As A CHILD, did you ever wonder what the future would look like? No, I’m not trying to sell you insurance; but ponder for a second about the technology-driven sea change that our homes have seen in the last two decades. My vision of the future, much like many other millennials, was nudged along by popular cartoons, like the space age’s first family, The Jetsons. Understandably, 20 years on, I’m aggrieved that not everything on The Jetsons became reality; I feel rather shortchanged by the present-day paucity of flying cars for daily commute, for instance.
The essential quality of the future, in any case, that George Jetson tried to impress on us was convenience. An age of automation, he promised, where technology delivered a lifestyle that required very little daily fuss around the house. While we’re not employing robot house help just yet, there are several small businesses and start-ups that sell everyday convenience.
Take Bangalore-based JoMaange for instance—the company with the catch-all name that has you covered on a range of shopping chores, from laundry, medicines and supermarket supplies to a hot, home delivered meal at the end of a long day at work. Just call in with a shopping list and have it delivered. It’s a great idea and JoMaange have done well to build a loyal customer base, but fall short when it comes to scaling up; currently, their hyperlocal operations only extend to Frazer Town.
Another king of convenience, online store BigBasket, is in the process of consolidating its reach. BigBasket recently announced that they will tie up with offline retailers—a list of local supermarkets and grocers, for instance—to widen the scope of their reach and improve delivery times. Will they make it inside their 60-minute promise? We’ll know soon enough.
For fledgling brands like JoMaange, expansion is indispensable for long-term survival. The bigger players should be wary, particularly, of overreach compromising quality of service. As the leviathan that is e-commerce spreads its tentacles, you really hope that companies will really get it together with the delivery end. Because that’s what makes convenience, really—not just simplifying the purchase process with a great app, but also making equally sure that you supply the right deliveries without painfully tardy turnaround times. All those of you who’ve ever had to get on the phone with customer care after receiving somebody else’s order for freakishly large footwear will agree—the devil is in the delivery detail.