Online shopping has the potential to grow at an exponential clip in India with people logging on not just for the convenience of it but also to discover credible products and source interesting ingredients for cooking at home. Gourmetdelight, a gourmet grocery store, curates and sources organic and gourmet products from India and around the world and celebrates the joy of discovery of fine ingredients.
Gourmetdelight started out as an experiment for a small niche market. It was developed on a small platform and started operations in April 2015. The going was good and it quickly realised that it could be on to something bigger and better. With hopes buoyed and intentions firmed, a small team got cracking on building a new more capacious platform.
“The current format you see came into existence in December 2015. So in effect, we are only a few months old but we have become a one-stop online destination for organic food items and gourmet products,” says Founder & CEO at www.gourmetdelight.in, Raka Chakrawarti. Gourmetdelight currently operates in Mumbai and Pune (present in a limited way). Ask her about the kind of customers who frequent her online store and she says: “Our customers are well traveled, well heeled, come with great knowledge about products and ingredients, and they expect good service and great quality.”
According to Raka, the average ticket size is Rs. 1,200 and the most bought products are cheese, breads, organic produce, near organic eggs, farm fresh milk and super foods such as berries, seeds, chia, amaranth.
Currently, Gourmetdelight serves about 600 plus orders a month and with a growth rate of 25 per cent month on month, it has plans to start operations in six more cities by year end.
Curated products chosen by experts
This online gourmet store has positioned itself as a food lovers’ paradise. “We are an online organic food store for those who seek great ingredients, love good food and enjoy creating delightful culinary experiences,” lets on Raka.
The store offers customers a curated range of a melange of products ranging from gourmet chocolates, homemade artisanal cakes, exquisite cheese, teas, spices to healthy organic super foods such as flax seeds, buckwheat, kale and quinoa.
“As of now, we have 2,000 products across 11 major categories and 10 sub-categories. Our best-sellers include seasonal organic produce, milk and dairy, grains and world cuisine ingredients,” informs Raka adding that the company is fanatical about curating its products constantly. “We don’t have a system of onboarding mass products or players. We make sure that we offer something which is unique, different and hard to source, which makes customers come back to us again and again and discover products on our platform.”
No wonder that Gourmetdelight keeps getting constant requests for products that consumers have brought with them while traveling but face difficulty in finding reliable suppliers for such products in India.
“As of now our repeat customers are at about 60 per cent, so we have a healthy base. Over time it will be our range which will be the hero and our strong emphasis on curation,” says Raka.
As the company is very particular about testing each and every product sold on its platform, products at Gourmetdelight bear the stamp of superior quality. The quality factor is also buttressed by the fact that the products are sourced from renowned national and international brands as well as reliable local Indian producers. “We scour the length and breadth of the country searching for fine products so that our customers can enjoy the experience of fine food,” says Raka.
Sourcing and delivery model
The company picks products directly from producers, and it has a collaboration with farms for sourcing organic produce. “Our sourcing strategy is based on the relationship we share with our producers and the kind of produce we are able to connect to our customers. Product availability is dependent on seasonality for fresh and organic,” says Raka revealing that margins are in the range of 30 per cent because of the benefit accruing to the company from its direct relationship with producers.
The company has expended special efforts in assembling a team with a varied background spanning industries such as hospitality, retail and e-commerce. This diverse background of the team comes in handy in choosing products that are a happy mix of health and great taste. The team identifies the products for its platform by keeping a careful watch on food trends in India and around the world. Through its network of chefs and hospitality professionals, members of the team look aggressively for great products and bring on board new producers every week.
“Our benchmark or partnering is the ability to supply consistently, have all the necessary food-related licenses and certifications and, of course, unquestionably a great product,” informs Raka.
“If you are a connoisseur of good food and enjoy whipping up a great meal at home, you will find that we provide you with almost everything to support your culinary dreams,” promises Raka, adding that the team at Gourmetdelight goes to extra lengths to bring and maintain a huge range of organic products. For instance, its specialised range of baking products are carefully selected from passionate bakers and chefs at large. “We choose them especially for the fine ingredients they use and the skills of the home chef,” says Raka.
But it’s not only the range and quality of products handled by a team of well-equipped professionals that is helping Gourmetdelight gain traction in the marketplace. Added to that is the its promise of offering a secure hassle free shopping and deliveries via its own infrastructure of trained Gourmetdelight staffers. “We have our own delivery team and our delivery promise is within 24 hours,” says Raka.
Strengthening the platform
How does Gourmetdelight view competition from offline retailers and other online players? “We don’t view them as competition, we feel that we have
a lot to learn from both offline and online retail.
We constantly watch this space and if someone is doing something new and different we try to learn from them, we feel that the market in India is ready to try out new and interesting products, there is constant experimentation with food and the more differentiated players will result in good quality demand not just for grocery items but great quality ingredients,” Raka says.
At the same time, the company’s incessant focus remains offering a differentiated product to the customer and it intends to stick to this strength for all times to come. For example, with a strong base of artisan producers contributing to its site with cheese, dips, breads, cakes, pestos, pickles, etc, Gourmetdelight is making all efforts to grow this base further because it feels that customers appreciate these products.
To strengthen and expand on each of its customer segments, the company is further fine tuning its delivery strategy. For example, in the case of its working professional customers, it will have an appropriately late delivery slot or offer the facility of a dark store from where a customer can pick the products at one’s convenience. The company is also looking to target more aggressively its growing base of young mothers by catering to their specific needs and expanding its product selection accordingly.
Over time, Gourmetdelight also plans to introduce interesting concepts like organic lunches made from its own ingredients for specific locations that have a strong base of working professionals. Such initiatives will help the company drive greater growth and make the brand resonate more strongly with its customers, ensure repeat purchase, besides enabling stickiness and brand recall.
Last but not least, the consumer connect initiative will also have a strong social media play.
“We believe in the power of social media, we feel that more than anything else we need to show and tell the consumer what we are all about and what our products stand for,” states Raka.
Currently, Gourmetdelight has a blog linked to its site, and it makes use of social media for informing its customers about new products.
“We keep sending regular emailers to our customer base, and we invite them to participate in trend-related stories. We are also currently in the process of producing high quality ingredient- led videos, which we intend to run on social media platforms so that people can learn how to use ingredients effectively,” she says, adding: “We are currently in talks to raise capital, we feel that it’s crucial for expansion. Our next exciting new line will be our organic lunchbox concept. In terms of the menu, variety and ingredients, it will be something to watch out for.”
Raka says they have observed a few very interesting trends on our platform since we launched.
“Our organic seasonal produce appeals to all age groups. We have young mothers and the older age group who are completely sold on its benefits. A new segment of people who we were not actively targeting began to grow exponentially; people who regularly work out and use these products for juicing and preparing healthy smoothies, juices at home. In fact the three varieties of spinach we stock and our exotic organic range is primarily targeted at them.”
“Another segment of early adopters are the chefs who buy from us. They keep us on our toes when it comes to ingredient quality and ensure that we stay ahead of the curve. Indians like to experiment with cuisine, and are very aware in terms of what is healthy. We stock a large variety of rice from black to red to Arborio. Customers also ask us for diabetic rice. Milk and dairy is a large area of interest for consumers and they are constantly interested in information such as farm size, packaging and quality of produce,” Raka concludes.