Facebook’s recent investment in Jio to support its venture Jio Mart, shows the potential of the online grocery business in India. Remember the times of demonetization, which made people use mobile wallets as a necessity, and now it has become a habit.
Similarly, in a positive way, this pandemic has caused people to shop online for groceries. And now, they are becoming extremely fond of ordering groceries online and getting delivery the next day at their doorsteps. Even after this pandemic is over, people will continue shopping for groceries online for all its perks.
India’s Grocery market is to grow to 10.5 billion dollars by 2023, according to reports from Redseer. Most of this market will convert to an online market as people keep avoiding visiting crowded retail stores and supermarkets in the aftermath of COVID-19.
You can use this huge opportunity to take your local grocery (Kirana) business online in India and tap into a new customer base. There is more than one way to start an online grocery business. Let’s look into them one by one in this article.
How to Sell Grocery Online in India?
There are two ways you can sell Grocery online in India:
- Sell on Online Marketplace
- Sell on Own E-commerce Website/ Online Store
Selling on Online Marketplaces
Online marketplaces have already been popular among millennials and gen-Z. But due to this pandemic, these online marketplaces like Amazon and JioMart are planning to partner with local sellers to provide next-delivery for grocery and other essential products. They already have a huge user database and with improved localized searches, they are ready to bring a big shift into the grocery business.
Here is the list of marketplaces where you can sell grocery and start an online business in India.
BigBasket is India’s largest online store for grocery and fresh foods. It’s already operating in all major cities in India and partnering with many local vendors to increase their reach even in remote places.
This is one of the best marketplaces to start your grocery business online, without any major investments. The seller/vendor registration to start selling on BigBasket is pretty simple.
Just go to the Partner Sign-up page and fill out the information in the form and submit. Their team will contact you for the further application process and once approved you can easily access their partner dashboard to list your products.
If you are a manufacturer of any grocery item or have fruit or vegetable farms, you can use Grofers to sell your products online. Grofers has a huge customer base and it’s operating in all major cities in India.
For small manufacturers, they provide 5 lakh rupees of credit to help them start a partnership with Grofers. They have over 7000 service partners in over 27 cities in India.
To become a partner with Grofers you can visit this link. Fill out the necessary information and submit a query. Someone from Grofers will contact to talk about further processes.
Amazon is the largest online marketplace to buy any goods anywhere in the world. In India, it has grown to become the most popular online shopping destination for online shoppers.
With the rise of demand for grocery and kitchen essentials, Amazon has started a platform called Amazon Prime Pantry to make vendors able to sell perishable and non-perishable grocery products online. But this platform is not open for all sellers, only Amazon vendors with an invitation can sell on Amazon Prime Pantry.
But if you want to enjoy the benefits of prime listing for a 1 to 2-day delivery process, you can list your business as ‘local shop on Amazon Seller Central’.
With the ‘local shop on Amazon’ program, your products get access to ‘Prime Badge’. So when people search on Amazon.in for products, they see your products faster. It also gives the seller more control over the supply chain and inventory.
Walmart owned Flipkart is one of the leading online marketplaces in India to buy a variety of goods online. To cover the online grocery market, Flipkart has started a separate platform called -’SuperMart’. It’s working effectively in 4 major cities in India and they are looking to expand the reach for doorstep grocery delivery.
You can register easily as a Flipkart seller with the following details:
- Bank Account
You can list products under food essentials to help people discover your products easily. Flipkart’s intra city delivery charges are lower, so, if you select this type of shipping, you can use Flipkart’s delivery services for convenience. Check out Flipkart’s fee structure here.
Jio Mart launched its website on May 24, 2020. It is ready to start a big venture with Facebook’s huge investment. The business model of Jio Mart is focused on connecting with local Kirana stores to ensure last-mile delivery. So, if you already have a local Kirana store and want to start an online grocery business in India, Jio Mart is a perfect platform to start.
To register as a seller or vendor on Jio mart visit this link – Supplier Registration. You will need the following details:
- PAN Card
- Passport size photographs
- Address Proof
- Shop Details (Name and all)
For more information on how to register as a seller on Jio Mart read this article – How to Become or Register as JioMart Distributor, Vendor, Franchise/Seller.
Selling on You Own Ecommerce Website
Selling on marketplaces is an easy way to start grocery business online in India and it also requires less investment. But for large scale businesses with multiple branches in different places can be difficult to manage with these marketplaces.
For a large scale grocery business, it’s best to start your own eCommerce website for selling online. But it would take a lot of market research to actually build a website and make it successful.
I’m sharing some basic steps to start an online grocery business with your own website. You can use these steps to use as a checklist before you start planning on building an e-commerce website:
Identify Audience and Their Needs
It’s important to understand your targeted audience before starting an online business. In the case of the online grocery business, you might also want to consider the locality of your audience as well.
Most grocery items are perishable and would require early delivery in one or two days. So, carefully understanding the locality of your business can help you in planning your packaging, shipment, and delivery services properly.
