The worldwide growth and popularity of e-commerce has resulted in a mushroom growth of startups with online grocery shopping being one of the fastest growing industries in Pakistan.
As almost two dozen online grocery service startups compete for market share in Pakistan’s metropolitan cities, we compared their performance to give you a better understand of the market.
Online grocery startups
Latest figures show there are currently around 20 online grocery services in Pakistan. However, of those some are either already dysfunctional or under maintenance such as BigBasket, GroceryShopping and EzyRashan.
Despite this, there are still around 15 or so companies offering groceries on their websites each designed to ensure maximum convenience for users.
MyCart and CartPk are Magento-based, according to www.buildwith.com. While, QnE is based on PHP; GoMart and FreshDaily use PHP-OpenCart; Grocia uses WordPress and TazaMart is on WordPress-WooCommerce and also has a native Android application.
Rankings and positions
TazaMart.pk is the most popular online grocery service in the country, according to statistics from ranking websites such as Alexa and SimilarWeb.
Shockingly, TazaMart.pk’s nearest competitor is at least 2,500 ranks below depending on which ranking website you use. Alexa ranks TazaMart.pk at 1,330 in Pakistan, while QnE.com.pk stands second at 1,600. The rest are far behind with GoMart.pk and CartPk.com languishing at 7,000+ rank. The situation is even worse for more established entities like AaramShop.pk which ranks 25,000 in Pakistan on Alexa.
SimilarWeb shows similar rankings as Alexa with TazaMart.pk leading. However, it ranks CartPk as second with QnE.com coming on third.
Traffic and search
Surprisingly, GoMart.pk edges out TazaMart.pk in terms of traffic, although there is high variability in that number. The two online grocery stores attract 20,000 unique visitors, while CartPk.com gets a little less than 10,000.
PakistanGrocery.com and RashanLelo.pk top in Google searches, with TazaMart.pk is a close third.
Social media presence
QnE is the leader in terms of Facebook likes closing in on 50,000, with AaramShop hovering at the 30,000 mark and CartPk at 25,000.
QnE is also the leader in Facebook engagement with its slick posts generating likes and sometimes a few comments as well. TazaMart is a distant second but that has more to do with less competition from others than its own performance even though it has equally impressive banners and posters.
Twitter and Instagram are yet to be abuzz with activity from online grocery stores although TazaMart.pk and GoMart use the portal to advertise their products as well as deals and offers.
UI and UX
We asked a small sample of users to rate the major online grocery stories on their interface and user experience. The category heads for this little performance appraisal included design, search bar, mobile responsiveness, checkout form, registration form, menus and filters.
The sample of appraisers were asked to rate each of these categories on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. TazaMart.pk was the winner of this small competition bagging 63/70, with QnE getting 62/70 and MyCart scoring 60/70.
Products and inventory
Another feature where TazaMart beats all its competitors is inventory. With almost 10,000 products, it is much ahead of Grocia.pk which has almost 5,000 items. GoMart and RashanLelo are closing in on 3,000 products while the rest are abysmal when it comes to products and their alternatives.
TazaMart.pk was once again the best performer when it came to prices and product availability, particularly essentials. We identified a basket of 21 essentials and checked each website; all online grocers had 20 products with TazaMart.pk having all 21.
The cumulative cost of the products in the basket came up to Rs2,358 at TazaMart.pk, Rs2,380 for Grocia.pk and Rs2,399 for RashanLelo.pk. For the rest, the cumulative price was in excess of Rs2,400.
Minimum order quantity and delivery
The minimum order quantity (MOQ) is the threshold amount that a user must spend to qualify for free delivery. BestBuyers and QnE have a MOQ of Rs500 while Grocia, MyCart and CartPk offer free delivery at purchases of Rs1,000 and more. FreshDaily and TazaMart have a threshold amount of Rs2,000. The rest have either a higher amount or do not offer free delivery at all.
Grocia charges Rs50 for orders that are less than MOQ, CartPk charges Rs100, TazaMart Rs150, FreshDaily Rs200, GoMart Rs250, while the rest have other metrics at work. For instance, MyCart doesn’t charge anything for your second delivery, Rs250 for Express delivery and Rs75 for several timeslots. The most expensive is PakistanGrocery charging a flat $5 for delivery.
Most companies offer Live Chat on their websites but one often has to wait for a reply. QnE and TazaMart are the most responsive, while BestBuyers and DelMart are the worst. Even AarampShop takes three days to responding on Facebook, whereas TazaMart and QnE have an average response time of two hours.
QnE, CartPk, TazaMart and MyCart claim to deliver in three hours, and are known to live up to their commitment. However, AaramShop was disappointing in this regard as it never delivered the order.
Going the extra mile
Grocia, MyCart and TazaMart are the only online grocery stores that offer to acquire products that are not listed on their website but are available in the market. TazaMart was able to live up to their commitment while MyCart failed despite promising to do so. However, these are one-off examples and shouldn’t be used to draw definite conclusions.
TazaMart was the only store from whom we received a feedback call after order completion. They also sent an email soliciting feedback. None of the other online grocery stores made any such communication efforts.
Presentation and packaging
MyCart.pk emerges on top when it comes to presentation and packaging. Grocia and PakistanGrocery also use branded packaging, while the rest say they are in the process of developing it.
While the online grocery store market is still in its early stages, the excess of competition is forcing companies to raise their level of service and offerings in order to establish themselves as the market leader.
While each company has its own advantages and disadvantages, the cursory analysis shows that TazaMart.pk is the overall best performer in the segment. MyCart and CartPk are currently providing the best competition to TazaMart in terms of operational effectiveness, while QnE is the high flyer on social media. But just like MyCart and CartPk have failed on the social media front, similarly QnE has failed in operational excellence with great room for improvement.
Meanwhile, more established online grocery services like RashanLelo and AaramShop seem to have fallen victim to complacency, failing to utilise on their early entry to the market and allowing new entrants like TazaMart.pk to not only upstage them but also usurp their position as the market leader.