‘After COVID-19 Retail Is Set to Experience Super Fast Transformation’

Technology has played and is continuing to play a vital role in this transformation. Having said this, if we look at retail, we can visualise some absolutely new methods and greater adoption. To discuss this, we approached Dharit Parikh - CEO of HiGrocer to find out how is he looking at the overall market dynamics. In an exclusive interaction between Dharit Parikh and Faiz Askari of SMEStreet.

‘After COVID-19 Retail Is Set to Experience Super Fast Transformation’

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Though we were talking about disruption, transformation etc. type of jargons since last few years, but whatever we have witnessed in last few months have shown us an all-new face of the world. Each and every aspect of life has not just got effected but have absolutely transformed into something new. Technology has played and is continuing to play a vital role in this transformation. Having said this, if we look at retail, we can visualise some absolutely new methods and greater adoption. To discuss this, we approached Dharit Parikh – CEO of HiGrocer to find out how is he looking at the overall market dynamics. In an exclusive interaction between Dharit Parikh and Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, here are the edited excerpts:

Faiz Askari: In the current scenario,do u think it will affect in FCMCG/Retail market?

Dharit Parikh: Talking about the Pandemic the impact of COVID-19 on the retail industry. It would take at least 9-12 months for India’s retail industry to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As per my belief around 25-30% of industry players may need a capital infusion to stay afloat and about 1/3 of jobs in the industry may get impacted. Only 7-8% of the retail industry is functioning at the moment, as the retailers are selling only essential items. For a long time after the lockdown is lifted, the consumers will be in a reactive mode and will buy only what is needed. After that, we will have a recovery mode. The industry has more than 15 million retailers, including big and small, traditional and modern trade. Retail employs 40-50 million Indians directly.

Only 7-8% of the retail industry is functioning at the moment, as the retailers are selling only essential items. For a long time after the lockdown is lifted, the consumers will be in a reactive mode and will buy only what is needed. After that, we will have a recovery mode. The industry has more than 15 million retailers, including big and small, traditional and modern trade. Retail employs 40-50 million Indians directly.

 

Tell us about the business model of  Higrocer?

HiGrocer consumer Product company focused being on Food.  We cater to the fast-changing urban lifestyle and the new trend of living away from home for studying and employment purposes have eventually resulted to the growing demand of comfort Foods in India. This segment offers high margins to retail for high-end products as it caters to premium customers who look for quality and variety and are willing to pay a premium price. The young urban Indians aged 16 to 40 years constitute the major segment of this market. They spend over 40 percent of their income on food, are ready to experiment, and are willing to pay a premium for better quality, variety, and taste.

And We at HiGrocer are committed to cater these Indians, with our Last Minute Range of Products and its SKU.

According to you, what are the latest trends in the FMCG industry? 

If you watch television, use the internet, or go to a supermarket, you’ve probably noticed certain trends that are impacting the production, marketing, and sales of fast-moving consumer goods, or FMCGs for short. Here are some of the big FMCG trends, as well as challenges, as per me that we’re watching:

1: Consumers are looking for convenience

As consumers and their families live busier lifestyles, they are demanding more convenience, especially when it comes to getting meals. Supermarkets are upping their game by offering a large selection of ready-to-go meal options, from pre-cut fruit-vegetable-nut packs to three-course dinners. FMCG makers are responding to the desire for convenience in different ways. For example, at HiGrocer our Range fo products are inspired buy Comfort Foods and are improving on the frozen palatable foods. At the same time, there is a growing selection of new food and drink products that are conveniently packaged, all-in-one meal replacements.

2: Health is an important consumer preference

Seemingly healthier low-sodium, reduced fat, and sugar-free products have been available for decades. However, other options that used to be found only in specialty health food stores have made their way into “normal” supermarkets as consumers want food and beverages that they believe will so less harm or actively improve their health, day-to-day performance, and general well-being. Allergen-free products are also becoming more popular amongst those who don’t have allergies. Consumers who don’t suffer from a gluten allergy are gradually adopting these due to the perceived health benefits of a gluten-free diet.

3: Consumers are environmentally aware

Consumers are becoming more conscious of the negative impact of FMCG production and its byproducts. Products labeled as “organic” and “local” have broadening appeal as does the adoption of more plant-based foods. Consumers who still choose meat, dairy, poultry, fish, etc. can also choose products that are “antibiotic-free,” “grass-fed,” “free range,” etc. And it’s not just the product itself, but how the product is packaged that will impact consumer choices as more and more consumers opt for plastic-free solutions. Messaging around sustainable improvements will help consumers make choices that are ethical ones that positively impact animal welfare, sustainability, and the environment as well as their individual health.

4: Consumers want an experience

FMCG makers have become aware that consumers – especially Millennials and those from Generation Z – are interested in experiences more than actual products. Therefore, industry players are looking to create experiences around their products and encourage sharing among consumers by investing in digital capabilities to enable more personalised communication via social media and community management.

Can you share a glimpse about Higrocer’s market activities and product pipeline?

Definitely, we are launching New Products and same time enhancing existing product range all in the range of Comfort Foods serving the last minute thirst of New Millennial, though our plans are pushed bit but will keep this space informed

What are the plans and stratergies after COVID-19?

After the Pandemic, as we’r a startup our mantra to survival will be to sustain business, then if that calls to approach in a conservative fashion we will.

Tell us about availablity and outreach of your products?

We are in essential list of products as per GoI, but serving with the current team across markets of presence is becoming challenging. As lockdown restricts intra/inter state and local travel we are available but in less quantity to selected few stores which is within reach and need is high.

How much jump in sales have you felt since it has been launched?

As we have launched in recent times we have novelty every month which enables sales at a decent spike high and it will continue the same till recent years.

What are your expansion plans? 

Talking about expansion plans, as mentioned before we have new products launched and expansion of current range lined up which will be both win terms of products and markets.

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