“Grocery” Shopping Goes Online- The Challenges Ahead


E-Commerce is spreading at a thick pace and it seems it is slowly starting to get into our daily shopping needs too. There are many online startups who are now now trying to tap in one such segment which is the most essential and necessary to run day to day life activity. Yes, after the online books, music DVD’s, mobile phone other electronic gadgets, clothes and makeup accessories etc. it’s now the time to deliver some grocery & even vegetables and fruits online.
This is by far the most interesting and the most challenging kind of venture wherein                        E-commerce will play major role .The needs of a fast paced life is now being efficiently met         by the online shopping. The few startups to name are:

  • AARAM SHOP: The name itself signifies the kind of convenience you shall have once you start using online shopping for your day-to-day necessities like grocery etc.. They do not have a central inventory of their own and the deliveries of products are done by kirana stores enlisted with them. Currently operate in 25 cities.
  • BIG BASKET.COM: Currently operating in Banglore and delivers variety of products e.g.: Fruits, vegetables, meat, FMCG and the inventory is maintained both by them and a third party. It is being funded by a venture capilist.
  • TOWN ESS.COM: It is known for its discounts and fast delivery services. It has its own inventory which makes it all the more effective for fast delivery. The service is currently active only in south Banglore.
  • ZOPNOW.COM: Its tag line says “Be lazy buy easy”, the online format shall definitely prove this true.

Challenges for the companies:

  • Companies require maintaining the quality of products delivered. Thus a check on inventory regarding quality is of utmost importance when it is being delivered by a third party. Chances of the brand name getting spoiled due to quality issues is high in this model
  • Customer expects 24 hours delivery &Punctuality in delivering products, this is also the second most important challenge. Since these products are mostly day to day necessity products and hence delivering on time is very important. Thus the distribution system and warehouse management should be very strong for meeting such expectation of customers.
  • Margin is low and thus grocery e-commerce seems difficult to pull it  off.
  • Competition from the traditional neighborhood kirana shops which  have always been the trusted and most popular means of procuring day to day groceries, fruits and vegetable. And these days some grocers are using smartphones also for taking orders.

SOURCE: Forbes India Magazine.


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