DREAM FEAT – Ankith Nazre – GroceshoppersPosted: November 29, 2014
This week, we feature Ankith Nazre, who’s the sole founder and director of Groceshoppers (http://groceshoppers.com/), an e-commerce grocery store that specializes in spices. Ankith assures us that the hand picked spices he gets are only from the finest parts of India. We wanted to learn more about how he started Groceshoppers, and why he wanted to get in the business of selling spices.
Dream:IN: What was the ‘ah ha’ moment that inspired you to start this website, Groceshoppers?
Ankith: To do something of my own was my passion. When we started exploring on e-commerce, we began research on market behavior and how customer would respond and support. We were amazed when we figured out that that people are migrating to window shopping and this sector is currently growing at the rate of 300%. Concluded that it was the right time, it’s now or never and we eliminated never.
Dream:IN: Why did you want to get into the e-commerce industry, and specifically grocery? What was the inspiration?
Ankith: Our interests was always agro-sector, and we had already researched and explored a lot on spices and other specialized crops of Indian soil for exports. When we decided to move on with e-commerce, the first thing that we had in our mind was grocery as we didn’t want to start anything from the scratch again, nor did we want give up on our interest in Indian Agro.
Usually decisions are made on inspiration. This time we made our decision when we analyzed the market, utility, competitors and the knowledge that we could add value to customers, knowing their needs during their busy schedules, we were more inspired to hit the market soon.
Dream:IN: What was your previous experience in the e-commerce industry?
Ankith: I previously was lucky to be a part of the core operations team of a prominent e-commerce company in India. I was assigned to engineer/design new programs, processes, launches and to re-design existing processes for the upgraded business.
This is where I learnt everything from the scratch. I was most lucky and will be ever grateful to my “bosses” who taught me lessons like they would do to their kids. These lessons, the experience of working with such an organization, and my interests on exploring got me here.
Dream:IN: How did you come up with the name ‘groceshoppers’?
Ankith: This is a tricky question! My team and I were working on analytics during our initial stages, and it was around 2:30 AM. We were winding up and don’t know why we thought of naming the site. We decided that it has to be catchy and should relate to customers, because without them, the site would make no sense. Within 8-10 minutes, it struck us that customers visit our site to shop grocery, we call them groceshoppers and thought why should we not name the site also groceshoppers? There were no “if’s and but’s”, we just proceeded with buying domains and things.
Dream:IN: Currently, how many employees and team members does ‘groceshoppers’ have?
Ankith: We are a team of 3 active members and 3 guys working virtually. We haven’t started hiring employees yet, but just outsource delivery/transport stuff only when we are over loaded.
Dream:IN: What makes this site different than your local super market? How do you guys plan to get ahead?
Ankith: Its always time-saving when people shop online, when compared with the local supermarket, which is common with all online stores. When it comes to groceshoppers, any online store, supermarkets or even kirana stores, where we stand unique is we directly deal with the respective society for all staples in various parts of the country; a result of which have assured least prices, at least for now, when compared to other players in the market, provided the quality of the same products are the best and hand picked.
We did not want to compromise on any service factors though we are running this in real narrow margins and this is one reason why we have a 10 days return policy when others have a maximum of 7 days.
Dream:IN: How do you plan to innovate and change the grocery industry? And the e-commerce industry?
Ankith: To be frank we haven’t yet started with it. Grocery is something which is used by all and various people of different life styles and food habitats. We want to give the option to customers to choose the kind of staple they want and of the origin they wish. For instance, a person migrated from the core of Andra Pradesh will love if I serve him chillies from that origin in Bangalore. This is something no e-com industry has done and when it comes to the grocery industry, we want to be in a place where groceshoppers should be the name they remember when customers are looking for specialized grocery including organic products. This structure needs a bigger inventory when compared to the usual structure which is why it falls in our 1 year road map.
Dream:IN: You mentioned something about going into the export business?
Ankith: Yes, exports is something we started off with. We were dealing with exports of Indian spices, dry fruits, coffee and agro of Indian soil(cereals & pulses). We initially wanted to excel in exports and then wanted to get into the Indian retail market. On the ground situation, we foresaw the other way working good for us, which is why we switched to plan B which is vice-versa.
Dream:IN: How many orders are you shipping out on a weekly basis?
Ankith: We are currently shipping out 35-40 orders a week. We started with 7-10 orders 2 weeks before this and we have just started promoting on social media and looking to slowly release the lever.
Dream:IN: Tell us about the spices you sell, how you pick which ones to sell ?
Ankith: We have listed all kind of spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, pepper, cardamon, chilly, turmeric, nutmegs, star anise, cloves etc..) on our site. When it comes to choosing which one to pick, we always go with the best origin. This was the way we dealt for exports and are following the same for retail as well.
Dream:IN: What do you find so interesting about spices? What’s do you think is the most beautiful things about spices?
Ankith: Spices are something that needs to be a part of ingredients to enhance the flavor in most of the meals or food, irrespective of the quantity. For that matter, any habitat and lifestyle. The most interesting thing is the way it is grown; most of the spices are grown in the natural way without additional chemicals to increase production.
Dream:IN: Are you coming out with any new features or products in the future?
Ankith: Yes we want to soon! We want to introduce delivery in an hour in serviceable geographies. We want to also display the origin of any staple we sell along with its nutrition as description. We’re also looking to introduce value-added services like getting customers in touch with cooks/maid/chef of their choice for their convenience.
Dream:IN: What’s the process of selling or adding new inventory to the list of products you sell?
Ankith: This process broadly happens in two ways:
a) New product launches with good deals from brand end.
b) On customers request.
Most frequently we come across the second scenario, post which we work on numbers with respect to percentage conversations, the margins, storage, minimal stock to be inward-ed and of course inventory space required. We proceed if numbers are convincing, otherwise we push it a little, on our road map.
When we have a number of such requests we prioritize them based on analysis.
Dream:IN: How do you view the current e-commerce industry in India now?
Ankith: These are yet the initial stages of an online era, a lot of people migrating to window shopping due to which e-commerce in India is growing at the rate of 300%
For any e-com startups, this would be the right time to kick off. Like today’s prominent players say, we also agree and foresee that 2-3 years down the lane people would visit malls just to watch movies and eat food.
Dream:IN: What tips do you have for budding entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Ankith: New people out there are smart enough to handle things! We would want to say two things:
-Do not to give up, plan for the worst situation which can prolong for two years. People who sustain this circumstance for 2 years will definitely break through.
-Any business would take time for returns. Along with what you are doing, also pick something of similar nature that fetches you money in lesser span and helps you in reaching where you want to be in long run.
Dream:IN: Thank you so much for the time Ankith. We wish you all the best, and hope you keep Groceshoppers spicy!