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Decoding the rapid rise of online grocery shopping in India


Over the past few years, the online grocery industry has seen truly exceptional changes. E-commerce retailers are always looking for new concepts that can make life easier for the time-pressed consumers. I believe one such booming introduction we saw in India was that of online grocery shopping and it has changed the way Indians shop online.

The comfort and convenience of online payments makes buying grocery online a breeze. I personally prefer it over conventional grocery shopping since it helps save both time and money. I had come across a Wharton University story which mentioned that grocery retail in India is estimated to be over 60% of the country’s total retail market.

This is exciting because India is a fast-growing market with limitless potential and grocery alone has the potential to capture a massive chunk of this action.

The growth that this specific side of online shopping has ahead of it has many entrepreneurs on the edge of their seats. The fact that Indian grocery retail market may cross $700 billion by 2022 is part of this excitement. This growth path also suggests that healthy competition in this segment will bring many more benefits for us as shoppers. If you take a step back, it is clear that online grocery shopping has now become a high value-added service with the expansion of the middle-class population in India. Indians spend more than 50% of their monthly income on groceries, which is why it is not surprising that startups like BigBasket and Grofers have made a mark for themselves in a niche that didn’t even exist a few years ago.

When Big Basket received a funding of US$ 300 million from Alibaba last year, it definitely drew a lot of attention towards the world of online grocery. It is brilliant to see how players like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are also looking to build a strong presence in this space. Here are some of the reasons I feel this sector is gaining immense popularity among customers.

Facilitates Ease While Ordering

Whether it’s 4 o’clock in the morning or 11 o’clock at night, online grocery shopping allows us to browse virtual grocery store aisles whenever it is convenient for us. In fact, roughly 5-10 percent of all online grocery orders are placed around the 10 pm to midnight slot. The simple process of ordering, the ability to pick a convenient delivery time and shopping from the comfort of your couch, without navigating through crowded alleys or lengthy cashier lines is a definite plus.

Enhances Shopping Experience Through Recommendations

In the case of online grocery shopping, the nutritional value of products is also easier to review and helps us make informed purchase decisions. Also, the recommendation systems used by these companies often provide useful suggestions on products that go well together. So, we do not skip buying them and can avoid moving from one page to another to look for complimentary items.

Offers Convenience of Tracking Our Spending

As the total cost of our orders is always visible in our purchase history, it becomes easy to keep track of monthly or yearly spending. We can go over our budget when buying multiple items and even save ourselves from making impulsive purchases.

Provides Facility of Shopping By History

When we get to select groceries from what was previously bought, it is super convenient. I feel this is one of the best features offered by online grocers. This saves so much browsing time and is especially convenient if you buy the same essential items every week/month.

Accelerates Savings Through Deals and Bank Cards

When we shop for groceries online, we can avail the benefits of various sales and online only discounts. Most of the time, the discounts and offers provided by online sellers are much higher than those given offline. These offers run on a frequent basis and help increase our savings. My own site also offers great cashback deals to users to help them save extra when they shop for groceries at retailers like BigBasket and Grofers via CashKaro.

We are helping households save more on all home and lifestyle needs. Users can simply browse through the deals and shop via the CashKaro App/Website to grab huge cashback on stores like Grofers and BigBasket. Through this, they can avail nearly 5 percent cashback on every order. In fact, a healthy percentage of our sales comes from grocery retailers every month.

For any retailer to succeed in the online groceries’ sector, it will require consistent investment and growth for a 5-10-year time frame, and with investors pouring millions into this space, I feel that this e-commerce model might become a big battleground for retailers in the near future.