The coronavirus pandemic has seen the emergence of a host of hyperlocal grocery business models. Not only did the likes of Dunzo scale up, even restaurant food ordering platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato quickly forayed into hyperlocal grocery delivery. Facility management companies such as NoBrokerHood also went the hyperlocal way. The new hyperlocal kids on the block are the local cable operators (LCO). If you happen to run out of essential grocery during festival time, you could order it through your LCO, and it would be delivered at your doorstep within an hour.
"The biggest advantage we have is familiarity with our customers. We have been in business for over 30 years and our customers trust us," points out Shiva Shankar, Owner, Mega2Mini Networks. Shankar, who provides cable connection to over 2,200 homes at Banashankari in Bengaluru, has partnered with a retail technology company, Snapbizz, to create a consumer app called Just Local. Consumers can view the grocery menu card of Snapbizz's kirana partners in the locality on the app and place their order. A member from Shankar's team would pick up the order from the local merchant and deliver to the customer. "The retailer gives us a 5 per cent margin for every additional business we get. In addition to that, the brand partners of Snapbizz are also willing to give us customer coupons, we are also able to offer discounts and buy one get one free offers," Shankar further explains. Apart from grocery, Shankar also plans to offer other services such as carpentry and plumbing.
The Just Local app is currently in pilot across cable operators in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Maharashtra. "Tamil Nadu has 32 cable operators and all of them have expressed interest in the grocery business," says Anbalagan, Owner, Visakha Media, a LCO in Ashok Nagar Chennai. Tamil Nadu has 20 million cable customer and the target is to onboard at least 10 per cent of the customer base, says Anbalagan.
"There are a lot of new entrants in the grocery business and the hyperlocal business with cable operators is rolling out too fast. Apart from the southern states and Maharashtra, there is interest from West Bengal too," points out Prem Kumar, Founder and CEO, Snapbizz. While bulks of the LCOs are tapping into Snapbizz's existing merchants, some of them have even opened their own grocery stores, says Kumar.
First by DTH and then OTT-platforms, cable operators' earnings in the past few years have got dented and they are looking at alternative sources of revenue. "We are helping LCOs across the country to generate alternative sources of revenue," says Shankar.
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