Why I haven’t bought grocery online yet


Over the last few months, I have come across several online grocery shops – through news (someone quitting a big company and starting an online grocery store, or someone getting funded etc.), flyers with newspapers or radio spots.

The two prominent brands that come to mind are bigbasket.com and zopnow.com – both of which I have heard of more on radio than have seen online. But so far, despite being a regular online shopper, I haven’t had the urge to buy at either of these shops.

Online grocery shops are trying to change a well-entrenched behaviour i.e., of touching, feeling and seeing grocery before buying at a neighborhood Supermarket or a Hypermarket in a mall. The ‘touch-feel-see’ factor is primarily to gauge a store on primarily 5 parameters.

a. Quality of grocery

b. Consistency of quality over time

c. Hygiene at the store

d. Price – not just value but also consistent over time

e. Availability of items on my list

Now let’s see what bigbasket.com and zopnow.com are communicating to me. (I am purely going by the radio spots that I have heard from both these brands)

Bigbasket.com says “people are getting a lot more time on weekends thanks to bigbasket.com”

Zopnow.com says “you shouldn’t be wasting your weekend shopping and hence, shop at zopnow.com”

Hmm – interesting!

Let’s assume that Bigbasket.com and Zopnow.com are onto something with a consumer insight which says “I have too little time on weekends to spend on grocery shopping”.

One step both the brands seem to have missed is the fact that a higher order benefit (in this case “free your weekend”) has to be always anchored on a strong unique product promise. And the only anchor I can see is that ‘shopping is now online’ with the underlying benefit being ‘you save on time, petrol and traffic.’

But ‘shopping is now online’ is a promise any online shop can make leave alone an online grocery store. If your product anchor is generic, your promise will also be generic.

Which is what, I believe, has happened with Bigbasket.com and Zopnow.com, with the result that both brands are selling ‘online shopping’ rather than their respective brands. The communication is unclear on why one should buy at Bigbasket.com or Zopnow.com. So, if I replace ZopNow.com with AtMyDoorsteps.com, the radio spot still works. Not an ideal place for any brand to be in.

There’s a test brands can conduct on themselves.

They should ask their consumers to express their respective brand in ‘one word’. What do you think people will say for Bigbasket.com and Zopnow.com?

My guess is that one word will be difficult to come by and even if it does, it won’t be any different from the other. And that my friend, defeats the whole investment into advertising and marketing.

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