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550 Blue Collar Employees, 4 Cities, Over 25K Products: How Zopnow Looks To Serve The Multibillion Dollar EGroceries Market

550 Blue Collar Employees, 4 Cities, Over 25K Products: How Zopnow Looks To Serve The Multibillion Dollar EGroceries Market

Waiting within the long checkout queue of a hypermarket is the most uninteresting activity. But believe if this wait grew to become out to be the silver lining for you? Wouldn’t that be some thing? This is exactly what took place to Mukesh Singh – while status on the checkout queue of a hypermarket along with his pregnant spouse, he stumbled upon his next startup concept.

“We have been anticipating our first youngster and she or he became six months pregnant. The purchaser at the counter changed into haggling for two greenbacks of trade and we were getting frustrated. This turned into the time the concept of on-line grocery came to my thoughts and each the children – ZopNow and Naman – have been born nearly at the equal time,” begins Mukesh Singh, founder, Zopnow, as he recalls the initial days of setting out.

Founded in September 2011 via Mukesh Singh and now underneath the management of CEO Raj Pandey, Zopnow become one most of the early starters in India’s on-line grocery business. ZopNow, these days, has over 25Kproducts in its catalogue which incorporates fresh end result and greens and excessive first-class staples, with a 7am transport promise.

Having raised $10 Mn in a funding spherical led by means of San Francisco-based totally Dragoneer Investment Group, along with its current buyers which include Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Times Internet, ZopNow also gives eGrocery as a Service (SaaS) technique to massive brick and mortar outlets. It is aiming to take the SaaS model international with Middle East and Southeast Asia as instantaneous markets.

The Wisest $eleven Spent: Conceptualising ZopNow

For Mukesh, ZopNow became his fourth mission as a startup. Almost all his ventures have been based totally on a private want accompanied through a product/market check with a restricted release.

“I ventured into animation as my first startup when I turned into 23, largely due to the fact I changed into inquisitive about the domain. At 35 years, I changed into wiser with  successful IPO battle memories (eGain, MakeMyTrip) underneath my belt, and had a higher idea approximately the marketplace size and the need we would deal with with ZopNow. As a person, I felt that I wanted an online grocery carrier issuer who can deliver a good variety of merchandise inside the identical day. After a quick marketplace survey I realised that there are numerous greater human beings who've similar needs and that’s how the ZopNow adventure commenced,” opines Mukesh.

When it involves naming the startup, his guiding philosophy become to choose a normal name that was now not always tied to grocery area however generic sufficient, clean to spell, notably brief, something that communicates electricity, and to be had domain names at low cost.

“Jokingly, we used to mention that Google has  o’s. We went over Wohoo, BuyEasy, CornerStore and lots of others. Majority of the domain names had been offered and getting the .Com turned into starting to be a pain,” recollects Mukesh.

Eventually, after several days of studies and considering over name, he ended up with the call ZopNow that happy almost all the criteria, while jogging at the Gurugram Golf Link avenue.

“During the run, I saw a Tata Ace with some frequent message written at its rear door that had a spelling mistake. That was the time I realised that the quality manner to get a .Com domain would be to select some thing that is a twist on a spelling – ‘Zop’ turned into the twist on Shop. Given we had been satisfied approximately the identical day delivery, ‘Now’ became a terrific one to have within the call. That’s how the ZopNow name turned into conceived. Yes – we bought the area for $eleven and in all likelihood the wisest $eleven we invested,” says Mukesh.

The 150 robust-team is properly-rounded with understanding throughout more than one aspects – ecommerce, cloud generation, retail, operations, finance and advertising. It additionally boasts of global experts from Amazon, J.P. Morgan, Myntra, P&G, Pillsbury, and Dell.

“The team become constructed brick by way of brick as we painstakingly vetted every candidate and ensured cultural fit and proprietor-operator ethos in addition to position match. This turned into particularly important when we had one now not so best management crew undertaking,” Says Mukesh.

Zopnow: A Marketplace With Scaled Partners Like Metro And Star Bazaar

Although it began off as an stock-retaining on line retailer, it shifted consciousness later to constructing a smart and green generation platform for powering on-line retail. It signed HyperCity up as its first associate for this method and re-released operations in Bengaluru. Within a yr of its launch in Bengaluru Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad it became a hit in sealing every other partnership with the ‘More’ chain of hypermarkets and supermarkets.

“We ran a traditional A/B test of inventory lead vs stock light to see if we may want to remedy for variety and fill-price with an asset-mild model. Once we had self assurance that deep technology integration with companions and IP should clear up for inventory, the asset-light desire became a no brainer. Last-mile logistics is the largest price of eGroceries and asset-mild model has superior economics,” stocks Mukesh.

In its adventure in the direction of becoming a dominant player in powering the web grocery commercial enterprise inside the most sustainable manner with an unbeatable purchaser experience, it released online retail stores for More and HyperCity at the side of their respective branded apps. The complete era and operations – although powered by means of ZopNow – presents a continuing omnichannel buying experience to customers of these retailers.

Talking about commercial enterprise fashions, Zopnow is a marketplace with scaled partners like Metro, and Star Bazaar. It utilises its scaled stores as fulfilment centres and that offers it exquisite range and freshness. Its generation permits to pick out, p.C., and checkout inside the least possible time, as compared to industry standards. Also, its final mile is relatively optimised due to proximity of shops to customers. “Our scaled local operations is a key part of our commercial enterprise model and strategy. We are completely asset-light,” says Mukesh.

