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Surviving as they can

Surviving as they can
In a growing economy like India, everything is moving at a fast pace be it in trade and investment, science and technology, education or agriculture. Some important measures were taken over the time to improve the conditions of the retail sector in India when it was realised that the then present policies were shackling the potential for growth and prosperity leading to drastic socio-economic reforms. <g data-gr-id="78">Well</g> change isn’t that bad after all especially when it is being done in favour and to improve the conditions of the people and their countries. On that note, two such changes, which more or less are astounding and somehow utilitarian, have taken place in the recent years. Amongst them a major change has betided, a change in the e-tail (electronic retail) sector, a change that has transformed the definition of online shopping and has taken it to the next level of easy accessibility and which has influenced the lives of online shopping lovers more than ever. It is none other than online vegetables and grocery shopping. 

When we talk about online shopping, we generally comprehend its relevance to apparels, accessories, electronics, gadgets, furniture, home décor etc., but to amalgamate grocery, vegetables and fruits shopping with the concept of online shopping is somewhat unconventional rather than inconceivable. E-shoppers are starting to get accustomed to this forward-looking trend. 

The second trend that has been prevalent in India since quite some time is mobile business or home delivery of goods including veggies and fruits. Here various supermarkets, shops and even vegetable-fruit vendors not only cater to the customers on the spot but they also provide home delivery services and also discounts on the products to their <g data-gr-id="72">patent</g> customers. 

Various websites and apps have been introduced across various cities of India in order to make comestibles’ shopping quite plain sailing. One such newly launched web app cum iOS app is PepperTap. PepperTap, the web app, which was launched on December 2014, has received tremendous response from all the consumers and within a span of six months has reached from 100 orders a day to 14,000 orders a day. Kriti Srivastava, marketing manager of PepperTap said: “My tiring weekly trip to the supermarket to buy household stuff and groceries was the genesis of this idea. We understand that there is a need for quick and convenient grocery delivery. 

Groceries are shopped for in every household almost every week and a visit to the local supermarket comes with certain pain points like waiting in long billing queues, driving and parking vehicles etc. In such a situation PepperTap comes at the rescue of the consumers.” When asked about their services, she said: “Our product portfolio spreads from fresh fruits, vegetables to food mart, staples and spices, food and drinks, dairy products, home and hygiene products, personal hygiene and baby need products. We offer wide assortments of products to our customers to choose from.”

“A customer receives the delivery within two hours of placing the order. Using the mobile app, one gets an option to pay through various payment <g data-gr-id="73">modes,</g> and choose either ASAP delivery or a slot convenient to them. Easier browsing, personalised pages will be a part of our next updates”, added Kriti.

With the trend of online vegetables and fruits shopping taking a swift course especially due to the monsoon season, people, who are not e-shopping buffs, rely on <g data-gr-id="98">the m</g>-business delivery methods. However, the sabjiwallas  (vegetable vendors) and phalwallas (fruit vendors) are unaffected by this transition. According to them, there isn’t any effect on the sales and they seem to be unaware of any such development. A vendor of west Delhi’s famous Keshopur sabji mandi, said: “abhi tak koi fark nai pada he in nae tareeko ke aane se. Jinko taaza sabji <g data-gr-id="112">leni</g> <g data-gr-id="113">hoti</g> he <g data-gr-id="114">wo</g> to <g data-gr-id="115">aate</g> hi he <g data-gr-id="116">chahe</g> <g data-gr-id="117">barsaat</g> ka <g data-gr-id="118">mahina</g> <g data-gr-id="121">ho ya</g> <g data-gr-id="119">garmi</g> <g data-gr-id="120">ka</g>.” When some people, who were at the mandi, were asked about the same, they said that as of now they do not know anything about any such apps or sites that sell vegetables and fruits too. They also said that they do not trust the home delivery aspect for vegetables and fruits, which until and unless personally chosen and purchased isn’t satisfactory enough.

 While the vendors voiced their opinion, the shopkeepers selling groceries, who <g data-gr-id="66">too</g> provide home delivery (m-business) services are quite aware of the e-business scenario. However, they beg to differ on the matter that e-business has taken a drastic turn and has affected their business. “We are doing well in our business especially now as this is the festive season. We <g data-gr-id="67">too</g> provide home delivery services and offer discounts to our regular customers”, said a shopkeeper selling groceries of Delhi’s Subhash Nagar.  

For a big name in the retail sector, Reliance Fresh seems to be unaffected by such transitions. When asked about the most preferable method opted by the customers, the manager of one of the Reliance Fresh outlets in Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar said “Have heard about some apps that are providing services of buying vegetables and groceries through online order placement but this hasn’t affected our business as people still prefer the <g data-gr-id="74">old fashioned</g> way, that is, to personally shop and purchase veggies, fruits or groceries. Even though we too offer home delivery services to our customers but people still prefer coming to the outlet rather than opting for home delivery service.”

When some shoppers were asked about the same, they too had the opinion that buying groceries and especially vegetables and fruits is something, which needs to be done personally. It is not feasible to completely depend on the online services or home delivery services as certain criterias such as the quality of the product, <g data-gr-id="70">its</g> manufacturing, expiration etc. of the delivered product might not fill the bill. 

So, people have mixed reactions regarding both the aspects and so a firm conclusion cannot be derived yet on which one is better or more popular as compared to the other. Both have some pros and cons and it will be too premature to comment anything specific as the trend of grocery and vegetables’ shopping through e-business or m-business will take time to run its course and fully take over or get recognised and appreciated.

But one thing can be said for sure that till now both of them, in their own way, have been able to garner a bit of positive response amidst such competition in the retail sector.
Sonali Mitra

Sonali Mitra

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