Tiger Global-backed grocery delivery firm Grofers India Pvt. Ltd, has scrapped its app-only model and launched its website to improve its customer reach. The move comes at a time when the Gurgaon-based startup is struggling with profits and unit economics. “Launching Grofers website on desktop – Grofers.com. Best offers, wide assortment and home delivery of your groceries. Extra 15 % cash-back on everything. Log on now”, read a message the company sent to its customers on Thursday (20/10/2016) evening. An e-mail sent to Grofer’s co-founder, Albinder Dhindsa, regarding the change in the strategy from an app-only model to a desktop website did not evoke a response immediately. Mr. Dhindsa took his time to evaluate the proposal and only after a long time give his approval in favour of launching a desktop website for the company.
“We have never built a website. We have never had that intent. It’s also about understanding what our use case is—our use case is actually so frequent and people want mobility in these use cases. We are not sitting down and doing the purchase once every two months—these are not big purchases, these are not purchases decisions but these are automatic purchases,” he said.
Meanwhile, Grofers is not the only company to ditch an app-only strategy. Earlier this year, Flipkart-owned fashion retailer Myntra re-launched its desktop website on June 1st, bringing an end to the Bengaluru-based firm’s plans to be the first app-only fashion marketplace in the world.
Grofers had raised $120 million (nearly Rs 780 crore) in funding led by Japanese internet conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp in November 2015. Existing investors of the company like Apoletto Managers, Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital also participated in that round of funding. In August 2015, it raised $35 million (Rs 218 crore) from Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital. Grofers, one of the most heavily funded grocery delivery startups, has been facing mounting challenges. Earlier this year, Grofers had to lay off some of its employees and revoked campus job offers as part of a restructuring of operations. Grofers also shut down its operations in nine cities—Bhubaneswar, Ludhiana, Bhopal, Kochi, Mysore, Nashik, Rajkot, Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam.
Any company, especially if it is in the e-commerce business, needs to reach out to its customers in many different platforms to survive. Only if a company offers its services in many different platforms, customers will be able to access its services and thereby business happens for the company. If the company is an app-only company, then it faces many disadvantages. For example, many people may not have smartphones to download their app or may not want to download an app to be able to buy groceries online. Some people may prefer to order groceries online in their desktops or laptops while doing their official work simultaneously. If a company is app-only, then it will be losing customers belonging to such segments. There is no pride for any company in being app-only. It is a stupid move that only limits their customer base. Grofers has made a wise decision to launch their company website and reach out further to their customers. Hopefully this move will increase their sales and profits. Read more on Startups