Home >News >India >Startups join e-grocer bandwagon as big players cope with demand

E-grocer startups such as StoreSe, Housejoy Mart and Near.store, saw a three-to-five fold growth in demand in the past two months when established online retailers and grocery companies struggled with supply and labour shortages due to the coronavirus-led lockdown, trying to meet the rising consumer need.

StoreSe and other such startups have partnered with offline retailers and kirana stores to use this opportunity.

In March, StoreSe launched its online grocery store in Bengaluru and works on an asset-light model, which means that it has a strong network of stock partners, supply chain and delivery fleet. The online grocery shopping platform has tied up with both kirana stores and large format retail stores--Vishal MegaMart, Modern Bazaar, Metro Cash & Carry and Future Group's More. For delivery, StoreSe has roped in cab aggregators, Ola and Meru, and has tied up with MyGate to ensure contactless delivery service of essentials.

“We have been catering to a single-digit thousand orders on a daily basis and have witnessed sales growing 20% on a weekly basis since we launched in March 2020," says Abhinav Pathak, chief executive officer (CEO) & co-founder, StoreSe.

StoreSe was launched in the national capital region (NCR) in May and has witnessed an order fulfillment rate of 90%. Pathak and his team now plan to expand to Hyderabad, Jaipur, Pune, Mumbai and tier-2 cities as they see a demand in these cities.

"Covid-19 has completely changed the world and everything is getting fast tracked. Since e-commerce is becoming mainstream there are thousands of new users who are trying it out for the first time, StoreSe comes in to handhold those customers and give them an online shopping experience on behalf of all our store partners and retailers," adds Pathak.

Mumbai-based Near.store, an instant plug and play solution to create a digital presence for any shop, started delivering groceries and other household items in March 2020. Near.Store devices need to be plugged into an existing billing system of any establishment, and once it is active, it creates a unique online presence on the Near.Store platform for the shop.

“This enables a mom-n-pop shop to be discovered online, generate online sales, attract new customers and build loyalty with the existing consumer base," said Ashish Kumar, co-founder & CEO, Near.store.

The e-grocer procures its stock from both kirana stores and fast moving consumer goods FMCG companies directly and delivers them with a third party fleet. It has partnered with top brands such as Cadbury, Marico, ITC, P&G, Mama Earth, Epigamia and Raw Pressery, among others.

"We are currently delivering to 120 housing societies in Mumbai, fulfilling 300-500 orders every day. Since we launched, we have seen 6x growth in sales and 40x growth in number of housing societies (RWAs) delivered across Mumbai," said Kumar.

The delivery infrastructure advantage that Zomato and Swiggy can no longer be leveraged. There are many third-party logistics providers who have the same capability, added Kumar.

In Bangalore, tech-driven home services startup, Housejoy, launched Housejoy Mart in April 2020, specifically to ensure that there was no disruption in delivery of groceries and essential items to customers across Bangalore.

“This is a very new field for us and evaluating the business model currently. Our primary focus through this initiative has been to ensure work continuity for our teams and helping our customers in this hour of crisis. Various players including us have been doing whatever is possible to support the supply chains," said Sanchit Gaurav, founder and CEO, Housejoy.

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