On 24th November, 2021, India’s major online grocery platform, the Tata-owned BigBasket, announced its foray into offline retail (physical stores), with the launch of its first technology-driven and unmanned, self-service ‘Fresho’ store, in Bengaluru’s Basaveshwar Nagar. It was inaugurated by three farmers, who are part of BigBasket’s Farmer Connect programme.
With a plan to invest upto Rs. 400 crores in this venture, this brick-and-mortar store is part of the company’s vision to open 200 physical outlets pan-India by 2023 and 800 by 2026. The offline stores will offer high quality products at extremely competitive prices, said the statement released by BigBasket. It further informed that Tata’s Fresho has adopted a channel-agnostic approach to connect with customers, where consumers can handpick fresh fruits, vegetables and daily essentials like bread and eggs. For accessing the company’s entire range of over 50,000 products, customers could place orders online and collect them at the Fresho Stores, at their convenience.
Hari Menon, Bigbasket Co-founder and CEO said, “BigBasket has always striven to adopt a customer-first approach. This is where the ‘Fresho’ stores will be gamechangers in terms of making the buying of fruits, vegetables and groceries as seamless as cash transactions at ATMs. The stores will give access to the next 500 million customers who have not yet started buying grocery online and create a new significant growth opportunity for BigBasket.”
He also said that the company’s extensive ‘Farmer Connect’ programme would be employed to supply produce for the stores. Under this programme, BigBasket has partnered with over 30,000 farmers across the country to source fruits and vegetables directly. “There is complete traceability for all fresh produce built in our supply chain, which allows us to communicate details of the farmer for each product to our customers,” he added.
The Fresho stores will merge the best of technology such as ‘Self-billing Counters’ integrated with video AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools that enable customers to pick items of their choice and weigh them at the counter through automatic computer vision, that can identify the items and generate bills accordingly. This brings in a seamless, convenient shopping experience for the buyers. BigBasket offers online grocery retail services in 40 Indian cities and serves 12 million customer orders per month. In 2020, BigBasket reached the milestone of $1 billion in annual revenues.