Dunzo wants to take the fight to Amazon

He’s also joined at the hip with his iPhone and WhatsApp. On WhatsApp, he’s part of dozens of group conversations and hundreds of individual ones, and yet his average response time when you ping him is usually a minute or two.

But Biswas has also managed to grow Dunzo from a “cute” app for Bengaluru hipsters to a guerilla challenger to the logistics ambitions of much, much larger competitors like Swiggy and Zomato. (Dunzo’s 1 million monthly transactions versus Swiggy’s and Zomato’s 17-18 million.)

The plucky founder wants Dunzo to become an invisible delivery layer for Indian cities, using which users can transact with any local business and have products delivered in about an hour or less.

In part 1 of The Ken’s wide-ranging and deep interview with him, we covered how Dunzo wants to be the Go-Jek of India and the Amazon Dash of the physical world. Among other things.

Part 2, however, is longer, and even more interesting.

Reimagining commerce and fighting Amazon

Biswas: Our vision statement is this: we want to make cities more efficient and make local commerce a lot more convenient. Because of Dunzo, I think those are two things that you clearly end up experiencing in cities where Dunzo exists and in cities where it doesn’t. You can feel this plainly when you go to a city like Delhi. I have this small example of a pollution mask that I wanted in the evening after landing there.

It took me two hours, but I couldn’t find it. In Bengaluru, if I wanted it, I could have raised our transaction at the airport, and it would’ve been home by the time I reached. It’s the nature of making cities better. And the way we want to do it is by being the dominant logistics layer in the city.

Biswas: For me, Amazon is competition. I don’t think of Swiggy as a competition. We’ll take Amazon on.

Because the structure of e-commerce in this country is entirely broken. Why is stuff coming from fulfillment centers? If I just tell the merchant down the street that somebody is selling this product on Amazon for Rs 250 ($3.54) and you’re selling it for Rs 310 ($4.39), can you price match, he will?

The Ken: So, that’s Walmart’s “Everyday Low Prices” democratized?

Biswas: We’ve tested it! The guy’s willing to price match you in a heartbeat. Because he gets the sale instantly.

The Ken: You’re reordering the underlying assumptions around how e-commerce is supposed to work…

Biswas: Yes! So the long tail I get, in terms of, say, clothing, or you want some funny little footstool, crafts. Those should exist.

Standardized consumers

But when it comes down to standardized consumers in the real world, there is somebody in a 4 km radius around you who can price match it for you.

The Ken: And deliver it instantly?

Biswas: And deliver it instantly, because of a layer that comes on top.

The Ken: You’re placing a contra bet on local commerce.

Biswas: Yes, we are placing a bet on local commerce.

The Ken: But people had written off local commerce.

Biswas: That’s bullshit. We’ve spent, what, $3-4 billion on moving commerce online? Yet, 95% of spends still continues to be local commerce.

Biswas: It doesn’t change. It’s the nature of the world. It hasn’t changed in the US, where it’s still 80:20, even after the dominance of Amazon. It’s just that in the real world, you have to solve for all the three things—a little bit of the search problem, the payment problem, and the logistics problem. You can’t just solve for one.

I think it’s an opportunity to be able to build a mega business. We do think there will be a couple of platforms that do this in India. One thing I’ve realized is that, in India, one person never does everything. There will always be two.

 

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