How to start an Online Grocery Store in India ? – 1
Guide to Sell Grocery Online – 1
There is no better time than now! Don’t hold yourself back, its easy to sell groceries online. I think by this time you would have asked the question how to start an online grocery store. Let me give you a step by step guide to setup your digital shop.
Intro To Start an online grocery Store
Online grocery business is expected to grow at a rate of 25-30% per year in majority of the cities in India and is expected to cross $25 billion by the year 2020. The growth is so rapid that major players such as Ola, Flipkart and Paytm are already investing in this segment. With technology becoming accessible and simpler it is now quite easy to set up an online grocery store. This is especially true with the presence of ecommerce platforms such as Shopnix.
Most of these online grocery store work on the franchise model. Simply put, it is nothing but collecting orders through one common portal and then assigning the orders for delivery to designated stores. Although it may sound a simple idea to execute, some of the key steps need to be planned well to ensure success with this idea.
This series aims to help you plan to setup a franchise grocery store in India. Lets first understand some of the basic steps involved in setting up a franchise grocery store.
There is no such a deal that you need to start with a franchise model. Even you can start with a single shop and then expand over time.
Steps When Planning to set up a Virtual Shop
- Identify/decide coverage area (Target Market)
- List known grocers in the area and discuss partnership opportunities
- Finalise order collection and delivery modules
- Calculate investment, comply with tax regulations, Identifying business opportunities and executing them.
- Setup office and hire relevant staff
- Set up the online store
To Sell Grocery Online You Need To Identify/decide Coverage Area (Target Market)
Since you are planning to start an online grocery business, you need to think like an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur will always look into the market and identify opportunities. You also, need to do the same. If you are planning to start an offline store and an online shop, then you need to decide where to position your store.
The decision should be made based on a lot of factors like;
- The demography of people who resides in the area
- Change management
- A strategic location
The demography of people who resides in the area
Your business needs to be build around people. When I say people, it should be people who are willing to take your service. Now you will be thinking, Why should I segment my market when I am selling vegetables and fruits? Good question. See it like this. You are planning to sell fruits that ranges form INR 1000 to INR 1500 per Kg, and the monthly income of people who resides in that location falls in a subset of 35k /month. It will be a dim-witted idea to start with premium products. With almost all grocery items having a shorter shelf life its better if you play smart.
Your offline store needs to be well setup. People are more convenient to buy from shops that are well maintained with fresh fruits and vegetables. Which increasing awareness among people you need to make sure that the products you sell are organic grown. Organic vegetables and fruits have a huge demand in the Indian market.
When comes to local shops, convenience plays an important role in deciding the success of your business model. Its not that you have a local store, the importance should be around, whether people are able to access your brick and mortar business. If the answer is yes then their exists an opportunity to make a better profit. Establishing a physical store will play a profound role in attracting local traffic. If your brick and mortar business is located in a strategic location then it gives access to a huge crown. Think about it like this, why most entrepreneurs prefer to establish their physical store in a busy street. They know where their customers move around and how to get their attention.
You need to set a perimeter for your service. When planning to provide home delivery its ideal if you start small and then slowly increase the area of reach. Its better if you start small and then expand over time. Don’t exhaust your resources in the initial days. Have a feasible idea, what areas can you cover with the least investment. Logistics is an expense for your business. As an entrepreneur, every penny counts.
Technology to Manage and Nurture Leads
You may feel that technology is not your stuff, you need to rethink. The digital world is a technology enabled realm. If you are not good with technology then their exists a great chance that you will end up failed. I am not talking about implementing an ERP system to manage your shop. It can be as simple as how you manage your leads through Whatsappp. Integrate a lead management and lead capturing system. Keep regular communication with the leads and make sure that the leads are nurtured in the right direction.
What Features Should I Look for When Planning to Start a Grocery Store
Select the Right Theme
Lets start with the theme,
We all judge a product based on how its displayed. If your virtual stores doesn’t have an elegant appearance then it becomes hard to convince the customers. People are too picky. On an average people spends around 5-7 sec on a website before they make the decision to proceed further along or to exit. You have a small corridor to convince the visitor. Before you start selecting a theme, please move around an find what theme does your competitors have, how the theme could contribute a sale. A complex theme can confuse the visitor and mislead the intend. You need to consider the importance of a simple UI and UX. A good theme should contribute to great customer experience.
All necessary features that are required to sell grocery online
Look for features that are required to sell grocery online. Its essential that you have all the tools that are required.
- Payment Gateway
- Product Management Tools
- Online Tools to Monitor the Digital Performance
- Discount Coupons/ Vouchers
- Social Integration Tools
- Courier Tracking
- Order Management Tools
- Logistics Management
- Marketing Tools
Sell Groceries Online through your Virtual Store
If you have a brick and mortar store then its better if you create a grocery store and promote your products online. Most millennials look online to by products. With an increasing propensity towards digital commerce its better if you have a virtual store to grab peoples attention.
The cool part about starting an online store is that it is simple and much cheaper than setting up a corporeal structure. Lets take Shopnix as an example, with Shopnix you will be able to create an online store with less than your monthly electricity bill. Don’t trust me please visit our pricing page.
Almost all the pre-build eCommerce platforms are created with a customer centric approach. Which makes these platforms much palpable for users to fiddle around and create a virtual store. A small signup and you will own an online store. When you own your own virtual shop, you get the advantage of customising and optimising your digital presence the way you prefer. With your virtual store you get the liberty to manage the website traffic and offer them a personalised experience.
For eg: Consider that a majority of your target audience are from Kerala. Then during festive seasons like Onam, you will get an opportunity to display additional products that are relevant to the festival.
Second thoughts, Why not offer a discount? It helps to add value to the target customers (discounts are great when you have a set plan to .
