The act of purchasing products over the Internet, the common terminology of which is “online shopping,” is very popular in India. Starting from books to clothes to accessories to electronics, the list is endless when it comes to online shopping. The latest entrant in this virtual world of shopping is grocery shopping. Though online grocery shopping is not a new concept in the West, in India, it is slowly gaining importance with the launch of a number of online grocery sites or virtual grocers.
What is a virtual grocer?
Purchasing groceries via the Internet is online grocery shopping. A virtual grocer is one who sells his products through an online medium. Like a normal grocery store where you have a wide variety of food items to choose from, both perishable and non-perishable, a virtual store also has in its offering a complete range of food items that meet your regular food requirements.
Pros and Cons for Consumers, Companies and Normal Grocers
Online shopping is no doubt a growing popular trend. It is convenient. But when it comes to grocery shopping, there is always this hitch among the people about the quality and freshness of the food items that will be delivered. Even online grocery shopping has its pros and cons.
Pros for Consumers
- Firstly, it is time saving because in reality, grocery shopping by visiting the nearest supermarket can be time-consuming. The reason being you have to go through the endless aisles to find the product what you’re looking for. Similarly, when you visit a grocery shop in the local market, you have to wait for your turn to get your products. Shopping your favourite food items online alleviates the need to check out those never-ending aisles filled with hundreds of food items. You can log in any time and browse a fully stocked store. Plus, not going to the shopping store saves not only time but also the petrol of your car or other travelling expenses.
- On an online store, unnecessary spending is reduced. It does not allow impulsive purchasing. You browse, select only those products which you want, unlike in a normal grocery store, you end up increasing your grocery bill.
- Time-to-time deals and discounts and coupons offered by online retailers also make your shopping experience of grocery items all the more exciting as you tend to save more by buying more.
Pros for Companies and Normal Grocers
- Even the grocers and manufacturing companies benefit through their online stores as their business is open 24X7.
- They can display a wide range of products on a single portal or multiple portals.
- They can cater to a large number of customers which is not possible in a physical store because of space constraint as well as time.
Cons for Consumers
- One of the greatest drawbacks on online grocery shopping is that no matter how convenient and time saving it is, for grocery shopping, the real fun lies in hand picking the food items personally. You are not always sure about the freshness and quality of online groceries. Somebody else choosing your food items, especially when it comes to choosing fruits and vegetables, will never seem as good as if you had personally chose the items in the store yourself.
- There are many of us, especially the Indian housewives, who are not still accustomed to the idea of buying food items online. So navigating a site and choosing a specific item becomes very cumbersome.
- Buying groceries online can be expensive too as you end up buying products at a higher price as compared to the same products available at a lower price in a local store. Plus, there are many online stores who charge the delivery price which is far more expensive than visiting the nearest super market.
- Also, there can be delay in delivery of products in online shopping.
Cons for Companies and Normal Grocers
- While in a physical store, you can very easily attain the trust of your customers for that personal touch and you end up having regular customers, this may not be the case in an online store. It is very difficult for a dissatisfied customer to persuade him/her once gain to visit your site.
- Maintenance of an online site is also not so easy. On an online store, as a manufacturer or as a grocer, you must always be on your toes 24X7 to make sure that your site is functioning well, there are no technical fall-outs plus you have to make an extra effort to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.
Some Well-Known Online Indian Grocery Stores
As already mentioned, in India, a number of online grocery stores has come up in recent years. There is no single grocery portal for PAN India. Grocery stores have been localised by cities:
- BigBasket is India’s largest online food and grocery store catering to four cities Banglore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. (http://bigbasket.com/)
- Nature Basket is Godrej’s retail store now moving over to online selling too. It is one of the best online grocery stores in India. (http://www.naturesbasket.co.in/)
- Localbanya, which started operations in Mumbai few years ago, operates in five cities. (http://www.localbanya.com/).
- Salt n Soap is one of the leaders in this segment in Kolkata market. (http://saltnsoap.com/)
- Mylocalbazaar is another online store in Kolkata.( http://mylocalbazaar.com/)
- Freshetarian.in is the only player providing online grocery services in Jaipur.
- Biggmart is a premium online grocery store in Pune.(http://biggmart.com/)
- MyGrahak is an online grocery store of Delhi/NCR. (http://www.mygrahak.in/)