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Getir to launch in 15 cities in UK with 100 dark stores by 2021-end

Getir, and their purple couriers, are going to be an increasingly common sight on the UK’s streets. Starting the year with no presence in the UK market, they are set for major expansion in the second half of the year. The rapid grocery delivery service — their ten-minute delivery is quicker than a trip to the shops and back — hopes to double its workforce of 1,500 and operate in up to 15 cities by the end of 2021, as confirmed by Turancan Salur, UK General Manager at Getir to UKTN.

Although unknown in the UK at the start of the year, Getir was established in Istanbul in 2015 and the service and operational model was well-honed before they began their explosive expansion in 2021 again local home grown online grocery delivery startups including Weezy, Dija, Zapp and more. First launching in London in January, Getir has now also launched in other European cities, adding Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris in May and June.

Operations begin in Birmingham and Manchester

However, the UK has been earmarked for rapid expansion. Birmingham and Manchester saw purple Getir riders hit their streets at the end of June, and the company is identifying other towns and cities for their service. Salur reels off some of the places they are looking at, “Brighton, Bristol, Sheffield, Leicester, Leeds, Liverpool, you name it. When you look at the cities with the highest population, we want to be in all of those.”

Currently, in Birmingham and Manchester, they’re operating in the cities centre via a couple of fulfilment centres, which they plan to increase very soon. Turancan adds, “We are thrilled to continue our UK expansion and Birmingham is the perfect next step on our trail. Our recent funding is being invested in our ambitious UK plans and our expansion across Birmingham and Maanchester is at the centre of this.”

100 dark stores, 3000 employees

Salur believes that the demand for a rapid delivery service was there before the pandemic, but Covid-19 restrictions massively accelerated the growth in demand. “What we might have seen in five years, we saw in a year,” he explains, “but we haven’t seen any decrease in demand with the lockdown easing.”

Having had success with their first UK launch in London, and a model that they can quickly deploy in new cities, Getir are planning rapid expansion within the UK. Looking primarily at densely populated urban areas, they expect to see significant growth in the UK market by the end of the year.

Much of this growth will come from London, where they already cover 50% of the population and have 34 dark stores. By the end of the year, they hope that 90% of Londoners will be able to get their groceries within 10 minutes from Getir. However, smaller cities, which may only need a few distribution centres, are high on their list. Salur expects that, by the end of the year, they will have 100 dark stores, serviced by 3,000 employees in up to fifteen different cities.

“We see that a lot of people are demanding the service,” say Salur, “delivery in around 10 minutes really resonates with people. It’s something that they want, it’s something that they need, so we want to offer it to them as quickly as possible.”

A quiet giant

Despite their long presence in Turkey, where the brand has diversified into other delivery markets including food and water, Getir hasn’t yet become a household name in the UK. This is despite already being, by any measure, a big business. Recently valued at $7.5 billion, the company, with just its London operation, already covers a significant proportion of the UK population.

Aside from its newcomer status, it also operates relatively quietly. The service works with their couriers delivering from ‘dark stores’. There are no Getir’s on the high street, instead, the only way to buy is for delivery and you can order via their app. Pickers in the dark stores — Getir’s distribution centres — will prepare your order and a courier will collect and deliver in around ten minutes. All of Getir’s vehicles are electric, as well, meaning customers and their neighbours will be spared the rattle of poorly maintained scooters on deliveries.

All this quiet efficiency is intended to bring customers a vital service. Offering a core range, mainly of familiar household names, to help ensure speedy delivery, the dark stores offer a real-time inventory. This means that whether it’s a critical ingredient for dinner, a cold beer on a whim, or even emergency toilet paper, the Getir delivery will never feature unsuitable substitutions. 

A staff-friendly business

Getir’s attitude to staff also stands out from many of its likely competitors. Rapid delivery has, with other platforms, often been criticised for its business model, frequently using the gig economy for its delivery drivers and riders who can sometimes find themselves making a loss after a bad shift.

Directly employing all their staff, whether in head office, picking in a store or delivering to customers, Getir has put a high priority on making it a good place to work. Talking about the initial London operation, Salur explains, “couriers and our pickers earn more than the London living wage, and because they are all on our payroll, they receive all the benefits, too.”

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