Product Conversations with Bhavana A S – Product Manager at Bigbasket | Product Management Insights

In a recent webinar, Bhavana A S, Product Manager at BigBasket, shared insights into how the online grocery giant successfully managed the surge in demand during the COVID-19 crisis. As the world went into lockdown, people turned to online platforms for their essential needs, leading to a significant spike in demand for online grocery services. BigBasket, already a dominant player in the market, faced unprecedented challenges as it worked tirelessly to meet the needs of its customer base.

Challenges Faced During the Lockdown

When the lockdown was announced, BigBasket experienced a massive surge in search popularity for terms like “online grocery” and “BigBasket” on Google Trends. This indicated a rapid shift in consumer behavior towards online grocery shopping. As a result, the number of requests on the BigBasket app increased dramatically, causing the app to slow down. Additionally, due to operational constraints and confusion among local authorities, many orders had to be cancelled, resulting in customer dissatisfaction.

One of the main challenges BigBasket faced was the scarcity of delivery slots. With a significant percentage of their workforce leaving for their hometowns, the company had limited manpower to handle the increasing demand. This led to slots getting filled within minutes of opening, leaving many customers unable to place orders.

The Key Initiatives

To address these challenges, BigBasket’s various teams came together to implement a range of initiatives, leveraging the existing system and making minimal technical changes:

Product and Engineering Initiatives

  • Showed a “site down” message for new customers to focus on serving existing customers
  • Enabled bulk slot changes to avoid order cancellations
  • Implemented contactless delivery and communicated it effectively to customers
  • Optimized Cron jobs to enhance performance

Marketing Initiatives

  • Displayed the number of orders serviced daily to assure customers of the company’s capabilities
  • Extended the BB Star membership by one month for existing members
  • Encouraged customers to consolidate their orders and promoted BB Daily for apartment residents
  • Communicated operational updates and city-wise availability

Operations and Supply Chain Management Initiatives

  • Focused on delivering only essential products and ensured their availability
  • Introduced apartment delivery service to optimize operations
  • Hired additional staff and tied up with associations and companies for support

HR and Project Management Initiatives

  • Implemented safety measures in warehouses and for all employees
  • Enabled work from home for customer service team and procured laptops for smooth operations
  • Trained and onboarded 10,000 new employees to meet the surge in demand

The Results

Through these strategic initiatives, BigBasket was able to overcome the challenges posed by the surge in demand. By leveraging the existing system and optimizing operations, the company successfully delivered close to three lakh orders. The coordination of different teams, the dedication of the workforce, and the effective communication with customers played a crucial role in ensuring the company’s success during these unprecedented times.

BigBasket’s journey during the COVID-19 crisis showcases the importance of adaptability, collaboration, and innovation. By prioritizing customer needs and employing a multi-faceted approach, the company not only managed the surge in demand but also strengthened its position in the market as a reliable and customer-centric online grocery platform.

In summary, BigBasket’s journey during the COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of:

  • Adapting to changing consumer behavior
  • Cross-team collaboration
  • Optimizing existing systems
  • Effective communication with customers
  • Implementing safety measures for employees
  • Scaling operations to meet demand

BigBasket’s success story serves as an inspiration for other players in the industry and highlights the significant role that online grocery platforms play in times of crisis. Through their dedicated efforts, BigBasket not only met the needs of their customers but also contributed to ensuring the availability of essential groceries during challenging times.

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