One of the most interesting sectors of the retail market today is the grocery segment, and even in the grocery segment it is online grocery or e-grocery which is most profitable. E-kirana have come about to be known as servicing the neighbourhood with groceries being delivered to your home on a phone call. Growing interest of consumers to click and point their way through nearly all aspects of daily life has fuelled the internet economy and has impelled the development of online services and selling of products online even in areas that were once the sole preserve of traditional businesses, such as grocery stores.
We have the likes of Groceryshop.in, mygrahak.com, easyration.com, ecityindia.com, aaramshop.com, easydukaan.com, chennaionlinegrocery.com to name a few and other online kirana stores that are already delivering groceries, combining the concepts of old-fashioned mom-and-pop model with e-commerce. Most of the new online grocery stores have opened in the last two quarters. There is this online supermarket, atmydoorsteps.com, in Bangalore. Atmydoorsteps is looking to expand to other towns, working on a minimum inventory model based on daily orders from retail consumers and weekly shipments from wholesalers. “The idea of providing convenience and leave time on hand to do the things ‘one always wanted to do’ prompted this venture. This combined with the changing lifestyle of people , increased comfort of customers to transact on the net, increased broadband penetration, etc makes one bullish about the idea,” says Sushant Junnarkar, atmydoorsteps.com. “In India we already have the neighbourhood kirana stores that are close to the consumer, stock all the grocery products that a consumer needs, and are already providing home delivery to their consumers, so, we thought that the way ahead for us should be a hybrid e-commerce model whereupon we are leveraging the existing presence of neighbourhood retailers for delivery,” says Ashutosh Malik, Director & COO, Aaramshop.com
The e-kirana players are currently offering more than 1500 or so products which comprise staples, pulses and FMCG products, etc. One can also find fresh meat (chicken and mutton) and fresh fish. Aaramshop has the policy of stocking those national or regional brands that conform to the regulations with respect to MRP, safety and other official requirements are available. “Easyration has a wide variety of products; from staples (rice, pulses, flours, oil, etc) to personal care, cleaning and washing items, regional items, health supplements, baby care, pet care, etc,” says Avipsha Thakur, Co-founder, Easyration.com.
Some of the reasons why increasing numbers of consumers are likely to turn to online grocery are the same as those driving other internet purchases; better prices, larger selection, convenience, and time savings. Home delivery of items purchased online is appealing to those for whom going out to shop is difficult for various reasons, such as paucity of time, the need to care for young children, the lack of adequate or convenient transportation or busy lifestyle. The top 5 categories in the daily-consumed goods make up 54.98% of the total value of products ordered online according to sources.
When it comes to e-commerce the most glaring concern is how the goods are delivered and whether they are delivered to customer’s satisfaction. “Aaramshop is a platform which is bringing consumers, retailers and brands together. The neighbourhood retailer stocks the products, the delivery of products bought by a consumer takes place through the neighbourhood retailer,” says Malik. As for Atmydoorsteps, they collate orders based on the cut-off time and procure the orders. The idea is to save on inventory holdings costs and the likes of Easyration which have their centrally set-up warehouses.
The e-kirana stores need to indulge in extensive marketing channels so as to they get their brand a kick-off. “We are promoting the AaramShop platform both online and offline. The online promotion is happening through online platforms such as Google and Facebook, which are visited by our target consumers. Further, we are working with our retail partners to promote the platform offline as well” adds Malik. Easyration had done a promotion scheme with Snapdeal in early July. This was very successful and gave us a lot of visibility; the regular way of promoting through pamphlets is also on at the same time.
Times are good if you are looking to be a part of the e-revolution.