Monday, June 14, 2021
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Online grocery stores gaining popularity

The fast-paced urban life leaves people with no time, they prefer every product to be delivered at their door steps. In this time struggle, online grocery stores are gaining popularity and you’ll be surprised to know that India is the sixth largest grocery market in the world. The food and grocery segment constitutes about 70 per cent of the $500 billion retail market in India. While only 5-8 per cent of this market is organized, the rest are actually unorganized mom and pop shops run by family members. But the trend is fast changing.

More and more food and grocery stores are falling in line and growing. These days everyone has access to internet and smart phone makes it much more convenient for you to get what you want, during commuting to work place or while returning, in spare time you can buy the daily products that your kitchen needs. The food and grocery that is delivered at your door step is more hygienic and fresh.

So what is it that really influences people to come online and buy groceries? Has the touch-and-feel factor we always preferred, diminished? When questioned some said it was because of convenience of shopping within their comfort zone and customer service of the e-commerce, preferred delivery times, same-day deliveries and to avoid crowds, parking issues, hankering over prices, rising conveyance costs and ease of delivery. Some factors that influence people to shop online are the advantages of discovering products that are not so easy to find on the retail shelf, valuable discounts/offers, and the benefit to stick within the pre-envisioned budget.

But is everything really perfect in reality? I doubt so. As of now, grocery e-tailing in India is a largely unorganized space and poses a big challenge in terms of stiff entry barriers. The traditional methods of inventory and logistics management call for intense cash-burning – a business condition most of the bootstrapped Indian start-ups fail to meet. This is because profit lines are marginal and there are numerous players offering similar services. And the competition is not limited within new-generation e-grocers alone!

The good old kirana stores also give them a run for their money as people often buy groceries and other utility items from local shops while enjoying a personal rapport with the owners, built over a long period of time. Besides, the view most of us have of the kirana store manned by an old gentleman wearing a banian (vest) is no longer true. Having seen the supermarket model, there is huge interest in them to change. Counters have changed, aisles have come in and most owners use high-end smartphones and Social networking sites.

However, times are changing and ecommerce is seeing a new dawn every day. What subsequently happens only time will tell… anyways, happy shopping to you all!

Akshay Redij

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