Among the stories that will remain for the anecdote of these particular times will undoubtedly be how delivery services became ubiquitous. We are talking, of course, about a shopping experience circumscribed to that unfriendly territory that is the middle class in urban spaces, but seen from other perspectives it is also about a trade, a landscape and a multimillion dollar and transnational business that floods the world and from which Venezuela does not escape.
At this point, almost a year and a half after the start of the spread of the coronavirus, talking about the change in life associated with the new normal and excessive time at home is already commonplace.
It is true that teleworking, distance classes and entertainment via streaming have in a very short time upset almost all the practices of life in society; But just now we have reached that point where new customs and new paradigms are triggers for new actors, especially with regard to the market, and on the issue that brings us together today, that of new consumer experiences.
A clear example is the delivery applications, whose visible face are the dozens of motorized vehicles that we see every day furrow the streets and avenues of the city with huge bags of orders containing merchandise of any variety, at any time, and competing for loyalty. of a customer base that does not stop growing.
Let's delve a little into that universe that today is in apotheosis and ask ourselves how far the service reaches in Venezuela in 2021.
From home delivery to delivery: old friend with a new name. Although with that nickname in English it tries to show off its novelty and certain sophistication, delivery is not a new experience in Venezuela, nor is it in the rest of the world. If we stick to the national level and go not so far into the twentieth century, home delivery of wineries and small stores in neighborhoods and urbanizations is and was a common practice, as were dairymen, laundries and even Chinese food.
Closer on the timeline, those of us today from the millennial generation can clearly remember the first experiences that arrived in Venezuela with food delivery under the modality of motorists in uniform, in the 90s with the help of North American franchises.
“Ordering a pizza” became a contemporary tradition inherited from the American express consumer culture and the national references are wide and long-standing with chains such as Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's, later spreading to national pizzerias that began to be marketed. offering that same facility.
And although in other parts of the world of the pizza industry the method evolved to develop a robust culture of delivery, in Venezuela it was not until the arrival of quarantine in 2020 when it made a striking leap, diversifying into new areas, first with shops traditional offering to bring their products to the door of the house thanks to a fleet and their own staff, and then with the arrival of startups that have turned delivery into a business in itself.
Ready-to-serve food is their flagship product, however it is not the only thing on offer. As for the radius of action of these companies, it is limited to areas of the city with easy access and strategically its application does not serve popular areas.
A multi-million dollar business If we see it from the Caracas perspective, to date several companies dispute the preference of the public. Two that stand out are Yummy and OrdersYa, the first of national origin but with perspectives abroad, and the second an international emporium. Others are Liveri, Ubii Go and Detodito app. There are no figures on its use and penetration in the national market, but it is enough to look out over a main avenue of the city and it will not be many minutes before one of its motorized vehicles passes in front of us, data more eloquent than any figure.
Yummy was born in Venezuela in the middle of last year to meet a growing demand associated with quarantine. It currently has more than 160 commercial partners in the categories of restaurants, supermarkets, still life and pharmacy, and a fleet of more than 200 delivery people. Last October it announced its merger with Hugo, a delivery super app from Central America and the Caribbean.
Pedidos Ya, for its part, is also known for delivering ready-to-serve food, as well as liquors, although they are not its only items; their menu shows pharmacies, supermarkets, pet products and even boutiques. The company was born in Uruguay and today it is owned by the German giant Delivery Hero, a conglomerate thanks to which the brand recently absorbed the Glovo service throughout Latin America after a transaction that amounted to 273 million dollars.
This second company arrived in Venezuela in November announcing its partnership with more than one hundred businesses and the same number of distributors, and since then it has only grown and included more cities.
These two delivery apps compete with sometimes ridiculously cheap offers (you can get a breakfast of two empanadas and a malt for $ 0.99 at no delivery cost), truly amazing delivery times (20 minutes, from my own experience), coupons for discounts (almost always on the first purchase and then on specific purchases or overcoming challenges), promotions, increasingly intuitive technologies, more services to streamline the shopping experience and bold promotional campaigns on social, conventional and unconventional networks.
Pedidos Ya, for example, has its Delivery Dancer in Venezuela, which has an audience of more than 300 thousand people on TikTok, who watch its videos of quirky dances at the same time it makes deliveries. It is unofficial advertising, and therefore much more effective.
The distribution of these applications, geolocated and intelligent, becomes a whole experience for the user, but, just as Netflix and its peers are in the process of totally modifying the paradigms for the enjoyment of cinema and television, delivery services propose The same dilemma for the gastronomic sector, since they are forced to reinvent their processes, adapt their food and put aside long-standing procedures.
Legislation in Venezuela. Another look at this phenomenon is the one that has to do with the legal framework. Throughout the world the "riders" or delivery men who work for these companies have been organizing to demand improvements in their labor rights, since most of the apps do not consider them as employees but as "entrepreneurs", "partners" or "collaborators ”That come together to generate income on their own.
In Spain, for example, a law is currently being discussed to determine whether or not the delivery men are what they qualify as “self-employed workers” and how far the responsibility of the company goes in matters such as workplace accidents as well as the issue of monitoring minute by minute. To be represented in the discussions as a union, the distributors have merged into the Professional Association of Autonomous Riders and the group distribuidoresunidos.org.
A legislative initiative oriented to this economic sector is also under way within the Venezuelan Parliament. It was reported last March by the president of the Permanent Commission of Administration and Services of the AN, Willian Gil, who detailed that the regulations seek social protection and labor rights for the delivery men who are mostly outsourced workers, a figure that is prohibited in Venezuelan law.
So that the law in the making would not only be involved with what is related to the employment situation but also the economic relationship, because until now the way of receiving money from the distributors is not uniform, it is diffuse and it keeps them at a disadvantage. Still, it is undeniable that work has become the resolve of many.
The work as a delivery person in a delivery service is an emblematic example of the work facing the IV industrial revolution with full digitalization, and that is why there are many legislative and social initiatives that are being raised in different parts of the world to promote a relationship commercial clearer.
Receiving groceries at home is a habit that seems to have taken hold and may not go away once the pandemic crisis does. In Venezuela, the business seems to adapt without problem to the reinvention of commercial life and the peculiarities of our economy, and the public that uses it celebrates the competition because it allows them to enjoy better promotions. And just as we witness its emergence on the street, we will also find out about its evolution on the street.