Can the Blinkit protests bring a downfall for the company?


Since almost a month now, Blinkit’s delivery partners have taken to rigorous protests across Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, over a changed payout structure which, the delivery partners claim, will reduce their earnings. As per fresh updates on the case, around 1000 delivery partners, as a part of their protests, have joined the company’s rivals like Swiggy Instamart, Zepto and Big Basket.

BigBasket (Tata), Zepto (Nexus Venture Partners), and Instamart (Swiggy), have experienced a 25% to 50% increase in orders in the Delhi NCR due to the strike. The three quick-commerce platforms have witnessed a surge in daily orders ranging from 25% to 50%.

The protests also resulted in the Blinkit’s dark stores being shut down for a few days, however, even though the quick commerce service provider is trying to resume operations, multiple dark stores in Delhi and Gurgaon remain unavailable to customers because of lack of sufficient delivery executives. Blinkit has around 200 of these warehouses in Delhi-NCR, from where it delivers goods to customers within a 2-3 km radius of each store.

“Blinkit had close to 3,000 delivery executives in Delhi-NCR on its platform prior to the strike. Around one-third of them have joined other platforms after a week of protesting,” a person aware of the development said.

Mohammed Zakir, an East Delhi-based delivery executive who was protesting against Blinkit’s change of payout structure, said he has started working with Zepto. “Some of our fellow workers who were protesting started delivering orders, and we could only be out of work for so many days. I have parents and siblings to take care of at home, who depend on my daily wage. We really hoped the company would go back on the old rate card,” he said.

With the recent updates in place, it seems that Blinkit might be treading a rough terrain. Though there have been reports of the company having hired new recruits last week, the current payout policy might result in people refraining from joining the company. Plus, with many dark stores shutting down across its major customer base in and around Delhi, Blinkit is also losing out to its competitors in terms of business, If its competitors’ payout policies are better than Blinkit, there is a possibility that its employees may prefer to switch over, resulting in a major setback for the company.

BigBasket’s quick commerce vertical, post the Blinkit protests, experienced a 46% surge in daily orders in Delhi and 61% surge in Gurugram & Noida last week. According to Hari Menon, the CEO of BigBasket, “Normally, we would have grown by 18% in the same period.”

Similarly, sources tell that Zepto has experienced a 40% surge in orders, and has recruited more than 500 delivery personnel in Delhi-NCR to meet the increased demand. On the other hand, Swiggy Instamart’s daily orders have also increased by over 25%.

Though it may not be too much, but in addition to the loss of reputation and revenue, Blinkit might also find itself dealing with decreased productivity in existing employees. It can be assumed that the remaining employees may need to take on additional responsibilities to cover the workload. This could lead to burnout and reduced quality of work.

Looking deeper at the human resource aspect of it, there is also the possibility of loss of institutional knowledge. It is evident that when experienced employees leave, they take with them their institutional knowledge, which is valuable for maintaining operational efficiency and competitiveness. Blinkit could struggle to maintain its level of expertise in its industry as employees shift base to its competitors.

For Blinkit to mitigate the impact of the ongoing protests, there needs to be a re-evaluation of its payout and other human resource policies. It may also need to reassess its business practices, and invest in new marketing and sales strategies to attract new customers.

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