When BigBasket started out, there was no concept of apps. This meant customers could not save their location while placing an order. Despite this, BigBasket maintained its tenet of on-time delivery then, as much as it does to date. Right after the first order by a customer, our client service representative would call them and take their exact location through the Lat-Long technique with the map open in front of them on the desktop. Once the location was flagged, it was recorded, and the delivery boy could easily navigate to the customer location using Google Maps. The location data of residential complexes was so accurate that Google Maps even bought this data from us, which was something of a landmark moment for us!
Around the time BigBasket was launched in December 2011, the stocks we kept was not as much as it is today. It was around November 2013 that we shifted to an inventory model, which helped us in many ways. We were able to offer same day delivery and it also helped us with very high fill rates to the customers. Our margins also almost doubled to reach 18%. Thus, there were three things that made our customer proposition very strong: same day delivery, high fill rate and on-time delivery. An added advantage we offered to our customers was giving back about 50% of the item value in case any item was missing from their order. Another impact point was in the fruits and vegetables category, wherein all were skeptical about the preference of Indian housewives for touch and feel before buying it.
We introduced the no-questions-asked return policy and allowed customers to do partial return even post-delivery, if they were not completely happy with the quality of a part of the quantity. This helped us garner immense customer trust. In fact, about 65% of our orders have fruits and vegetables, and now we are among the top three retailers in India with respect to fruit and vegetable sales. I still remember the very first customer order, which had only one fruit and vegetable item, just 250gms of a leafy vegetable. From then to now (we sell several tonnes of fruits and vegetables daily) we feel we have really come a long way!