E-Commerce Firm Tradus Launches Hyperlocal Grocery Service; What Works And What Doesn’t

Tradus has just added Grocery to their ecommerce offering. And with this, gone deeper into hyperlocal – a huge but underserved opportunity when it comes to ecommerce.

What are they announcing:

Tradus, has launched a new service that delivers groceries to consumers from local sellers.

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The ibiboGroup owned Tradus’ mobile marketplace lets consumers place orders for groceries from local sellers via the Tradus mobile app. Upon ordering Tradus has them delivered to the buyer within one-day.

The service is only available for Delhi currently.

Mobile First. Really ?

We downloaded and tried the mobile app. First the good stuff – there’s a look and feel consistency across the web and mobile experience. Once the app is downloaded, it automatically detects location for delivery. It also gives a list of sellers around the area in which you reside.

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While the look and feel is good, the UX is hardly anything to write home about – both across the web as well as mobile. Amongst other things, you don’t add things to the cart – you go straight to “Buy Now”. On the app it needs a workaround if you want to continue shopping – we leave it to you to discover the same. On the web there’s a “Continue Shopping” button, but it’s already one step too many if you have a list of 10 things to buy.

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In fact, we wonder if “mobile first” is that great an idea for grocery at all! You typically have longer lists, with periodic, repeated purchases. The latter could be exploited, but shopping for the former on limited lists with multiple clicks and pages per item is rather tedious on a mobile device.

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Finally, the app does have a lot of downloads, but the reviews – at least on the Android store – do not inspire confidence.

Not Grocery Friendly

The above buying experience might work for one off electronics purchases and the like but fails for groceries. The selection is also rather limited, and others like ZopNow and BigBasket do a much more focused job of delivery for groceries with 3 hour promises and the ability to pick time slots.

We understand that each grocer does their own delivery! That’s work great if the site essentially served as a storefront for grocery stores, and you picked one to start with. It, however, throws up nightmare delivery scenarios in my head as a consumer if multiple vendors will be fulfilling one grocery list!

Hyperlocal, or not?

Clearly, with the street food launch earlier, and now grocery fulfilled by vendors from the locality, Tradus seems thinking about the hyperlocal market in a big way. What we’re not sure about is that lumped with the generic e-commerce store – both web and app – the experience and indeed the entire set of expectations and user behaviour around hyperlocal will be very different from that for, say, an online apparel or electronics store. Beyond the UX, the backend for ensuring a wide enough selection, as well as quality of products and service, will be a challenge very different from what they might need to do for the branded goods, electronics and apparel markets.

At this point, we’ll reserve our judgment on where Tradus or their parent company – who have earlier fished elsewhere in the same space as Tradus simultaneously – is headed with this. All we can say right now is – this isn’t the best category or product launch that we’ve seen in the space.

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