Glovo is one of the globally leading delivery services and actively uses all the possibilities of modern technology for better organization of work and fast delivery. The Spanish company is headquartered in Barcelona and has branches in 25 countries all over the world. The company has more than 25,000 associated partners and over 240,000 couriers. The company's capitalization is now estimated at more than EUR 2 billion.
Nine months ago, Glovo entered the Armenian market and became one of the most popular delivery services.
Oleg Goroshchak, the General Manager of Glovo in Armenia, told NEWS.am what kind of orders, including odd and unusual ones, Glovo receives in Armenia, how special algorithms help speed up the delivery of orders, how the company plans to expand, and much more.
Fast food and event tickets: what do people usually order through Glovo?
Via Glovo, you can order almost anything you want, from perfume and pet products to appliances, household goods, and food. But in Armenia, people most often order ready-made meals from restaurants and fast food outlets: the most popular items among Armenian users of the platform are french fries, burgers, cheese sauces, and sweet sodas.
Interestingly,not every country offers the same range of services as Glovo, because the laws are different everywhere and what is considered a norm in one country may be prohibited by law in another.
Oleg Goroshchak noted that in Armenia, for example, Glovo might not deliver drugs from the pharmacies, as a special license is required. Other countries have restrictions on the delivery of alcohol or tobacco products or any other goods. In each country, Glovo organizes its work according to the law of the country, existing restrictions, and other specifics.
"Somewhere, business logic can suggest seemingly surprising services. For example, cash delivery was very popular in Latin American countries," said Oleg Goroshchak.
According to him, in Armenia, the demand for ticket delivery for various events has recently increased, and the company responded to this demand immediately.
"We organized fast ticket delivery for events and are investing in this direction because we see an opportunity here, we see that we can offer clients something that can simplify their lives," Goroshchak noted.
Cheese sauce and lighter: strange Glovo orders in Armenia
Sometimes Glovo employees get more unusual and interesting orders than the usual dishes from restaurants or coffee shops. For example, a recent order was one cheese sauce and one lighter.
Another customer once ordered thread and needles for a sewing machine and specified exactly what he needed and where he could get them. Glovo also has this option: the customer can even order items that are not available from the service partners.
Another customer asked for items from the dry cleaner to be picked up and delivered to him.
Interesting orders do come in from time to time, he noted.
As for the delivery orders for something illegal, they just don't go through, special algorithms in the app check all the orders before the service accepts and processes them.
Technology on the guard of customers' and couriers' time
Technology is actively penetrating all areas of business today. And without it, it is simply impossible to imagine a fast delivery organization nowadays– as well as many other services.
"Building a company that operates in 25 countries and on a scale as large as Glovo's would be impossible without a high level of technology. Technology is an important part of what we do and helps us grow faster, many times faster. That is why investment in technology remains an important aspect of our business," said Oleg Goroshchak.
According to him, Glovo uses a huge variety of algorithms that increase the efficiency of the service. This includes algorithms for order distribution (which is constantly being improved so that orders can be delivered faster and faster), algorithms for the organization of work in the so-called "dark stores", financial algorithms to improve user experience, and many others.
Oleg noted that if it were up to a human to distribute the orders, it would take much more time and require many employees, because there are also many orders. That is why since the very beginning, the specialists were tasked with developing an algorithm that would most effectively handle the allocation of orders.
"Our algorithm constantly collects and analyzes information about the number of orders placed, the number of active couriers, where they are, and how quickly our partners can issue orders to couriers. The algorithm also takes into account the state of the roads and means of transportation of couriers. If the customer is far away, it is not a good idea to send a bike courier, so a motorcycle or car courier will be assigned to the order. If the order is large and heavy, it is best handled by an auto-courier. The algorithm builds the most efficient routes for couriers so that they can deliver as many orders as possible in the minimum amount of time. This helps save time and couriersthemselves, and, of course, customers."
According to him, the active use of modern technologies and efficient algorithms in Glovo has only one goal – to make the service more efficient and save as much time as possible.
