- Company Name: Big Basket (Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited)
- Industry: Online Food & Grocery Store
- Type: B2C
- Founder/CEO: Hari Menon
- Co-Founders: VS Sudhakar, Vipul Parekh, Abhinay Choudhari and V S Ramesh
- Year & Place: 2011, Bengaluru, India
“We want customers to get hooked, and make our service harder to replicate”-Hari Menon
Table Of Contents
- What Do They Do
- What Platforms Are They Present On
- The Idea To The First Set Of Customers
- Demand Validation To Growth
- Marketing Summary- Today
1. What Do They Do
One Line Definition: Big Basket delivers the groceries you like at the time you love at the comfort of your fingertips.
How they were able to get there is a story in itself.
Bigbasket, India’s largest online supermarket has been through quite a fascinating journey. This journey is incomplete without discussing the founders’ startup journeys prior to starting Big Basket. It all began in 1999 when Hari Menon (Now CEO- Big Basket) along with his friends VS Sudhakar, Vipul Parekh, Abhinay Choudhari and V S Ramesh started their online retail website called “Fabmart”. Imagine an e-retail store in 1999, this is way before Flipkart and the likes ventured into the e-commerce space in India. After realizing that their idea was something belonging in the distant future, they pivoted to a physical chain of grocery stores called Fabmall. They scaled it up to 200 stores across south India before they sold it off to Aditya Birla Group who renamed it to what we come to know of as “More”.
Sometime around 2011, they started thinking about their original idea of Online grocery store and with the internet penetration set to rise in India and with Flipkart already operating in the online retail space, the same set of friends decided to Launch Big Basket.
The journey is even more unique when you look at the age of the founders who were in their Mid-40s when almost all other entrepreneurs were at least half their age in 2011. For all the good reasons, that experience clearly shows up in the passion-filled execution of ideas at Big Basket. That’s pretty much what it took to make it one of the unicorns in the Indian startup ecosystem with a valuation of $1.2 Billion. Let’s take a look at how exactly they went about achieving it.
2. What Platforms Are They Present On
Customers can order groceries from their mobile phones through the app or web browser on Mobile and PC.
3. The Idea To The First Set Of Customers
They started the operations from Indiranagar, Bengaluru. The initial adopters were upwardly mobile young Indians who wanted to avoid the pain of navigating through Bangalore traffic to get their groceries.
And, as Evident from Hari Menon’s quote, right from the start Big Basket’s focus has been the customer. The founders have used the knowledge gained from the dot com era in the right manner. They didn’t resort to scaling quickly or use deep-pocketed discounting to acquire and retain customers. Instead, their focus was customer satisfaction. The biggest challenge was to build and maintain the capacity to meet customer demand.
At the time when many of the startups in hyperlocal space were adopting a zero inventory model, Big Basket bet big on the inventory model. The founders strongly believed that to address the huge demand that existed, one had to maintain the quality of products as well as services. Hence they had to adopt the inventory model.
On the back of this strategy, they were able to drive high customer satisfaction. Reports have shown that they had close to 70% repeat customers, growing at a rate of 25-30%.
This growth speaks volumes about their efforts towards customer satisfaction as they didn’t spend a huge amount of cash on advertising and mainly relied on Word-of-mouth. Their stats reflect that a whopping 45 % of new customers were through referrals.
4. Demand Validation To Growth
Word Of Mouth
- Ask the expert was a campaign run by Big Basket on their facebook page, where they invited highly skilled nutritionists, stylists, and dieticians to spread awareness about the benefits of good food and style.
- While this was related to the industry in general, they employed a strategy to reward Facebook fans who asked some impressive questions.
- This strategy helped them acquire more customers as the winners of the above campaign spread the word about the campaign, unconsciously campaigning for Big Basket. By this time their operations were spread across seven cities.
- After acquiring a Hyperlocal delivery startup called “Delyver”, Big Basket launched an express delivery service. Customers could opt for a 1-hr delivery of select products.
- The success of this service greatly helped further Big Basket’s name in the Indian Online Grocery Space.
- Big Basket also launched a lifestyle blog. They post quite frequently with content ranging from “know your food” to “trending styles from Divas”.
- However, as per data from Similar Web, the traffic sources to their websites are as follows.
