AMAZON NOW TODAY IS WHAT WE WERE IN 2015: GROFERS CEO
Their delivery boys are their brand ambassadors with bright orange t-shirts which are hard to miss in a crowd. Now Grofers is going a step further by introducing orange e-autorickshaws to aid their supply business. Albinder Dhindsa, Co-founder & CEO of Grofers and Prashant Verma, Vice President-Marketing, Grofers tell us more
We caught up with Albinder Dhindsa the day Grofers flagged off the first 20 deliveries through their all-new orange e-autorickshaws in New Delhi. Talking about this recent initiative which will reduce the cost of delivery by 25% and cater to the growing influx of orders, he says, “Delhi is our biggest market. If you look at Gurgaon, we started off with motorcycles, then went on to small vans, big vans, small trucks and big trucks. We cannot replicate that in Delhi because entry of heavy goods vehicles is barred during the day. We were only running on CNG earlier. Then we decided that it would actually be a better idea to develop an electric vehicle capacity. Also, we preferred electric rickshaws over electric cars as they were more practical and cheaper. And we built them with swappable batteries, as that saves time, reduces costs and tackles the pollution problem in the capital, as well.”
Grofers recently raised Rs.400 crore in a fresh round of funding led by Japanese conglomerate, SoftBank Group. Elaborating on the challenges they hope to overcome, Dhindsa says, “We just managed to break-even in January. So the biggest challenge we face as a business now is that we have gone from Rs 25 crore to Rs 110 crore. We are serving a lot more customers, but we have to build that supply chain to service them better.”
When Grofers started out initially, they promised a delivery period of two hours. However, today in several parts of the country like Mumbai and Delhi, delivery time stretches to a good 72 hours, which is clearly a problem because not always will a customer be willing to wait that long for basic essentials, especially when a supermarket or kirana store is a stone’s throw away.
Verma however, views this challenge as an opportunity. “It’s a good problem to have. How many times have you seen an organization grow 400% year-on-year? Earlier on we were a market place model, hence that previous ad campaign had the proposition of two-hour delivery. But now our TG and positioning has changed. We are no longer a hyperlocal delivery start-up, we are a low price online super market. As a result, people come to us for value for money offerings.”
But how confident is the three-year-old Gurugram-based start-up of staying ahead of competition when e-commerce giants like Amazon Now and Flipkart are investing in the online grocery delivery space?
Dhindsa says, “Amazon now today is what we were in 2015, and that too of a much smaller size. They have not been able to scale up meaningfully. So, the guys we actually compete with in the market are the local stores. Thus, when we look at price and convenience, we want to provide the same kind of pricing, the same kind of access to products that a D-Mart does. Everybody thinks we are competing with Big Basket, but the difference between them and us is that we are the D-Mart of the online world and they are the Nature’s Basket of the online world. So, we don’t really face competition from each other over there.”