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What is Dark Store? Everything you need to know about Dark Store.

The term dark store refers to a distribution centre or outlet that caters exclusively to online shopping. It acts as a micro fulfilment centre. Dark stores are not located in shopping malls or High Streets but in inner areas where good road connections are present. These distribution outlets are not open to visitors, allowing more space for store inventory and to quickly and accurately fulfil orders. Dark stores look like mini warehouses located closer to customers than the conventional fulfilment centres of online retailers.

The dark store’s concept advocates the setting up of mid-size local warehouses for storing, sorting, and managing orders, facilitating quick and cost-effective picking and easier automation. Like cloud kitchens, dark stores were developed to exclusively fulfil online orders. With 10-minute grocery delivery becoming the new normal, dark stores have become the lifeline of these companies.

what is dark store

Why dark store concept has emerged or rising?

The pandemic has accelerated the shift in consumer behaviour that was already happening: a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping due to this the number of Dark Stores has grown significantly during the past year.

One of the most significant changes due to covid-19 to the retail grocery sector which has resulted from the pandemic is the appearance of dark stores. Dark stores do use physical outlets, but these spaces are eCommerce warehouses, distribution centres or micro-fulfilment hubs.

The global online grocery market size was estimated at $189.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2027.

As dark stores aren’t customer-facing retail establishments so generally they are operational 24/7. The dark store is the heart of quick delivery. dark stores are a way to help companies succeed in the quick commerce’ era. After the pandemic consumers are more demanding than ever, are looking for faster delivery, a more diverse product selection and more competitive prices than traditional retailers.

Benefits of the Dark Store

  • Additional Capacity
  • Great Availability of products
  • Improved inventory control and management
  • Enhanced Quality
  • Improved Pick and delivery Accuracy
  • 24/7 Operation
  • Centralized Route Planning
  • Opportunities for New Goods
  • Helps Encourage Faster Consumption
  • Improved SKU (Store Keeping Unit) Management
  • Easier to Manage Perishable Products

What is The Future of Dark Stores in India

Economy experts expect that more online dark stores will open across India in the coming years as online grocery retailing takes off.

Brokerage firm Motilal Oswal in a recent retail report has reported that the Indian e-grocery market will grow at a whopping 59 % CAGR to touch $18 billion (about ₹131,400 crores) by the year 2024.

What is the typical size of the dark store?

In general dark store space can range between 2,000 and 20,000 sq ft depending on the product type and neighbourhood they are catering to.

Will dark stores remain relevant after the pandemic?

Given this evolution, it looks pretty likely that the Dark Stores are not only here to stay but will continue to evolve as a concept. Dark stores concentrate on internet order delivery in high-demand locations. For retailers in large geographical regions and areas, the presence of dark stores is important.

E-commerce revenues are projected to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023 throughout the world—with Dark Stores helping drive this new shopping revolution.

Dark stores will also play a vital role in supply chains in the future. On-demand delivery is booming and at the centre of this so-called quick commerce(10-30 minute delivery) and which is only possible due to dark stores so they are here to thrive.

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Where do Dark Stores Exist or established?

Dark stores are generally established near high-demand neighbourhoods or areas. For retail segments like apparel and durables, they could be even be set up on the city outskirts. dark store model is entirely focussed on online deliveries and is spread across neighbourhoods in metro cities where demand for home-delivered groceries is high.

Companies choose dark stores located near the high demand areas, they can go inward location or from where 10-30 minute delivery is possible in 2-3 km radius. dark stores can be planned in unused commercial building basements, parking spaces, mall parking etc.

Which Business Uses dark stores?

Grocery delivery and fashion retail are big on dark stores. But in the wake of the global pandemic, other sectors are following suits like furniture and homeware. There has been massive growth in the demand for e-commerce and instant delivery.

How Does Dark Stores Work?

Dark stores are designed to make fulfilling online orders as fast as possible. Some are set up with aisles and shelves, just like a regular store, but without any of the signage or displays, you’d see at your local retailer. At these dark stores, delivery boys collect items to fill online orders. Often, they can fulfil several orders at once.

Some dark stores look more like warehouses. They might be entirely automated, using robots to pick and pack customer orders. Others use a hybrid model or fully manual.

Dark Store History

Dark stores were first launched in the United Kingdom with a common aim in mind: to provide click-and-collect delivery with online purchases.

The first-ever dark store in India was launched by online grocer BigBasket in 2018, in an attempt to ship orders faster to its customers under its express delivery service.


There is big debate is going on whether dark stores are going to stay or not, are they feasible. We can’t predict the future, because it is moving like a roller coaster. So enjoy the moment, take the maximum benefit from the current situation and be prepared for the future.

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