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This B2B online grocery platform was a supplier at Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas wedding

Jaipur-based online grocer GreenDesk has tied up with 600 farmers to supply fresh produce to B2B and B2C clients. It has recently opened a store in Jaipur, and is now eyeing Tier II and III India for expansion.

This B2B online grocery platform was a supplier at Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas wedding

Thursday March 19, 2020 , 5 min Read

Himanshu Agarwal was staying with his flat-mates in Gurugram and getting groceries always seemed a task. He soon noticed a huge gap in the prices of vegetables available online and offline. “When I checked prices of vegetables on an app and then went to a grocery store, and then to a mandi, I saw a huge difference,” he says.


In 2016, he saw several companies like Grofers and Bigbasket emerging in the B2C space. He realised that there were few players in the B2B space except for the likes of Jumbotail, JumboGrocery, and EZKirana. 


Himanshu, who hails from Jaipur, decided to study the vegetable supply chain to understand the reason behind the huge difference in prices on three different platforms. 


In October 2016, this culminated in the launch of GreenDesk, a Jaipur-based B2B grocery platform. Today, the business has tied up with more than 50 channel partners to supply groceries. It has 60 clients across hospitals, cafes, and restaurants, and receives 1,000 orders per month.


GreenDesk

Himanshu Agarwal, Founder and CEO, GreenDesk.


Himanshu, the Founder and CEO of GreenDesk, says he started the company with three clients and 90 orders per month. The local mandis were the suppliers for GreenDesk, initially. As the team dug deeper, it started sourcing vegetables directly from the farmers. The business now deals with over 600 farmers to supply fresh vegetables across India.


GreenDesk has been able to bring change in the inconsistent incomes of farmers.


Himanshu and his team have developed a technology, based on data collected over two and a half years, that can predict crops and their demands in specific locations across the country and also predict the price of vegetables at a particular point in time. This removes uncertainty from the lives of the farmers to a large extent.


“Most farmers don’t have a ready buyer when crops are harvested. Data analysis helps us place orders for farmers in advance, even telling them the quantity that they have to supply to us.”


The process of predicting crops has helped in reducing farmers’ exploitation at the hands of distributors, and helped increase their incomes by 20 percent. 

 

GreenDesk

GreenDesk's newly launched store in Jaipur.

Putting together a company

India’s grocery market - now worth $600 billion – is the sixth largest in the world. But only five to eight percent of grocery stores are in the organised sector. Putting the market together with the help of technology is the need of the hour.


The initial days were tough because it was very difficult to sell the concept to people in the local mandis and convince them to be a part of it. In addition, the B2B industry is a credit-based industry. So, maintaining working capital was a challenge.  


Furthermore, the vegetable and food supply industry is an extremely crowded market where people have been part of the business since generations and have captured a major portion of the market. 


So, how did GreenDesk manage to enter this space? “There were vendors who were dealing in only Indian vegetables while other vendors offered only exotic vegetables. GreenDesk was a one-stop solution that provided both on one platform.”


Himanshu also encourages farmers to grow exotic vegetables such as broccoli, which provide high returns.


The founder invested his own savings into the company. He started with an initial investment of Rs 5-6 lakh. The the company clocks a turnover of Rs 2.8 crore annually.


GreenDesk also supplied micro-greens and edible flowers at Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ wedding last year.



From online to offline

Green Desk has separate apps for its B2B and B2C businesses. The B2B app is called ‘GreenDesk for Business’ while B2C is called ‘GreenDesk’. It also has a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


But despite the online presence, the importance of the brick-and-mortar setup has been established in the Indian market. After doing well online, GreenDesk launched a retail outlet in Jaipur last week and entered the B2C space.


Explaining the move, Himanshu says, “A lot of people are becoming health conscious these days. Sometimes, online delivery takes a lot of time and is expensive. So, I wanted to set up a store in the heart of the city where buying groceries becomes easy.” 


The retail outlet is called Oh My Greens! or OMG. The USP of this store is that it makes exotic vegetables such as avocado and asparagus easily available.



GreenDesk


Keeping business alive in tough times

With the coronavirus pandemic taking the world by storm and hitting businesses, how is Green Desk dealing with the situation?


“We have tied up with clients like Udaan and Grofers. In addition, we are focusing on home deliveries because people are not ready to go out.”


The next step will be to ensure that all products available offline are available online as well, and start subscription packages for those who place orders on a regular basis.


The company plans to make inroads into Tier II and III cities including Udaipur, Jodhpur and subsequently Ahmedabad and Surat. Himanshu says he is also planning to come up with franchisee models of OMG in Noida and Gurgaon.


GreenDesk also plans to start its own packaging. “This way, we'll be able to package products under our own brand. Labeled packaging helps keep quality and hygiene in check,” Himanshu says.



(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)