There are many other factors about your online audience that you might want to consider. Like their online shopping behaviors, the internet facility in your locality, the digital awareness of these people, and what kinds of problems they are facing currently.
Find a Supplier
If you already have an offline Kirana business, then you might be well-sourced with reliable suppliers for your business. But if you are just starting in Kirana business then it’s important that you partner with a reliable supplier for the supply of grocery items.
You need to make sure your supplier is delivering quality products with good packaging and timely delivery. Finding the right kind of supplier is essential for your business. This is preferred that the supplier is local and knows the area well.
Register Your Business
Once you have made contact with a reliable supplier, the next step is to legally register your business. Take the help of a professional tax consultant to complete the registration and other tax-related formalities.
You can either register as an individual for proprietary or register as a partnership firm. Once you successfully register your company, open a business account for monetary transactions related to business.
Register Domain Name
A domain name is a website address on the world wide web, where users can find your website. A domain name should be related to your business name. It should represent the niche and should be easy to remember.
For business locally in India, you can use the ‘.in’ extension for your domain. This will make sure to promote your website in India only. It also boosts your digital market efforts. You can register your domain name on GoDaddy or Bluehost. Bluehost has a 24*7 customer support system and provides fast hosting services.
Build a Website
For a successful online grocery business, a user-friendly, SEO-optimized, and fast website is absolutely necessary. You can’t afford to compromise on the quality of your website.
To build an e-commerce website there are two ways:
- To build a website using an e-commerce website builders like WooCommerce, Shopify, or Wix. Where you will get a well built CMS and dashboard to manage backend activities of an online store.
- To build a custom website using the latest frontend and backend technologies like HTMl5, CSS, Java, and PHP. This will take more time and investment, but you will have a high level of security for your online store.
There are different aspects of a website that you should consider while deciding on building a website. These are:
There are different aspects of a website that you should consider while deciding on building a website. These are:
- User Experience and User Interface
- Speed of website
- Back-end Management
- Fast Checkout Process
- Payment Gateways
- Order Tracking
- Inventory Management
Build and Manage Warehouse
If you are already operating an offline grocery store, then it shouldn’t be any problem for you. Because you can easily use the local store as a warehouse for your online business. But if you don’t have local stores, you will need to build a separate warehouse for online stores.
Make sure your warehouse is located in the same area as your targeted locality. It makes it easier for you to deliver on time to your local customers.
You can use warehouse management software to manage the stocks of products and connect them to your online store website. It will help your customers know if the ordered product is in the stock or not.
Setup Delivery System
Choosing a reliable delivery partner can be a challenging task. Because most people prefer absolute hygienic and timely delivery when it comes to grocery items.
Plus, you will also need the proper packaging of the products before delivering them. So choose a delivery partner who can fulfill all your requirements.
Also, check out all the possible options for delivery before you decide on one partner. Because you will invest about 30% to 40% of your total investment in setting up the delivery system. So a cost-effective and reliable shipping partner should be your priority.
Building a website and not investing in digital marketing, is like starting a business and not telling people about it. There is no way you can be successful in the online grocery business in India if you ignore the importance of digital marketing.
The most important parts of Digital marketing you should absolutely cover is:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- PPC Ads Campaign
- Social Media Ads Campaign
- In-app Ads
- User-experience Optimization
Carefully creative marketing strategy for your online grocery store, by targeting specific audience segments can help you bring potential customers. Learn more how Digital Marketing can help you grow your business online.
Providing Customer Support
Most people ignore this part of a business strategy when starting an online business. While other aspects are important for a business, customer satisfaction should be a top priority. Businesses that are successful are because they have earned the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Setting up a customer support system should be definitely on your checklist before you start an online business and should be your priority. Recruiting good customer support staff to be able to answer all user queries is one way to ensure proper customer support. But you can also utilize chatbots to instantly resolve queries from your users online.
Starting an online grocery business has its own perks and problems. You should research carefully before you step into this business. Knowing all the ins and outs will surely help in making an effective strategy for a successful business.
There is going to be a lot of competition in this market segment, so you should have eyes on your major competition. Competition is always beneficial for a business, this gives you chance to provide better services to your customers.
Amazon Sellers are businesses that sell their products directly to customers through Amazon Marketplace. While Amazon Vendors are mostly manufacturers and distributors. They give their products to Amazon to sell them to customers. Any business with the legal documents can become Amazon Sellers while becoming an Amazon Vendor is possible only with an exclusive invitation from Amazon.
There are two ways you can connect your grocery store online. The first way is to register as a seller on popular online marketplaces such as Big Basket, Amazon, Grofers, and Flipkart. The second way is to build an online store for your business and selling from your own eCommerce website.
If you are selling grocery at online marketplaces, you will have three major investments:
1. Marketplace commission
2. Marketing and Advertisement
But if you are planning to start your own eCommerce website to sell grocery, the major investments are:
1. Website development
4. Marketing and Advertisement
5. Customer Support