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28 Jun, 2021 11:22

Popular Russian grocery delivery service eyes US market

Popular Russian grocery delivery service eyes US market

One of Russia’s top rapid grocery-delivery providers, Samokat, said it will launch a service in New York as soon as August, to take advantage of the booming post-pandemic market.

In the US, Samokat (the Russian for ‘scooter’) will operate under the name Buyk. The founders of the St. Petersburg-based company are targeting 10,000 orders a month in New York by year-end.

“We understand that there are higher costs in New York. But there is also a higher check,” the service co-founder Vyacheslav Bocharov said in an interview with Bloomberg.

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Buyk has already found dark stores in New York. Dark stores are small, centrally-located warehouses that commonly help couriers fill orders quickly.

Buyk's service will offer free delivery, with its couriers expected to deliver food and other goods by bike within a radius of a mile (1.5 kilometer).The firm is reportedly hiring about 100 people for operations, as well as 500 couriers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a boom in grocery delivery services, as customers developed a habit of ordering food while self-isolating or avoiding crowded spaces.

In Russia, orders have reportedly surged 14-fold since 2019, pushing Samokat to the top three food delivery service providers by sales volume. In terms of orders, the firm remains the largest in the country.

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Samokat has an unmatched advantage over its rivals, as the company is familiar with “scaling a project very quickly in new cities,” co-founder of Data Insight Boris Ovchinnikov said, stressing that “a big challenge will be that it’s impossible to use such a cheap workforce in New York as they’re used to in Russia.”

Samokat couriers in Russia get an average hourly payment of 190 rubles ($2.63). Meanwhile, the median hourly wage for food and grocery delivery drivers in the US is reportedly around $16.

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