These times are unprecedented! With COVID-19 present outside the doorsteps, billions of people around the world are forced to stay in, and do everything from home, whether it is work, study, entertain or shop. It has taken consumers around the globe just a few months to adapt to the rapidly changing retail situation. Even as markets and economies continue to struggle to hold themselves steady, digital shopping marks the changes in the retail behaviour of consumers everywhere, including in India. As Indian consumers increase their focus on health, grocery and household items to be purchased from the comfort of their homes, a friendly neighbourhood community ecosystem has been personified in the form of a one-stop shop called LOCALMARKET.
Mr. Sanjay Guha, Founder & CEO, Localmarket, is the brain behind this uniquely innovative, yet familiar, concept of shopping for everything from inside your doorstep. Their motto is “You Ask – We Deliver – Anything!” As Mr. Guha explains, “We have launched a unique concept, with Mumbai-based operations for now, but going by the response we’ve received since Localmarket went live, we are really confident of replicating the same level of success in other parts of the country as well. Localmarket is a virtual equivalent of the hypermarket and it delivers basically anything and everything to its customers.” He further adds, “From fresh fruits and vegetables to groceries & consumer electronics, we deliver a wide range of products & services required for the stay-at-home customer.” However, that is not all! Localmarket will source each and every item/service from local businesses, including local cart vendors, who subscribe to their standards of quality & hygiene. All this will be done to deliver the order within quick delivery timelines. After all, whether it is bread or refrigerator, customers don’t like to wait longer than usual. This is where Localmarket truly lives upto its name.
Mr. Guha, who is also Founder-CEO of Acquist, Acquist Realty and London Realty Connect, is passionate about sales, marketing and new ventures. It is this passion that brings to Localmarket, which is touted as one-window, digital shop for the new-age Indians. He also informed that a Localmarket mobile app is also getting made to allow customers more ways to get in touch for their needs.
Localmarket is a remarkable concept in not just its inception but also in its methodology. Their approach towards local vendors, even those selling in micro-locations, is driven by the “Vocal for Local” sentiment currently prevalent in the country. Speaking more about it, Ms. Ipsita Guha, Co-founder and Director, Acquist Asia, the force behind this venture, said, “We were clear from the beginning that we were going to be different from the usual supermarket chains and, instead of hogging the retail space ourselves, we wanted to give a chance to thrive to the local vendors, who are, obviously, the worst-hit in this current pandemic situation.”
As Unlock 4.0 progresses, Indian consumers continue to show a marked change in the way they purchase their daily as well as specific needs. As per an online survey done by Business Insider, 60% of respondents of ages 18-34 and 64% of those in the ages 35 to 49 reported “increased usage of certain social media platforms.” This means more consumers are looking online when it comes to spending their free time. This is where Localmarket owners are looking to capture the market. Be it the big boys of retail space or your local Kiranawala, every format of supply comes with its own set of shortcomings. Moreover, with the super-mechanised ways of online daily needs platforms on one side and the unprofessional & limited approach of the local shopkeepers on the other, there is a lot of middle ground to cover, which is what Localmarket is aiming to do, in a humane way!
Ms. Namrata Goyal, Senior Vice President – Strategy and APAC Business – confirms that they have plans to grow beyond their current geographical reach. She said, “We are more than satisfied with the customer response so far. Keeping in mind that it will be some time before customers can really gain the confidence to go out and start shopping like the good, old days, we are confident that we will be able to capitalize upon the current situation arising out of COVID-19 and in the coming months, we will increase our foothold in the industry.”
Mr. Prasenjit Mahatma – Vice President, Operations (Delivery & Logistics) – shares some details, “We have identified the best suppliers for every product, right from a sack of potatoes to washing machines. We source the ordered products or services from the concerned supplier and make the delivery. There is no warehouse, or a brick ‘n mortar structure involved in our operations. This keeps things as fresh and untainted as possible for the customers. People who love to eat seafood would appreciate the importance of keeping things fresh. In fact, one of our most popular ranges is the non-veg products range, which is currently selling like hot cakes.”
Ms. Sonali Singh – Business Head, Sales & Customer Service – says that all the suppliers are handpicked and these are located across the city of Mumbai, allowing the company to cater to micro locations in terms of customer base. Talking about their current milestones, Ms. Singh says, “We have reached a substantial number of regular clients who have given us very good feedback for our services. We are a completely home-grown company with our focus on generating positivity in the local economy through our approach.”
As per experts, Indian consumers are increasingly getting online with every passing day and this change is the most visible in their purchase behaviour. So, if a company like Localmarket opens up its online presence and adopts an excellent customer-focused approach in an efficient manner, it will realise its retail dreams sooner than later.