Questions. When was the last time you needed grocery supplies at two hours’ notice? What was it you really wanted to order and what did you do about it?

  1. Popped in at the neighbourhood kirana store and got it
  2. Called the local store to deliver it
  3. Looked for an online app which would deliver at a short notice

Chances of it being ‘a’ or ‘b’ are high. If it is ‘c’, you are among a handful of consumers in urban India living in a locality which is well-ringed by multi-brand outlets and serviced by concierge apps and the on-demand players. As for what you could have possibly needed at such notice, the majority would have fallen into the basket of chips, beverages, packaged edibles—staples to satisfy cravings or entertain unexpected guests.

These do not an online grocery delivery business make. “These are products ordered typically two to four times a month,” says Anant Goel, founder of grocery delivery service Milkbasket in Gurugram. If you didn’t notice, Milkbasket is a funny name. That’s because the company started with the idea of delivering milk to a user’s doorstep every morning, before 7 AM. This was back in 2015. Soon after, the company added grocery items.

Delivering grocery to your doorstep at a price where a business can make money is tough business. Simply put, the last four years have seen a wave of businesses high on venture capital money, hoping to steal you away from your nearest kirana store. They’ve thrown everything at the pursuit. Money. Strategy. Marketing. Celebrities. Discounts. Promises of a smile at your doorstep. Companies like Grofers, bigbasket, Peppertap (dead), LocalBanya (dead), ZopNow, Milkbasket, and of course, the deepest pocket of them all, Amazon.

It will be fair to say that when Amazon enters a business, you expect some fireworks, the semblance of a workable business, but in just under a year, Amazon is nowhere close to solving for grocery. And we mean Amazon Now.

Grocery accounts for Rs 120-130 crore of business for Amazon every month, as compared to Rs 150-160 crore per month done by bigbasket according to Shubham Anand, head of retail, consumer products and goods at RedSeer Consulting. However, the contribution of Amazon Now, which is a separate grocery delivery app, is a fraction of the total number for the segment. The online market for grocery is growing 60% year-on-year and is set to touch $1 billion (Rs 6468 crore) by the end of 2017, according to an industry report by RedSeer consulting.

With Alibaba throwing its weight behind bigbasket, and Flipkart attempting an inventory model-based second coming, the online grocery segment will continue to be a potential area of growth. “Close to 65% of purchases are made in the food and grocery segment and it cannot be taken lightly by any of the players,” says Anand, adding that no single player can be said to have cracked the model for the online market.

AUTHOR

Payal Ganguly

Payal started writing news features six years ago and has written on startups, civic issues and education. Currently based out of Bengaluru, she has worked with The New Indian Express in Hyderabad and more recently, at The Economic Times, writing on e-commerce and logistics. A post-graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, she will be writing on e-commerce, science and technology at The Ken. She firmly believes that Bollywood classics have the power to heal and inspire.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.