Don’t feel like getting ready to drive to the grocery store and wait in a long queue to finish off your routine shopping? Well, that’s no longer an issue! It’s a digitally-driven world now and as digitalization reaches its peak, life turns more and more convenient for the public in each and every sector.
As online trading rises in prominence, grocery stores are definitely not willing to trail behind. With eCommerce now revolutionizing the entire world, a large number of online grocery stores have now sprung up to fill the digital market. Yet not all of them have been able to withstand the volatile e-grocery industry. One such brand name which has risen like a phoenix in recent years is our very own Bigbasket.
Bigbasket has now established itself as one of India’s largest supermarkets over the period of a few years. Possessing this app on your device allows you to carry out your grocery shopping at home, residing on your very own couch. The e-grocer removes the obligation of visiting grocery stores physically, saving the time and efforts of its customers.
A couple of taps on our smartphones and we’re all set for our groceries to arrive at our doorstep. Presently the firm is conducting its business from its offices in Mumbai, Bangalore as well as Hyderabad.
One of the biggest online grocery supermarkets in the Indian nation, BigBasket was established in 2011, around the time when the e-commerce approach had been at its initial stage in the nation. The grocery platform has its primary headquarters in Bengaluru and delivers to many cities in the Indian nation which include Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Noida, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Vadodara, Visakhapatnam, Surat, Nagpur, Patna, and Indore
The platform had been founded during a period when the busy workforce of the Indian nation was encountering difficulties in allocating time to purchase groceries and essential home items.
Bigbasket gives its users the liberty of placing their order at any time and getting the order delivered at the time they find suitable. The e-grocer offers groceries and food supplies in a number of categories which include fruits & vegetables, food grains, oil, masalas, bakery items, beverages, branded foods, personal care products, household supplies, eggs, meat, fish, etc. Currently, it possesses a highly diverse collection comprising over 18,000 products across a variety of categories and also features over 1000 brands in its catalog. The startup emerges with a guarantee of the lowest rates and swift delivery services.
Presently as confirmed by Business Today, the platform holds a valuation of $2.5 billion. In its latest funding round, it raised funding worth 51.78 million through Alibaba and CDC Group.
The platform definitely doesn’t stand without competitors, a couple of which include startups like LocalBanya, Sequoia backed PepperTap and SoftBank funded Grofers.
In order to explore fresh opportunities and areas, the e-grocer has also introduced 3 new businesses which are namely, BB Daily, BB Instant, and BB Beauty. As confirmed by a report by Entrackr, through BB Daily, BigBasket witnesses about 300K orders per day.
As reported by Your Tech Story, the tale behind Bigbasket’s success showcases a high degree of passion and faith. Back in 1999, Mr. V.S. Sudhakar, Mr. Vipul Parekh, Mr. Hari Menon, Mr. V.S. Naresh, and Mr. Abhinay Choudhari founded the online business in India. Initially, the company was christened Fabmart.com. In 2001, the company launched an online grocery business, which was a part of Fabmart.
Upon it becoming a success, the founders decided to develop a physical retail chain termed Fabmall which was a part of a grocery chain supermarket in South India. Although the business was then sold to Aditya Birla Group in 2006 and rebranded to “More”, the passion of the founders for online groceries remained intact as a result of which they launched Bigbasket.com.
The timing they chose for this launch was indeed fortunate with the popularity of smartphones touching its peak. More and more people had started becoming willing to opt to purchase items online, a factor which Bigbasket took advantage of pretty efficiently. The company incurred its first round of investment of $10 million via Ascent capital post which they decided to boost their reach. The most paramount challenge the firm encountered was sustaining its business model amidst all the difficulties, for which they devoted 5 years for research purposes, concluding that the most effective approach for securing their place was to facilitate personalized services to their customers.
“Their commitment was long-term 1999 onwards. And their reason to stay put despite the initial failure was their passion to become pioneers of the Indian grocery market. All the right ingredients!” - Serial Entrepreneur and Promoter Krishnan Ganesh
The company has recently been facing extreme difficulties upon the onset of the COVID19 pandemic as it encountered severe staff shortage. The company handled it by shifting to a community selling model in which it is requesting apartment complexes to compile and put up orders together for their inhabitants. This aids the company in meeting the demands of the consumers despite having a shorter than normal workforce. The CEO of Bigbasket, Hari Menon specified that earlier Bigbasket’s delivery boys used to pay visits to a particular apartment at least three to four times for making deliveries in that same locality or apartment. Now, they embark to make deliveries three times a week.
E-grocers have been going all out to engage modern shoppers, being aided in this mission by new-age technologies. Bigbasket is making use of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and analytics to simplify logistics and boost customer experience.
