Groceries have a new address – The World Wide Web; A Look at how Mumbaikars Order

18th Oct 2012
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India’s grocery market is worth 300 billion USD and is one of the largest in the world. In recent times the market has been experiencing a revolution. And no, I am not talking about FDI, which I will leave for the financial experts to discuss. What I am referring to is the revolution of e-commerce, which has seen the local kirana and not-so-local food markets move online. India has long been a nation obsessed with home delivery and these new online grocery portals allow customers the convenience to shop for groceries online, the flexibility of a huge product range and the ability to compare discounts on goods all through one platform.
“In the average household, grocery shopping is typically done 2.2 times a month and fruit & vegetables are bought 5 times a month. For people who find going to various stores a chore and a pressed for time, online grocery shopping is a savior”, says Karan Mehrotra, co-founder of LocalBanya, one such grocery portal in Mumbai. As the perceived risk of shopping online diminishes thanks to popular shopping portals such as Flipkart and Jabong, Industry consultants expect the e-grocery market to be 10% of the overall market size in the next three years. Why? Because, grocery is a primary need and with the fast paced life of Mumbaiites consumers are always on the look out for an easy solution to their needs.

What differentiates online grocery portals from the local kirana or Sahakari Bhandar is that the customer is no longer limited to the product range that is available at that particular store and they do not have to go from vegetable vendor to chemist to butcher to fishmonger to kirana to complete the monthly shopping list. “There is also no time wasted waiting in check out queues, no travel costs and customers can order online or through the phone quickly, efficiently and cost effectively” adds Sumat Chopra, Founder of EkStop.

Buying clothes and shoes online is a different thing but are people really okay with buying fruits and vegetables online? While one would think that this would be a product category that customers would be reluctant to purchase online, in reality all such online grocery portals reports that fruits, vegetables and exotic products such as broccoli, zucchini etc were the most hot selling products as these are not always available at the local vendor and having it available online is a huge incentive for customers to keep coming back. In fact, the demand for fruits and vegetables to be available online is such that it has led to the launch of Eemli, a specialty grocery portal that only retails fruits and vegetables and stocks a wide range of exotic products such as Mangosteen, Dragonfruit, Rambutan etc. Another benefit of shopping for your food online is that these online grocery portals have vendors that deliver fresh fruits and vegetables at the start of each day,can even have partly raw fruits delivered to you for consumption in 7-10 days and also have “no questions asked” returns policy in case you touch and feel your purchase and decide that it is not fresh.

The future of online grocery shopping looks bright. Founder of Eemli.com, Pankaj Shah says, “The online grocery industry in India is still at a nascent stage but there is a big opportunity as in metro cities it is tough for people to get to eat what they want at the time they want and be assured of product quality”.The value proposition of the industry is one that will pick up steam as busy professionals as well as housewives value good service and convenience. The average customer on these portals buys atleast thrice a month and the opportunity to cross-sell and expand is enormous.

So the next time you cringe at the long weekend lines for Big Bazaar or grimace as your kirana doesn’t know what ‘Philadelphia Cheese’ is let alone stock it, hang up your shoes and head to the World Wide Web instead.

How do these Mumbai-based online grocers stand out from each other?

Local BanyaPioneer of online grocery shopping in Mumbai, at Local Banya you can pay and schedule your delivery of products as per your convenience so you are not stuck at home waiting for your goods to arrive.
EkStopOffering a wide range of products, EkStop is the only grocery portal that offers free-same day delivery across Mumbai.
EemliWith a vertical focus, Eemli focuses on supplying fresh consumables. Pick them if you like trying exotic and imported fruits and vegetables, want products that are grown with minimum use of pesticides and like the convenience of cut fruits and customized salads.

- Perzen Darukhanawalla

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