Reimagining grocery shopping with a single consumer super app instead of multiple service provider apps
In most markets world over users are bombarded with mutliple choices of apps for doing their online grocery shopping. In India, for grocery items that can be delivered quickly via bikes, there are 4 different players fighting to grab users in major cities — Dunzo, Swiggy’s Instamart , Zomato’s Blinkit and Zepto. This is further complemented by players like BigBasket (part of Tata group), Reliance’s JioMart and Amazon Fresh that offer deliveries of even larger items via mini trucks or three wheelers.
Most of these apps do not have major UI/UX differentiation as their designs mostly contain the same ingredients : a list of FMCG goods that are divided into relatable categories , options for users to build a shopping cart , option to pay digitally at checkout screen and option to pick a delivery time. Only lockin users have to any apps are the purchase of any subscription program for 1 month or upto 1 year to get free deliveries or item discounts.
This blogpost aims to reimagine the grocery shopping experience for the user by suggesting the design of a single super app for the user that is independant of all delivery apps. Delivery partners will become pure plugins into such an app. The same app can also have extended utitlity to aid users when they are shopping physically at a store with features like digital checkouts, AR based shopping assistant , etc.
1, Online shopping experience
Such a consumer super app can bring following new features to online grocery shopping :
i, List of items & SKUs published and maintained by FMCG brands directly
Each FMCG company has the most accurate details of their products including pictures, product details, etc. Currently most shopping apps take the pictures inhouse and manually enter the details. In most cases it end up being not fully legible and not in a digitally reusable format. This consumer app will instead allow FMCG companies to publish and update details of the products in the catalogue directly.
This will ensure following advantages :
- Most accurate and up-to-date product info directly from brand owners
- Digitally reusable product info which can further inputted to other apps used by the consumers like a calorie counter app or a recipe app
- Quickest update to a customer on a new or updated product thus enabling them to start shopping for latest products
ii, Delivery service automatically chosen for user’s online shopping basket
The consumer app is purely focussed on digital shopping part and does not maintain stock or provide any delivery service. It will instead allow all grocery delivery companies to provide their details to the consumer app When a customer completes a shopping cart, it will fetch the latest details from the different grocery delivery companies and allow customer to give a consent on which service provider to use.
Non-branded likes vegetables and fruits can be included without any brand mentioned and the list of available options will be an aggregrated list of the varieties stocked by nearby grocery delivery companies. In-house brands of different delivery comapnies can be included as an FMCG brand and included in the menu list.
The suggested ordering of delivery providers shown to customer on final checkout screen will be based on the following factors :
- Stock availability at the delivery company’s end for the items in the user’s basket.
- Delivery time guaranteed by a grocery delivery company for the items in the users basket
- Discount rates on the products and offers on various payment options
- User can be suggested deliveries from multiple service providers to cover all the items included in their shopping cart or to ensure maximum savings for a give set of items.
iii, User specific loyalty discounts by brands based on past digital bills
One major advantage of such a consumer shopping app is that it can finally provide the missing link between FMCG companies and their major customers. For shopping at physical retail outlets, the bills are not digitised or even if a digital copy is available , it does not link the FMCG companies to their consumers and are aimed for loyalty programs of the retail stores. For current online grocery shopping apps, though payments to receipts are all digital, their is still no link between FMCG companies and customers.
Imagine a user who has been buying a large SKU of a particular brand of detergent for many months in a row. The FMCG company would love to retain such a user by giving them some loyalty discounts irrespective of which platform the user shops from next.
The grocery shopping super app will provide following advantages :
- Enable FMCG companies to give loyalty discounts directly to the heavy shoppers of their brands instead of non-targeted general discounts for everyone. The app will user an intermediation logic that will collect the discount options from the FMCG companies for different usage patterns and publish the relevant ones to the user app based on past purchases.
- An instant digital user survery or feedback channel betweent FMCG companies and customers. Currently FMCG brands use the traditional user surverys, focus groups, market tests, etc to decide on new products or get feedback on existing products. This consumer super app could replace all that with a digital channel between brands and end users.
2, Physical store shopping experience
Online grocery shopping is still nascent in many markets and in India it is still less than 1 percent (Source : https://www.statista.com/topics/9572/online-grocery-shopping-in-india)
The above consumer app can also offer customers new experiences when they visit a physical store for doing their shopping.
i, Augmented Reality product info to know product details better
The product details printed on product packages are very tough to read as brands have to print lots of info on limited spaces. Plus to compare items users have to manually check each item. In the digital era, the grocery shopping app can provide an innovative way for shoppers to digitally view the details of items in a physical store . It can provide an Augmented Reality interface to display major product details as a info panel. The AR interface can also provide a quick product comparison option to view relative details of competing products.
ii, Digital carts by scanning QR codes instead of physical shopping carts
Physical retail stores could do a major change in their layout. Currently most outlets with limited physical area have an overcrowding of items which makes the store very cramped. This is because most of the outlets store their majority stocks in the user shopping area as seen below
Retail outlets can be possibly reinvented with the aid of a digital shopping app in the following manner :
- Seperation of shopping area and storage area
- For pre-packaged item , the shopping area contains samples of each items for each SKU with adjacent QR codes that a customer can scan in her/his grocery shopping super app to add it to the digital cart.
- While adding an item to cart , a shopper can also click whether that item is self pickup now or to be home delivered later.
- At the checkout counter, the store staff will pick the items from adjacent storage area , pack and give to the customer on payment. This will also eliminate customer theft issues in reatail stores.
- Items like vegetables, fruits, etc may still be kept in the existing way of having majortiy stock in the shopping area itself based on whether pre-packed or not. Customers can carry these in physical shopping carts.
iii, Option to choose between self pickup or a delivery service provider for each item at payment counter
Some of the items purchased at a physical store are heavier ones that are difficult for customers to carry inside a store to the checkout counter and also to transport to their homes. Best examples are 5kg+ packs of cereals or flours as seen in the below pic. Physical stores can offer a hybrid model where customers can decide some of the items or even the entire items are delivered later by the store’s own delivery crew or by a third party servcie provider for a fee. Customers may prefer to take the lighter and urgent need items with themselves instead of getting delivered later.