutes - I have seen this. The circumstances of the customer’s struggle - missing groceries items at cooking are real but that is being satisfied through borrowing. Therefore 10 minutes delivery will not solve any problem for non-metro consumers.


And hence there is no point in debating 10 minutes grocery delivery or any other product and services based, only, on functional attributes. We must consider social and emotional attributes as well.


Based on functional attributes a 10 minutes grocery delivery is similar to any other grocery delivery startup. As soon as you add social and emotional attributes - you can understand the real differentiation.


Publised on 12-16-2021

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