ASIA – The Indian online grocery delivery service, Grofers is partnering with local entrepreneurs to help with last mile delivery with an aim to roll out over 2,000 local businesses and store owners under the programme by the end of the year.

According to ET Retail, this will be followed by expansion of the services to all its 13 operational markets and is expected to deliver half of its overall order volumes.

Grofers has already signed up over 600 delivery partners in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata under its ‘Grofers Service Partners’ Programme (GSP).

“The programme, which includes collaboration with local entrepreneurs, who are well versed with the neighbourhood, will help the brand create a supreme delivery experience for consumers with better efficiency and scalability in last leg of the delivery,” said the company in a statement.

Speaking on the matter, Yeshu Bansal, VP Operations at Grofers said: “At present, 16% of daily orders are being delivered by Grofers Service Partners and we are planning to increase it to 50% of our overall orders by 2018 end.”

In addition to creating extra income opportunities for small business owners, the programme is expected to reach more customers while meeting their needs.

Grofers’ average daily order volumes were over 35,000 in June and for this fiscal year, revenue is expected to reach US$347.72 million.

Online grocery segment is projected to witness a strong growth over the next few years in India and the total grocery market is pegged at US$400 billion.

It is set to battle e-commerce giants like Walmart-backed Flipkart and Amazon India who are strengthening muscles against existing players like Grofers and BigBasket.

Grofers is focusing on strong addition of new customers along with increasing cart sizes of existing users.

It raised US$62 million in funding led by SoftBank, Tiger Global and Apoletto Asia in March, to bring its total funding to US$226.5 million till now.