"We put a lot of effort into making sure that as many requests as possible are handled automatically because for these requests –if we're talking about simple queries–you don't need human involvement. It takes some time for a human to respond to a request, much longer than if the request is processed automatically, in which case a customer, courier, or partner can get a response in just a few seconds. We are also constantly working to improve our existing algorithms because it is a never-ending game. How do you add another 1/10th of efficiency? We play this game every week, every day. We even joke that we measure delivery time in seconds, not minutes. For us, every second counts."
Dark stores: stores without customers
In some countries, Glovo has launched so-called "dark stores" which are stores without customers, where couriers collect orders. The company already has about 140 such stores around the world, and they have some advantages over regular supermarkets, said Glovo's manager in Armenia.
Since the company knows what kinds of goods are in demand among its clients, it can flexibly manage the assortment in its warehouses. In addition, goods in the warehouse are arranged in such a way as to simplify and speed up the assembly of orders as much as possible. It takes much longer for a courier to find and buy a list of items in a regular supermarket than in a "dark store."
The location of warehouse stores is also not random: to understand in which areas they should be located to most effectively meet the demand for products, experts use special algorithms to analyze order data.
Thanks to such warehouses, Glovo has already introduced the concept of delivery in less than 10 minutes in some countries.
Glovo has not introduced the concept in Armenia yet, but according to Oleg Goroshchak, they may do so in the future.
Courier earns more than the client pays for delivery
To organize a good delivery service it is not enough to have cool algorithms, you also need couriers who will carry out these deliveries.
Now Glovo has more than 200 active couriers in Armenia and the interest in this activity grows as the demand for deliveries grows. And globally, as noted above, the company has over 240 thousand courier partners.
Who are Glovo couriers?
One would assume that an average courier is a young person who studies at university and works part-time in his spare time. However, it is not so: both men and women work as couriers at Glovo, and they are of different ages and professions. For some it is just a part-time job, for others, it is their main occupation.
Interestingly, a courier's income can be quite attractive to many people in Armenia. Although the delivery is very cheap for customers – by the way, cheaper than for any other delivery service – the courier gets much more.
"The courier's income per order does not depend on how much the customer paid to deliver that order. We have a slightly different business model," said Oleg Goroshchak.
Robots and drones instead of human couriers?
In many countries, delivery services are trying to take another step in the direction of modern technology and start using robots or drones instead of human couriers. It is believed that this will help speed up delivery even more.
According to Oleg Goroshchak, there are no plans to use drone couriers in Armenia so far, but they may appear in the future. For now, the first step toward introducing new technologies and concepts in Armenia will be opening "dark stores" and "dark kitchens”.
Not only Yerevan and Gyumri: will Glovo expand its geography in Armenia?
Glovo is currently available only in Yerevan and Gyumri. In both cities, the service enjoys high demand, so the experts are thinking about extending the geography of the company and opening branches in other cities as well so that more people have access to quality delivery services. In what cities the company will come soon will become known a little later.
Also, as Oleg Goroshchak said, the company plans to expand the working hours in the cities of Armenia: so far the service does not work 24/7, but the company plans to strive for such a schedule. The company has ambitious plans to connect new partners and organize large promotions, which will make the service more recognizable in the country.
According to Goroshchak, currently, more than 5% of the population in Armenia has already installed the Glovo app. Moreover, two out of three people, who have downloaded the Glovo application, are going to order soon, which is true not only in Armenia but also in any other country. Besides, over 40% of Glovo users stay with the company for at least several months.
Glovo's expansion is estimated to bring a lot of benefits to its potential partners and customers, who will be able to access more products from the comfort of their own homes, as well as couriers, who will have more orders and increase income.
"The Glovo platform brings businesses, customers, and couriers together. We're that platform that helps customers get everything they need from the comfort of their own home within about 40-45 minutes, even in today's weather conditions. For businesses, this is a great additional sales channel, expanding the customer base, and increasing brand awareness. And we allow couriers to get a good income without being tied to a schedule,” he noted.