Food delivery platform Baedal Minjok, also known as Baemin, has partnered with electric scooter company Kickgoing to increase the number of deliverers.
Kickgoing operator Olulo announced on April 16 that it will partner with Baemin to offer a 30 percent discount on e-scooter fees for Baemin Connectors. Baemin Connectors are part-time Baemin employees who can be delivered at time slots of your choice.
This is not the first partnership between joint mobility services and food delivery platforms. Kickgoing in January gave employees at Coupang Eats, Coupang’s grocery delivery service, the same 30 percent discount. Coupang Eats has also teamed up with Beam, another e-scooter sharing service, and provided 500 delivery drivers with 20,000 kickgoing points. The bike-sharing app Elecle has also released an exclusive payment plan for Coupang Eats delivery staff that offers a discount of 40 to 70 percent.
The grocery delivery market is booming and grocery delivery services are competing for more delivery drivers.
Food deliveries have increased rapidly since last year as food deliveries have increased due to strict social distancing measures from the pandemic. In February, delivery order transactions totaled 1.8 trillion won ($ 1.7 billion), up 64 percent from the same period last year.
The increased demand for grocery deliveries resulted in increased demand for delivery workers. According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), there were 120,000 delivery staff as of August last year, but food suppliers are expected to face greater shortages of delivery staff than last year.
Previously, a grocery delivery worker was assigned multiple orders – usually five at a time – and all of them delivered at once. This recently changed as Coupang Eats only assigns one order per driver, allowing for faster deliveries.
With Coupang Eats now known as the fastest delivery app, other food delivery platforms are also making efforts to cut their delivery times.
In June, Baemin will launch Baemin One, a faster delivery service that restricts drivers from delivering one order at a time. WeMakePrice’s grocery delivery service WeMakePrice O is currently preparing similar services.
More delivery drivers are critical to one delivery per driver system, so grocery delivery services are targeting part-time workers. With part-time workers free to work in time slots of their choice, an increasing number of Koreans are viewing grocery delivery as a short and simple sideline. There have been 50,000 Baemin connectors as of December last year, of which 10,000 are actively working today, according to Baemin.
Grocery delivery apps like Coupang Eats and Baemin are trying to recruit even more part-time workers with e-scooter benefits.
Part-time delivery drivers, unlike full-time drivers who can rent motorcycles from delivery platforms, have to pay for their own transport. For them, discounts on e-scooters are an additional benefit that helps them to lower their operating costs.
The two-wheeled vehicles also allow part-time workers who deliver on foot to receive more delivery orders. Pedestrian deliveries are limited to food deliveries within a one kilometer radius. However, if they use e-scooters, they can take delivery orders from a radius of two kilometers.
According to the Seoul city government, there were 36,740 e-scooters in Seoul last August. As sharing mobility companies are aggressively increasing the number of e-scooters, there are an estimated 50,000 scooters in the country today. Businesses are looking for ways to increase their user base, and the large number of delivery drivers is an opportunity to achieve it.
Although food delivery apps welcome partnerships with electric scooter sharing services, safety is an issue.
According to the National Police Authority, the number of e-scooter accidents last year was 897, a dramatic increase compared to 2017 (117). The two-wheeled vehicles are allowed to ride on cycle paths, which is dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians, as around 80 percent of Korea’s sidewalks are next to cycle paths.
“Speed is important in the delivery of food, and the increase in part-time drivers in the delivery of food could increase the risk of accidents,” said Lee Ho-geun, professor in the Department of Automotive Engineering at Daeduk University. “Companies need to develop protective measures.”
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