List known grocers in the area and discuss partnership opportunities
This strategy is best suited if you are planning to start with a franchise model or a marketplace model. Here you can try and cater to a diverse audience. It can be done by replicating the business model made for an online marketplace. Here you will tie up with multiple offline shops and will process the order based on the proximity towards the customer. If your online grocery store receives an order from a person who is in locality “a”, then you can reach out to the physical store in that locality and can ask them to deliver the products.
You can also create a market place to sell fruits and vegetables. In the online marketplace you can list all the local shops and can charge them a subscription fee every month or a percentage of what ever they sell (commission base).
Foremost step is identifying the potential areas and listing the grocers who would be interested in this model. As mentioned before, online franchise grocery store involves you collecting the orders, and then getting it delivered through a grocer who is closest to the area where the delivery is to be done. So you need to have a strong network of grocers who are willing to take up your orders and fulfil them on priority.
We will next look into three most important aspects of this model:
- Order collection
- Order execution
- Payment collection
Top Challenges You need Tackle
Selling grocery doesn’t come with any novelty. For an agricultural country like India grocery is not new. For the past few decades, we had local markets and kirana stores that sell fresh vegetables and fruits. So when planning to start an online grocery store you need to be sure about how you cater to the market, and the way you offer the solution will add value to the customers. It’s not that everybody in India is having a plan to buy vegetables and fruits online. You need to educate the people about the convenience the solution offers. After all, your business model is threaded around the core concept of the customer first. You customers can sit on their couch and can place an order online.
Competing with well-funded brands
When you are competing with well-funded grocery brands like BigBasket who make use of celebrities like Shahrukh Khan as their brand image, you need to be careful with your marketing strategies and where you make your investment. Funded brands like BigBasket and Grofers offers huge discounts, and competing with those high volume sale strategies doesn’t seem like a good strategy (unless you are well funded). What you can do is to focus on a specific market segment and concentrate on the segment. Start small, serve to a specific audience, monitor, analyse, and learn. Once you excel in a specific market segment then it becomes easy to replicate the winning strategy to another cohort.
As a fruit and vegetable stall, your investment is limited. You don’ have a huge investment at your disposal. Every decision needs to be wisely optimised with the budget. Find a well-balanced strategy that consumes the least investment. Plan and be prepared, it is not a wise strategy to invest in areas that you are not confident. When comes to marketing if you lack the wit to decide which marketing channel is best for you. Please feel free to reach out to an expert who can help you invest in the right marketing channel.
How to Make the Discounted Strategies a Profitable
Running multiple discounted strategies may not be the right solution to create loyal customers. If discounts and offers are not adding value to the net profit, then its something that you may need to reconsider (Or you can plan an execute drip campaigns to build a strong relationship with the customer). Sales are the lifeblood of business but need not be justified just with the turnover. You need to generate enough profit out of your business.
A discounted single sale is a cost to a business entity. With increasing online competition and raging price wars, online retailers need to consider strategies that will help them bring back the customer and make repeated sales. If you are planning to start an online store that sells organic groceries, there happens to exist a perceived value among the customers. Never let a discounted strategy compromise your perceived value.
The Grow Big Fast Theory
The grow big fast theory depends on multiple factors. It’s not that every online business model in India is able to generate money and scale up fast. Most successful online ventures had a novelty to bring to the market, and a favourable condition to grow. Success comes when you work hard and have the patience to delay gratification.
Top Strategies to Sell Grocery Online
Sales play an important role in keeping your business afloat. The low marginal profit is often the biggest challenge when comes to the grocery business. That’s one great reason why a grocery owner/ kiranawalla always tries to increase
the volume of sale. With increasing competition getting visitors to the shop is often the primary objective of an online store. When planed and used wisely the digital channel can drive large no: of relevant traffic to your store.
Here we will discuss few online marketing strategies that will help you promote your business;
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation is a widely used digital marketing strategy to promote business in the virtual world. The most amazing part about SEO is that anyone can do it. All you need to do is learn and understand what are the best practices and how to implement those. SEO mainly depends on a couple of factors like How optimised is your site? What is the domain authority of your site? How people perceive the content on your website? etc.
As your business is a long-term investment, so does SEO. You don’t open a store expecting that it could make you rich within a month. If you are new to the market then it takes time for you to understand the nitty gritty of the market. The Grow Big Fast concept will never work with SEO. The search engine (predominantly Google) need to find value in whatever you are offering online. Then and only then you get a chance to compete on SERP and rank for relevant keywords. Also, there are a lot of factors that Google considers before ranking a webpage.
Use your SEO strategy to educate the customer. Let people find value in the website.
Social Media Promotion
Bet you are familiar with this one. In this strategy, you will make use of social channels to sell grocery online. Social media is effectively used by small businesses to address their target followers. Even you can use this channel to promote your offering among target customers. That too without spending a dime.
The secret to social media marketing lies in your skill set to network. You need to find our target customers and then address their concerns so that when in doubt they tend to reach-out your help. Don’t confuse social media as a broadcast media. With 100’s of post being shared in a second your customers won’t get the luxury of probing. Instead, you need to do it for them. Every post you share should have a purpose.
Interact and engage with people. Once your presence is felt then it gets easier for you to convert them into loyal customers.
Emails, WhatsApp, And SMS! These are the main three channels that are used for push marketing. See it like this, you have a loyalty program running in the grocery store. At the point of POS, your representative will hand over a tablet to your customers and ask them to share their email and phone no, so that a virtual account will be created for them and the credits will be added for individual purchase. Your customers are too lazy to drag themselves down the road and just to buy grocery. You need to give them a reason to visit your store.
Guess what you can make use of these push marketing strategies to lure your customers to your grocery store.