Will Online Grocery Hoopla work in India?

January 1st, 2014, 10am

Online Grocery is the talk of the town now. At least in some parts of India. Start ups like Grofers are getting huge funding from every corner. Investors are putting money the way they have done with loss making e-commerce ventures. I decided to try Grofers to see how they work and their model is robust or not.

The application is impressive. It has variety of grocery and fresh produce stores whose products they display with price. You need to add these products to your Cart and using various options to pay, you can sit at home, relax and get everything delivered. You can also put your convenient time to deliver. At no extra cost.

Now comes the catch. An hour before the delivery time, a person with an Orange Grofers bag starts shopping at the places where you have ordered it. If you have ordered it from Reliance Fresh, they reach and get it for you. If the product you ordered is not there (which is very likely because Grofers do not have the inventory data of these affiliated stores), your money is refunded in cash. This precisely means sending your servant to fetch groceries with a list.

In my case, the person who shopped for me had no idea to differentiate between different Surf Washing Powders. So be brought utensil cleaner instead of clothes cleaning one and refunded the difference. I asked him why he didn’t get the one I ordered and he said it got finished. But I went to Reliance Fresh within 5 minutes and realized he was lying. Potatos and Onions were leftovers. This was because I ordered late evening and the guy could only find the leftover rotten products to pick from. I returned it and was refunded the equivalent money.

In case you want to raise a complaint, the number given is of some call centre in Gurgaon or Noida. They later apologized but I never cared to order again.

Without adequate inventory at your disposal or at least inventory control of the affiliated stores you are listing on your application, online grocery boom will not happen. It will collapse or the model has to change.

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Binu Alex

Jack of all master of none. Reckless Thinker, Bad writer, Tech lover, Safe Driver in Dry Republic of Gujarat. 2 decades in print, web and radio. Unglorified tweeter. No Admirers. Unlimited Foes, Endless envy. Not to be loose shunted

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