With the rise in population and the growing demand for perishables, the hyperlocal food industry is joining the digital revolution as it turns out that grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking are considered chores by a large chunk of our country’s populace. With the dwindling presence of brands like Grofers and others in the market, finding another solution to this problem is imperative. Providing fresh fruits and vegetables to customer has been getting harder and harder, especially in volatile locations of our country – places where internet connectivity is low or sometimes illegal to own and hard to create a sort of infrastructure to create an efficient operations model. Two students from Hyderabad thought hard about this problem and coupled with their own startup aspirations, Rohan Bhatial and Satvik Gupta, founded SabziNow in December 2015 to finally bring an end to this menace in Jammu & Kashmir.
This Jammu – based startup procures and delivers farm – fresh fruits and vegetables in the city. Initially starting out in the thrust market areas of Gandhi Nagar, Trikuta Nagar and Channi Himmat, with door to door marketing, they have now been receiving and delivering orders to the outskirts of the city.
They began their journey with a market-survey for one month to examine the pain points of the city and found three major challenges: Jammu being a small city, meant time in hand is aplenty. People would rather walk down the lane and shop while they bask in the hilly sun. Women, the largest part of the target customer base, are not very open to operating and ordering vegetables and fruits on a mobile app. Jammu & Kashmir is not conducive to do such a business because of its extreme and volatile situations being a common occurrence – thus hampering operations.
Solving Problems In A Niche Area
To overcome these issues and challenges, the duo worked on four points: quality of the service, their packaging, its availability, and last, cutting and chopping. They serve cut pineapple, pomegranate, among other fruits, which people refrain from buying simply because of the work involved in “peeling and cutting”. A small amount is charged for cutting. The delivery usually takes upto 90 minutes with a minimum order of INR 200.
To ensure their quality, they check their products at 3 stages – The first check happens while procuring the goods. The next check is done while the order has been taken and the final check happens upon delivery . With a 100% return policy, this startup has already created a name for itself in the city. Apart from delivering fruits and vegetables, SabziNow offers a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables which are rarely found in Jammu. Ranging from dried avocados, kiwis to dry fruits, the founders are in constant hunger to continue adding a diverse variety to the menu to always ensure customer satisfaction. They procure these products from the outskirts of Jammu and also from New Delhi.
Innovating To Stay On Top
SabziNow has come a long way from when they started off. In a location, where internet and web access is often blocked and down due to hostilities, they have created a call and order system to circumvent the ailing problem of using the internet to order, something very unique in this space.
These two young entrepreneurs are now at the stage where they are prepared to look for funding and advisory opportunities from other agencies. SabziNow started with a seed money of INR 1 lakh and broke even in the first two months. Entering their seventh month of inception, their plans include expansion to a few cities in Punjab ,for which they’re looking for funding and gradually increasing their penetration to more farms now that their business model has passed their run successfully.
Following a strategy of capturing niche markets only, where the bigger players are not plying their trade, SabziNow has prepared the right strategy to go slow yet steady and as we know, that’s going to make them win the eventual race!