In conversation with Albinder Dhindsa, Co-Founder, Grofers
How and when did you feel the need to start Grofers? What makes Grofers different from the other grocery apps in the market?
We used to be a delivery service for local merchants and realized that the ordering process from these shops was still unreliable, offline and unorganized. Hence, we decided to build a front end system to help consumers order conveniently and quickly.
Grofers is a lifestyle mobile app that offers groceries, fresh fruits & vegetables, bakery items, pet care, baby care & personal care products, electronics, flowers and much more. The customer experience has been our core and that is exactly what differentiates us!
How much iteration did it take from the initial idea to the current product? How did you get your first few customers?
We started off on a B2B model. It was only later that we started catering to the end consumers. It was a major shift. The gradual change in the consumer behavior and technology complemented the concept of online grocery shopping. Also, the tech-savvy audience base contributed to the transition. Our iterations were more strategic than being product related in my opinion – once we knew what we had to build, we tried to put out the best version of it.
How do you handle the logistics involved in delivery items to customers within the specified timelines?
We have a huge network divided in stations or hubs as we call it. Our entire back end is technology enabled. The entire chain from the consumer, to CRM, to the store and to the delivery boy is mobile enabled with real time sync between different statuses. This is one of our biggest focus areas, and we are continuously working on making these systems better and more reliable.
What were the early days at Grofers like?
Early days at Grofers were all about execution and still are. We started off by trying to improve the delivery experience for consumers through technology and are now making that into a business of building a network and involving shopkeepers & consumers. We are building on our technology and user experience which have been our key focus areas.
Was there anyone/anything who inspired you to manage Grofers the way you do, and to define the culture it has?
We are a technology company with an operations based work ethics. Our culture is driven by the goal to make things easy for the consumer and merchants – which means that the entire team functions towards those goals and we benchmark everything by the impact on the users end experience.
Who’s your biggest competitor? What’s your strategy for gaining market share?
In hyperlocal, we compete with a very few big players but lately a lot of online marketplaces are trying to make their way into hyperlocal. An array of online grocery retailers and offline organized retailers are also trying to compete with us in this space. We believe that the service that will give a great experience to the consumer and solve a lot of the underlying infrastructure issues, will win at the end of the day. So we don’t worry that much about competition, we just focus on our own growth!
What do you see as the next great innovation in this field? How do you see Grofers being positioned in the next 5 years?
I think mobile penetration will change buying behaviour a lot quickly than people’s anticipation. The next big innovation is probably going to be related to how products get delivered to the doorstep of the consumer, whether continuous pooled resources or more sustainable transport, that is yet to be seen. We will continue our mobile focused approach to consumers, thereby bringing a new level of customization and penetration into everyday activities of the consumers in the next few years.
What has been your single biggest challenge in sourcing and retaining talent? What are the key qualities you look out for in a potential hire?
Luckily, we have been getting the people we wanted, we liked and who were (and are) right, to come and join us. The one thing that brings all of us together, is the humility to accept that we are all still trying to figure this out. Our goal is to Empower, to Execute – So hire bright people and let them figure out the tough problems.
What are the 3 most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are?
- My attempt to get my first start up going in 2008 which failed miserably.
- The decision to move to India to join an early stage Zomato instead of staying on at business school and investment banking.
- The decision to leave a sky rocketing Zomato to try my hand at building another company.
- When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
- What has gotten you this far?
Strong belief that I don’t deserve to be here.
- A tech gadget you can’t live without?
Phone (i use an iPhone 6 and one plus)
- What advice would you have for someone starting their own company?
Persistence and logic wins in the long run
- How do you unwind and relax?
Spend time with my family, go for a run.