“We are an e-commerce business where data is the new driving fuel. We leverage data-driven capabilities from several channels. Data is collected from transactions, customer preference, shopping behavior, etc to build a variety of algorithms (statistical algorithm, Deep Learning algorithm, and ML algorithm). All these algorithms are used for different use cases,” - Subramanian M S, Head of Analytics, Bigbasket.
Below are a couple of crucial technologies being leveraged by the E-grocer :
A couple of the analytics tools that Bigbasket leverages are Tableau which is leveraged for converting complex data to simplified versions and Power BI which is leveraged for interpreting data as well as for sharing insights on it.
Data analytics is playing a very pivotal role in boosting Bigbasket’s market. Let’s check out how Bigbasket is taking advantage of these tools.
Role of Analytics in Bigbasket
The Bigbasket team has to deal with a huge section of data that is largely unstructured. This data is obtained from studying the customer’s online behaviors and interpreting their transaction records. Hence customer analytics helps the company to comprehend the correlation between delivery matrix and customer loyalty.
The analytics team aims at enhancing and personalizing customer experience by facilitating them with all kinds of solutions. It also helps in detecting customers as well as boosting engagements such as communications as well as offers. The analytics aids in studying customer behavior so that the company can design its personalization according to it.
Predictive analytics helps to make sure that the firm is neither out of stock nor overstocked. This approach implies forecasting the demand, that will aid the supply chain team in their planning abilities such as the drivers, vans, CEEs, and equipment which are employed for various facilities. It also aids in examining the array of orders and volumes so that the team of the supply chain can strategize accordingly.
Bigbasket also employs applications that are powered by IoT ensuring the quality as well as the freshness of products like fruits, vegetables, or other grocery items.
While delivering fresh items from the warehouse to the doorsteps of the customer various issues need to be conquered which include managing the right temperature of the product or dividing hot, frozen, or cold items.
The IoT application aids in interpreting the information about the item to ensure that it is packed in the correct container and to help in balancing the varying temperatures of each individual item throughout the journey, from the warehouse to the final delivery place.
Technologies being leveraged by Bigbasket
The firm has invested in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning for coming up with smart kiosks which are also termed as “BB instant” as clarified by Subramanium in an interview.
These kiosks are basically smart machines connected via an app. The customer visits the machine and places their order via the app. The customer can then walk away immediately with the cart items, while the billing is automated from a cashless domain, in which the customer receives the bill through the app with multiple options for payment available.
The AI system is powered with in-built techniques for recognition, that detect the purchased products by employing image scanning principle through advanced deep learning solution. The system interprets and gives the right product to the customer and also handles the procedure of availability as well as billing.
When it comes to Machine Learning, Bigbasket relies on it as well as on analytics for guaranteeing prompt delivery. (Speaking of Machine Learning, you can also check out our latest blog on How to use the Random Forest classifier in Machine learning?) The delivery process is now initiated by detecting the common routes and status of vehicles in order to pack multiple order sets.
In order to initiate a flawless, prompt delivery, the team gains insights regarding the best route, the number of vehicles required on a particular route, and the present traffic situations from a variety of data sources. Through informative data channels, the Machine Learning driven model interprets real-time scenarios as well as the requirements of customers. The model aids in handling multi-level track of pickers, reverse pickers, scheduled deliveries, etc.
Hyper-personalization is another approach that aids in tracing the purchasing pattern. It offers the capacity to facilitate management right at the individual level. The company’s well known Smart basket feature employs Artificial Intelligence and algorithms to comprehend the customer’s preference towards buying certain items, which in turn enhances the overall purchasing experience of the customer. (If you like you can also take a look at some of our other blogs on Artificial Intelligence)
The biggest challenge faced by the startup was to get the users to adopt the service initially with the resistance level being largely higher. This challenge was followed by the challenge of retaining these customers while battling contradicting factors in the market such as competitors, local vendors, and purchasing habits.
Prevailing as a startup for grocery items at a time when traditional stores were not that outdated was definitely not an easy task and it took Bigbasket quite some time to gain the trust of its target market and get its potential consumers to start adopting its services. The startup’s market has witnessed cut-throat competition in spite of the rising rate. Although these professionals are gaining a strong market position over time. The company proceeds to be successful in the market with a good customer base.
“Tech is a key enabler, but the big part is the supply chain,” - Chief executive Hari Menon tells Tech in Asia.
Although Technology is being used for tracking orders, updating delivery details, managing inventory batches, and maintaining the website and its apps, yet as of now it does not find much paramount adoption when it comes to its distribution centers.
In terms of its future plans, Bigbasket has emphasized on a higher degree of investment in the field of IoT as well as Artificial Intelligence-driven innovations in the company.
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