Sparing time for frequent trips to the market to buy kitchen groceries especially fresh fruits and veggies has become a tedious task. Facilitating the need to shop regularly from the comfort of your home is the on line ordering system. Read on to know mor
Traditionally, people have been buying groceries like fruits and vegetables from market or either waited for the local vendors to turn up. In the last few years we saw emergence of organized retail stores like Reliance Fresh, More, Big Bazaar, Bharti Walmart and also franchised concepts ‘Safal’ by Mother Dairy. And now here comes the E commerce for selling horticulture products. With increasing computer literacy, clicking your buy options is not such a daunting task any more for increasing number of people.
While in countries like Australia and United States, the on line ordering system for buying fruits & veggies is well accepted and there is a flourishing retail franchise model for such business concept, now the trend is catching up in India also. Here, the concept of buying fruits and veggies through web sites is relatively new and limited to metros. But there are several entrepreneurs who are seeing the enormous scope of this business concept, realize that there is a huge untapped market for this unique idea and that these ventures are also franchisable.
There are web platforms like N-Fresh (Delhi), Veggie Bazaar (Chennai), Blive (Delhi), Farm2kitchen (Gurgaon), Mandi on Wheels (Surat) and Veg On Call ( Delhi) etc. These online grocers provide the convenience of buying Fruits & veggies from comfort of one’s home and deliver to his/her door step without the hassles of ‘cash and carry’ option in case of visiting a market place.
There are several companies which having been successful on their home turf are ready to explore other territories and opting for franchise model for quick and less capital investment requirement for growth.
Mandi On wheels: It is the online portal launched to cater to the urban consumer market. A venture started in 2007 by IIM-A graduate Akrosh Sharma, the on line ordering system targets working women and also other consumers who want quality horticulture produce. His business system includes ‘mandi-styled’ retail outlets and a website namely Mandionwheels. The stores offer seasonal and exotic assortment of fruits and vegetables offering a unique shopping experience of an organised retail store and a product display similar to the traditional mandi. Regarding the Franchise model for his venture, Sharma says," We are a Surat based venture having two operational franchisees and also signed one more which is expected to open in July with three more in pipeline for Surat city. The company provides back end support for its franchisees in form of sourcing and own ware house/refrigeration facility. The company would seek franchise expansion in other Indian states in coming years after consolidating its position in Gujarat."
Farm2Kitchen: The Gurgaon based company sells Fruits & Veggies on line and has gained popularity in its home city. The venture began in Feb 2011currently operates only in Gurgaon city. It is the first e-Com in India dealing in fresh farm produce which sells through Facebook along with company web site. The company has its own distribution centres in the city, no retail outlets as of now but is mulling over franchise route for expansion. Seema Dholi, Founder and CEO, Farm2Kitchen says, “We have received very good response from Gurgaon and people are very fond of our brand with in this short period of time. At the moment we are focusing on spreading our network in NCR (Delhi/NOIDA) and we would focus on going nationwide very soon. Yes! We are considering franchising our business as it would help us quickly reach more cities in India.”
Veg on Call: Taking large leaps via franchising is another unique concept Veg on Call that has established presence in its home city Delhi though ownership as well as franchise model. Established in 2009 with a focus of bringing the farms and society closer the venture has successfully utilised the power of supply chain and E-com. Mukesh Saini, CEO, Veg on Call, shares the concept of this unique business, “Veugoncall as a company is a relatively new as it is just been two years since it has started. The module of the firm is based on the home delivery of the fruits and vegetable to the people’s homes at the rate which is relatively less than that of the usual hawker selling these products. The idea was to make people realise that the inflation in the market is not due to the farmer’s but is due to the unorganised supply chain in the industry. Stating the business with an initial procurement figure of Rs 900 the business today has grown to a working capital potential of Rs 2.9 lakh a day.”
Currently, the company has three franchisees in Delhi region and looking to further its footprint in Mumbai in July this year. Later, the company aspires to grow to other metropolitans. The concept of Veg on call is relatively a low cost opportunity requiring an initial capital outlay in terms of money (between 5-50 lakh) and space (between 100-2,500 sq.ft).The company provides training and support of the franchisee through the various training modules. Also, the training manager visits the regional centres to provide the adequate training.
Telling us about the initial challenges faced by the venture and issue of competition , Saini elaborates, “There have been quite some challenges from the delivery schedules to software up gradations but they are the part of business and it will be very wrong for me to say that they don’t happen now cause they do and will keep on happening. Our USP is quality, quantity and delivery. Reliance Fresh, V Mart and sabziwala are not our competitors because we are not focused towards competing with them. We are just focused towards increasing the quality of the product rest is in the hands of the very dedicated franchisee partners we have.”
The company procures the produce from market and directly from farmers as well and distribution to the customer is done by the small franchisee. Also, the master franchisee requires refrigeration facility but it is rarely required by the small or sub franchisee.
At present the concept of ‘On line purchase of Fruits & Veggies’ caters to niche urban market and it can co exist with other business models like mandis, organised retail and the vendors. Therefore, E commerce of Fruit & Veggies offers a healthy and fruitful business opportunity on account of busier life style and people becoming increasingly comfortable in internet usage and the franchise model would help them grow rapidly and achieve desired scalability. So, all the interested entrepreneurs smell the fresh and ripe biz opportunity and be ready to relish your success!