Russia’s largest internet company deployed its yellow-shirted moped riders to deliver groceries around London, becoming the latest entrant to enter a congested sector that is driving traditional grocery stores in the UK to rethink their business strategies.
Yango Deli, a subsidiary of Russian Internet giant Yandex, will construct four “dark storefronts” in London, where staff will prepare orders for delivery, putting 1.4 million potential customers within reach.
A fleet of bright yellow mopeds and motorcycles were stationed outside one of its new stores, in an arch beneath a brick railway viaduct in Battersea, South London, for couriers.
Nasdaq-listed Yandex is the most popular independent internet search engine in Russia, as well as the country’s largest ride-hailing service. Outside of Russia, the “Russian Google” is relatively unknown, but it claims that its expertise delivering food from roughly 400 dark stores at home, as well as new initiatives in Israel and France, will give it a technological advantage.
“We are not really a new company – we have already done it before,” said Evgeny Chernikov, General Manager of Yango Deli UK. “(We have a) massive bank of tech talent which means we can do many things much better and on a much larger scale than others.”
It began offering food delivery services in Paris and Israel in August of last year. However, London is an extremely competitive market. Yango’s couriers will have to compete for road space with those from other newcomers such as Weezy, Getir, Dija, and Gorillas, not to mention Uber, Amazon, and traditional grocers’ vans.
The Russian method will need some tweaking in the UK, according to Chernikov: hiring workers is more expensive, but British clients have more disposable income.
“It’s all about adapting the company model to the economic conditions,” says the entrepreneur.