‘Dark’ stores lead bright e-Commerce future

The growth of e-commerce and the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in a significant uptick in demand for online grocery delivery services. And with it comes the emergence of a new player changing the landscape of grocery shopping and retail commerce as we know it: Dark stores.

“Dark” stores are generally warehouses used to store products and items that will cater specifically to online grocery shopping. And leading this space in the Asia Pacific and the Philippines, in particular, is pandamart, powered by the online quick-commerce platform foodpanda.

According to foodpanda’s director of New Verticals, Karan Bhaskar, they are the pioneers of the dark store business model has been the first to introduce the concept in the Philippines.

“When we first brought pandamart to the Philippines in 2020, we changed the rules of e-grocery shopping in the country. Two years later, we continue to be a leader in the industry as the biggest online grocery shopping platform with more than 40 warehouses all over the country.”

A pioneer and leader in the e-grocery space

“What separates us and makes us unique is not just that we are the first and the biggest — we also have control over the entire ecosystem. We have our warehouses where we curate, store and pick inventory. In addition, the grocery platform is ours, and we are also the ones who do the delivery.”

“We are committed to bringing much-loved grocery products closer to our Filipino consumers and solidifying our position as the biggest grocery delivery service in the country. That’s why aside from major cities in the Metro, we have expanded the areas where our warehouses are located to include Baguio in Luzon and Cebu and Davao in VisMin.”

Karan also shared that having access throughout the end-to-end ecosystem has allowed them to deliver quickly and efficiently. “In pandamart, what the customers see on the app is the actual inventory because we have a real-time overview of the stock-keeping units in our warehouses.”

How does it work

Offering a one-stop shop for all food and essential needs, pandamart continues to dominate the grocery delivery scene with over 5,000+ daily essentials such as groceries, fresh produce, household items, beauty products and more, where you can have everything delivered in less than an hour after ordering.

Online shoppers can browse for items and products in the foodpanda app under the “pandamart” tab. Afterward, a designated person or what they call “pickers” will get the things you selected. The order will then be received by your assigned Ka-Panda rider and delivered to your doorstep in as fast as 25 minutes.

Karan also noted some exciting consumer buying behavior that they have noticed.

“Despite quick commerce being seen as mainly to fulfill consumers’ impulse needs like snacks, it’s interesting to see that there are orders like the ones you usually buy in physical retail stores such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and baby/child and pantry essentials, among others.”

Supporting and empowering businesses

foodpanda’s Director of New Verticals also shared that pandamart currently houses hundreds of brands ranging from big names in the industry to small and medium enterprises. Some of their partners include leading brands from Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Universal Robina Corporation. On the other hand, pandamart has also tapped into micro, small and medium enterprises.


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