E-Groceries: Looking Beyond Discounts & Offers

Durga Prasad

May 23, 2023

It was one of those days when I found myself in a ‘home-alone’ situation. I was enjoying the solitude till I could not ignore those hunger pangs anymore. My intention to rustle up some food was thwarted by an empty fridge. I decided to tackle this grocery problem head on. I settled myself into the comforts of my couch and started browsing through the various e-grocery options available to me.

Buying groceries online is as convenient as it could get; but as convenient as this may sound, I have noticed that the experience with e-grocery apps changes every time one orders from them. The experience changes even more when people shift from one service provider (such as Big Basket, Grofers, Nature’s Basket) to another. I have always wondered about this change and what this means, especially for the people using these services.

When you think about the overall online grocery shopping experience, what makes it a good one? What makes the customers come back to a particular service provider? Is discounts all that is required to ensure customer satisfaction and retention?


Lot of other customers use e-grocery services for the sheer comfort. People don’t want to take the pain of going out to shop, and feel more empowered using technology.

However as much as they want the comfort, customers have this underlying assumption — a commitment to deliver as per the schedule, a commitment of ensuring the products are in their best condition, as well as the assurance of getting the full value of their purchase.

“When I have chosen a particular schedule for product delivery, I want it to be delivered within those hours only”

“You have to carefully check each and every item you order, as I have been handed over bad quality products repeatedly”


Discounts are attractive and they do catch the attention of the customers, but they are only a superficial way to engage people. A 20%-30% discount is not the only reason for customers to come back.

“Big Basket offered 30% cash back with my ICICI, but even after the delivery I haven’t received the 30% cash back”

A bad shopping experience can never be made up by offers & discounts Customers demand consistency in their shopping experiences. They are fully aware that when it comes to choosing between saving money and a good experience, the preference would always be given to the experience.

“Basis my first 2 good experiences, I made a large order at Grofers, and to my surprise they took 9 days and 4 trips to complete my order. That’s when I realized, that these apps can’t be trusted completely”

Customers dislike situations where they are put on a spot. Delivery executives asking for a tip, executives asking for payments for prepaid orders are some instances which demonstrate disharmony in the entire process followed by the service provider.


Customers feel that E grocers are not an entirely dependable option. In the case of an urgent need, most of them still rely on their nearby kirana stores. The promise of an ‘express’ delivery is rarely met as an average time taken to deliver a typical grocery order is minimum 3–4 hours which may go up to days in case the items are unavailable.

“I don’t think that e grocers can entirely take the place of retail stores, as for the immediate needs, one can’t be waiting for hours”


Lot of consumers who order groceries online, also order food online. However, the delivery experience for online groceries is not as dynamic as online food delivery services. Consumers using the online food delivery apps feel more informed as they can track the delivery executives fulfilling their orders. This tracking feature is presently missing in the online grocery shopping process and may add a lot of value to the whole experience.

“In Swiggy, I can track the delivery boy second by second, sadly that kind of features are not present in these portals, would have been a big plus”

In order to ensure success and greater customer retention, the online grocery service providers ought to take into account transparency, consistency, reliability and dynamism in the experience they provide. Experience is what makes people come back.

More articles like this: