Impact - - IMPACT | SPOTLIGHT - BY NEETA NAIR @ FEED­BACK neeta.nair@ex­change4­me­

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.”

Grofers e-au­torick­shaws

Prashant Verma

Al­binder Dhindsa

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