- Direct: 20.59 %
- Referrals: 14.85 %
- Search: 22.18%
- Of the 22.18 % Search traffic- 100 % of it is Organic and only one set of keywords contribute to all of that organic traffic. Guess what those keywords are? I think it’s unfair to you guys, here you go. “London men’s fashion week hairstyles“
- Social: 42.37 %
- Mail: 0%
- Display: 0%
- Just short of 5% of their website traffic comes from all of the social media put together.
- About 86.25 % of the traffic from social media comes from Youtube alone. Considering the host of Cookery videos and ease of targeting customers who will be willing to shop at Bigbasket.com, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
- However, they post quite a good number of videos every month but their total number of subscribers is just short of 7000.
- They also engage with Facebook audience through various food, style, and health tips, with occasional campaigns like the “Ask The Expert”
5. Marketing Summary- Today
Top of the Funnel
- Big Basket publishes about 25-30 articles/month. These are mainly about DIY styles, style trends, travel food queries, recipes, food benefit articles, etc.
- Majority of the articles are about 1000 words long. They are also embedded with youtube video links wherever applicable. The blog drives traffic to Youtube videos, in turn, youtube videos direct users back to BigBasket.com
- Their SEO story is quite amazing. Look at the metrics and am pretty you’ll be impressed.
- Traffic Overview: An estimated total number of visits: 7.65 M and this has mostly been constant over the past 6 months at least.
- A whopping 60.37 % of traffic is direct: The brand recall is so strong[Proof of the customer-centric approach the management took early on] and the usage is so frequent for any customer that they directly enter the website in the search bar when they think of ordering groceries online.
Type of content they create:
- Business: Primary Content
- Knowledge-Based articles on benefits of various fruits, vegetables, and which of the beauty products are better for what type of skin, etc.
- They drive traffic to these blog posts from the social media campaigns.
- Industry Based: Secondary Content
- They create content revolving around the travel and lifestyle industry.
- Though highly unrelated they post content on travel destinations suitable for each season.
- Interests & Persona- Tertiary Content
- Content-based on DIY recipes
- Content-based on DIY Styles
- Of the 31.18 % search traffic, 74.64% is Organic & only a quarter i.e 25.36% is paid
- Type of Ads they’re running
- Branded: 23.51 % of their Ads are branded. Meaning they specifically focus on showing the name “Big Basket” in their ads
- Non-branded: 76.49 % of their Ads are non-branded.
- Main paid competitors: Grofers.com, sparindia.com, licious.in, olay.in etc.
- Main Organic competitors:naturebasket.co.in, grofers.com, paytmmall.com, dmart.in.
- Estimated Monthly Ad expenses: $705
Influence Through Social Media
- Chat window pops out- Yes
- Placed phone number here for an easy call- Yes
- Number of members-385,151
- Post 35-40 times a weekly basis
- Change the cover picture to broadcast messages- Yes
- Haven’t seen them doing any polls lately.
- Motivational messages- Yes
- Say they’ll provide something for free for emails- No
- Webinar content- No
- Number of members: 16,893
- No of posts/ month: Zero
- Type of posts that have really high engagement: NONE.
- A meager 1.02% is through referrals: Below is a snapshot of the referral as well as destination sites from Bigbasket.com
- Majority of their referral traffic comes from below sources.
- Forums- None Found
- Events-None Found
- Conferences-None Found
- Speaking Gigs
- The founders in their earlier days were interviewed by a lot of magazines like Livemint, YourStory. Coverage in these type of magazines gave them a good reach to the working class population who were also their target group.
Middle of the funnel/constant engagement with
- Email: While they do send newsletters about the content posted on their blog, the referral traffic from email is 0 %.
- Facebook: They post about 35-40 posts a month to engage customers/audience.
Bottom of the Funnel
- Sales Call
- Thank you page
Top growth hacks-That have stood out for them
- Am astounded by the fact that the majority of their traffic is direct. Meaning the brand recall is so much that people don’t even google for grocery shopping, they directly enter bigbasket.com whenever they want to shop for groceries.
- Second thing being, though their initial customer acquisition was through discounts, the customer engagement and retention thereafter has puzzled me. Though I couldn’t find any data on that it’s something that I’d like to research even more.
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