The era is absolutely in-house and has been cloud-hosted for the reason that day 1. It became built the usage of open supply era and seasoned over four years.

“Our generation solution-driven automation enables our partners be 3x-4x more productive compared to most of the people of trendy motive technologies. EGroceries is particular and has its own idiosyncrasies and there may be no off-the-shelf solution that operates at scale, like ours does. Our companions who use this platform inform us that the whole fee of ownership and the operational productiveness done with our answer make it the most low-cost answer,” says Mukesh. 

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To make sure that culmination and vegetables are sourced directly from farmers and are introduced speedy to customers, the business enterprise worked with scaled hypermart retail partners. “As our partners have large shops in top places, veggies are kept on the favored temperature and the customer proximity lets in us transit time measured in minutes and no longer days. Lastly, we train human beings on appropriate packaging and our IP comes to a decision selecting sequence to minimise time,” he provides.

Less Than zero.2% Market Penetration: Early Stages Of Grocery Commerce In India

The startup journey is incomplete without hurdles. Every entrepreneur witnesses this section to set up a successful agency. For Mukesh, getting retail knowledge and a blue collar group of workers became the trickiest part of its journey.

“Angel investment and finding the technology crew turned into clean, retail knowledge and blue collar group of workers control become the harder element, as we began. We self-funded the startup, first of all, and got a wonderful team of technologists on board – arguably the exceptional inside the commercial enterprise. As with the whole lot – it changed into all approximately crew and proper set of humans. Sanket who is Chief Product Officer – backend at Zopnow brought the vending and operational knowledge of groceries and the tech crew worked as a corner kirana (local grocery) to get seeped in and concurrently embed the method in generation,” says Mukesh.

Considering most variety, delivered the identical day with most financial savings for their loyal customers as their USP, ZopNow is concentrated on $100 Mn GMV consisting of distant places earnings within the next four quarters of 2017. The concept of hyperlocal emerged in overdue 2010 while companies like Zomato, Ola, Meru realised the opportunity they are able to capitalise on this untapped market. But the actual bubble of hyperlocal got here in 2015 while startups like Grofers, Faasos, and TinyOwl received million dollar fundings from  famend traders – making this sector one of the freshest zone in the startup environment. 

Figures inform us that in H1 2015 to H2 2015 their changed into nearly 50% increment inside the wide variety of deals. Furthermore, it states that around 81% of general hyperlocal startups that secured investment had been funded in 2015, indicating hyperlocal to be one of the emerging quarter within the destiny. But with major shutdown of startups like Peppertap and M&As inside the foodtech and grocery area burst the hyperlocal bubble. Figures tell us that close to approximately 25% of total number of startups inside the hyperlocal marketplace have shut down in first half of 2016 and 10% were merged or obtained by using larger gamers in the market.

With such a bleak outlook, many different gamers like Grofers, BigBasket have put their brakes on expansion in 2016. Meanwhile, Zopnow quietly released its services in 10 major Indian cities and continues to grow at a quick pace. Therefore, the employer is entering into a excessive growth phase in 2017.

“With much less than zero.2% penetration, Zopnow continues to be within the early degrees of grocery commerce in India. We welcome the patron training that other ecommerce corporations do. The pie is massive and there's room for a couple of players,” says Mukesh.

With the recent demonetisation policy by using government, as markets witnessed a rapid decline in difficult cash and with people opting for plastic money, the cardboard and ewallet transactions on ZopNow’s platform have grown extra than 50% along with 35% growth in boom of new customers, in comparison to the duration earlier than when INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes had been a prison smooth. According to CEO Raj Pandey, the net grocery industry appears to be the unintentional beneficiary of the pass because the customer can't delay vital purchases for his or her domestic.

Our Aim Is To Scale Cost-Effectively

Like horizontal ecommerce has finished inside the final 10 years, eGroceries is expected to achieve mid-single-digit penetration over the following three-4 years. Since penetration today is so low, they're speaking about 80x-100x boom from those low levels. While the possibility is huge, the essential thing is to scale cost-efficiently, as margins are razor thin on this enterprise.

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“We have constructed a lean version and have perfected product/marketplace in shape and put relationships in area in the top 10 towns. We are entering a high boom phase phase but will achieve this price-correctly. General merchandise, that our companions already carry, will begin to be a better contributor to our basket,” concludes Mukesh.

Editor’s Note

In India, groceries preserve a 60% share of the full Indian retail marketplace. And with growing Internet and smartphone penetration, the web groceries market is ultimately taking its area  in India. With gamers like BigBasket, Grofers, Aaramshop, the arena is gaining momentum and this can be proved through the big investments attracted by way of task capitalists and angel traders, alike.

EGroceries has idiosyncrasies that require a quite specialized platform as compared to different ecommerce verticals. Zopnow’s SaaS customers price the fact that their generation is in reality an answer that has worked with more than one grocery chains, not like other customary out-of- container answers. This gives them an extra avenue to monetise the IP they have built. 

The organisation has been operational for extra than three years and has managed to grab a big pie of marketplace share inside the cities where it is currently operational. It will be interesting to observe how a long way it'll reach with era at its core and with other, more focussed gamers nipping at its heels.

Author Biography.

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