A click or a call can solve your shopping woes. All thanks to a bunch of enterprises in the city that deliver purchases to your doorstep, writes Athira M.
Prasad Narayanan does all the shopping for his parents, Narayanan Nair and Padmini. The fact that he is in Dubai has not prevented him from ensuring that his parents get their groceries on time. All that Prasad has to do is go online and shop at one of the many city-based e-stores that have begun to mushroom on the web.
“My son orders groceries, cosmetics, fish, meat and a lot of other things regularly from the e-stores. We have been their customers for the last eight months and it is a real blessing,” says Narayanan Nair.
Premjith Lal Bhaskaran is another non-resident son who does all the shopping for his mother, Vilasini Bhaskaran. “I have been a regular customer for the last two months. The delivery has always been prompt,” affirms Vilasini.
These senior citizens are not the only ones who are going online for shopping for essentials at e-stores. Busy professionals, hassled parents and techies are nowadays shopping on the net. “We have customers from Europe, the United States and the Middle East who do the weekly purchase for their elderly parents living in the city,” says Sajith Sasidharan, one of the founders of www.trivandrumgrocery.com. Shan M. Hanif, co-founder of www.kada.in, says the trend is fast catching up and many clients pay in advance.
The city has welcomed such online stores with open hands, especially by those who want to escape the heavy traffic, lack of parking spaces and long queues. Rush2You and D4Delivery are recent additions, where you can place orders via phone or by logging on to their websites.
Groceries, vegetables, dairy and bakery products, lifestyle products, electronic goods, medicines, chocolates, CDs, baby care products, fish and meat, gifts, food items, organic products… around 2,500 to 3,000 items are to be found listed on these sites.
All the entrepreneurs say that their clientele is growing by the day and they have started extending the area of delivery to the outskirts of the city as well. According to Shan, “Three thousand customers logged on to kada.in, out of which 1,200 have become regular clients.”
Techies run the show at trivandrumgrocery.com and kada.in. “In fact, we started the portal out of necessity. Initially, we had planned to cater to Technopark only,” says Shan. The portal now has a warehouse of its own to stock groceries and other products, has 20 employees on its rolls and three vehicles to transport the items.
“For the first six months we focussed on Technopark alone and later on moved to other parts of the city,” says Sajith. What came in handy for his team at trivandrumgrocery was their experience with the online sales of Tesco in the United Kingdom. The portal has tie-ups with a few supermarkets in the city and employs five people to manage the day-to-day operations.
Bigger shopping carts
In fact, the response has been so overwhelming that these portals are adding more products to the cart and even exploring new avenues to reach out to clients. Organic products have many takers, so too fresh fish and meat, which are delivered in special packages. These portals have hotline numbers where they often get calls to deliver medicines or even surprise gifts.
Of late, Malayalis from outside Kerala are logging onto the portals. “We’ve had customers from Hyderabad, Karnataka and certain states in the North-East placing orders for varieties of traditional Kerala rice, hair oil and other items which they don’t get there. But we haven’t taken such orders yet because we have no way to ensure whether the orders are genuine or not. However, we have undertaken certain orders from Chennai, especially for authentic CDs of certain Malayalam films.” Meanwhile, ventures such Rush2You and D4Delivery are not totally about online shopping. “A lot of people are not net-savvy. They just have to call us and place the order,” says Raj Baiju, who launched Rush2You in September last year. You can also send an SMS, Whatsapp, email or post a message on their Facebook page to place the order.
“No matter how small is your shopping list, say, just a toffee, we will buy it. Recently we got an order from Cliff House, the Chief Minister’s official residence,” he says, with a laugh.
Charges depend on the distance between the location of the call and the shop, the volume of the order and the time taken. “We deliver surprise gifts, pay bills and undertake bulk transportation,” says Raj.
D4Delivery, also launched in September, started out with delivering food. Now they also deliver grocery, vegetables and medicines, pay bills and collect clothes for dry cleaning. “It was after a lot of research that the team launched the service. We had a month-long trial run and found food was the best way to start with. Now we cover nearly 60 percent of the city,” says Abiram Suresh who started the venture with his friends Aravind Krishnan, Athul P. Renjith, Mrinal Mohandas and Abhilash.
First they entered into a tie-up with three restaurants by undertaking their regular home delivery service. Now they are associated with 14 restaurants, in addition to undertaking orders from many other eateries.
“There is competition now, so we take extra care while delivering food. For example, we use insulated bags that we got from Bangalore,” says Abiram.
To stay ahead, kada.in recently launched an Android app to personalise the shopping experience, while trivandrumgrocery.com is going for special weekly offers and will also be tying up with restaurants to add delicacies to the shopping cart.
Thus as they all compete with each other, let’s hope for an even better shopping experience.
At your ﬁngertips