Is online grocery shopping the ‘in’ thing today?

There was a time, when the average Indian woman or the ‘housewife’ was given the sole responsibility of taking care of the entire household. While household chores did not just restrict to cooking and cleaning, the woman even needed to source household supplies when she was handed over a portion of her husband’s income. Decades later, the definition of housewife changed. Women began moving ahead, shoulder-to-shoulder with their better halves. Today a housewife is no longer referred to as housewife but a ‘home maker’. A home maker could be someone who works and takes care of the household at the same time. It doesn’t necessarily mean a home maker is a woman, nor does it mean she does everything like before. A home maker, irrespective of the sex, can be someone who looks over certain home related jobs, like shopping for groceries for example. With the progress of the internet age and more stores making their presence felt online apart from physical stores, every home maker has more choices, more control and can get work done ahead of time.

When grocery retail began online, home makers were thrilled to know that now no more do they need to waste time by physically going to the stores. But what was disappointing was also the fact that they never really always got their groceries on time. Online grocery stores come with fixed delivery hours and working slots which the customer needs to choose. The major issue faced by customers even today, is when there is an emergency requirement, these online stores are not always able to fulfill it due to the fixed delivery time slots. For example if X needed groceries immediately for surprise guests that evening, she would never get them the same day. So X runs to her loyal kirana store right down the street to buy her emergency supplies.

Thus we see, how local grocers have been winning loyalty of several customers. One of the several e-tailers, has recognised the gap in the system and translated these stores into an e-tail model. This means that now local grocers or kiranas can successfully fit into the e-tail space by signing up with and give the customers the same pleasure along with convenience as an added advantage. Not only do these stores get to sell products online, but also can retain their loyal customer base, while providing timely delivery of ordered goods. The time factor plays a major role here as the stores are located closer to the customers and delivery can be carried out within a span of two hours.

E-tail model has a two way benefit for stores and customers. We have already seen how it benefits customers. Then how does it benefit the local grocers or kirana stores?
Local grocery stores can
* Keep tabs on purchase trends and take necessary action
* Stock up according to customer needs
* Ensure timely payment from customers

Shopping from local stores online as a model is definitely the ‘in’ thing in the e-tail space. The rate at which this sector is booming in metros as compared to non-metros is almost thirty percent. India’s booming retail space gives a lot of scope for these models to function, as local stores today are similar to brands when it comes to loyalty. They are local stores with who customers have nurtured a strong relationship over time and trust them whole-heartedly.