Many may find it hard get out in the blistering heat just to buy a tender coconut, however badly they may need the thirst quencher. No worries, now. You can order one online for ₹20 and get it — and many more daily needs — delivered in 30 minutes if you are in Chennai.

Chennai-based hyper-local online delivery start-up delivers not only tender coconuts, but also groceries, books, fresh food, baby products and fresh flowers in 30 minutes. The company has tied up with retailers in Chennai and delivers goods directly from stores.

S Shriram, founder and owner of retail store Smiling Baby, says most of retailers lose customers to e-commerce players who offer good deals. “Having experienced it myself through my first venture Smiling Baby, I came up with,” he says.

Though there is huge competition in the online space, Shriram says: “Most take at least a day to deliver or have fixed delivery times. That is where we differentiate ourselves. Depending on the product, we will deliver within 30 minutes or five hours with the flexibility of a change in destination at any given time.”

Product range

The six-month-old company offers 3,000 products across 10 categories from 12 vendors.The site has over 1,000 customers and caters to over 1,000 orders a month. For every transaction, the company receives a commission of 7-25 per cent from its partners, the major source of income.

Patanjali products and tender coconuts are the major drivers for consumer growth. “Almost 35 per cent of our orders are for Patanjali products of which there are over 400.”

Plans are underway to include fresh fruits and vegetables, and jasmine flowers in the coming months. Additionally, festival-specific delicacies such as ‘sundal’, ‘kozhukattai’ and fresh ‘pongal’ will soon find their way into the portfolio, says Shriram.

“We are exploring this market and tying up with Ganesha idol makers and are in talks with Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan for selling golu dolls during Navarathi. People can pre-book them and it will be delivered at their door step.”

After strengthening the Chennai market, the company plans to expand to other cities such as Kolkata, Coimbatore, Pune, Nasik, Jamshedpur and Thane in the next two years. It hopes to raise about ₹3.5 crore ($0.5 million) to fund expansion and marketing plans.

But one of the major challenges is convincing traditional retailers to get their products on the platform. “Most retailers, even educated ones, are unwilling to experiment with e-commerce platform and that is the greatest hurdle.”