Shopping is set to become even more convenient with the arrival of Deligram, an omni-channel e-commerce company that promises to harness existing corner shops in neighbourhoods to act as their collection points.
Customers can order at www.deligram.com or the mobile app, which will go live today, and have their desired products delivered to their homes within 24 to 96 hours.
They can also choose to pick up their Deligram orders from their nearest corner shops. In that case there will not be any delivery charge.
The Deligram partner corner shops will be provided with a tablet computer and product catalogue, so customers would also be able to place orders from there -- a facility that would come in handy for those who do not own a smart device or are not comfortable placing orders online.
This will save customers from the countless incoming phone calls from delivery personnel to schedule a delivery time and locate the address, said Waiz Rahim, the chief executive officer of Deligram, which officially started its journey yesterday.
If there are any problems with the orders, customers can drop off the items for return at their nearest corner shop within seven days.
The idea for Deligram came into being in 2017 with one simple goal: reinvent the retail channel by leveraging the presence of local corner shops to overcome infrastructural challenges.
Deligram started piloting their unique online business model in Cumilla from July last year by partnering with 40 neighbourhood retail stores.
Buoyed by an overwhelming response, it then moved to Dhaka in January this year and partnered with another 60 stores to deliver their products. By the end of the year, Deligram wants to expand its footprint to 10 of the biggest cities and increase its agent shop count in Dhaka to 1,000.
Currently, Deligram is delivering 300-400 orders on an average every day from their catalogue of 15,000 products from 200 brands. Rahim, whose grandfather started Rahimafrooz, has raised a total of $2 million from a network of institutional and angel investors including Skycatcher and Everblue Management.
Deligram has so far raised $2.5 million, including $500,000 attained as seed money in 2017.
The company is also trying to raise another $10 million by the end of this year as e-commerce is a very capital incentive business. Rahimafrooz Group, which founded supermarket chain Agora, is also onboard as a strategic incubator and investor, Rahim said.
Less than 1 percent of the country's grocery business is captured by the e-commerce channels. “There is huge potential in this field but the delivery channels are ridiculous here. Our plan is to bring some innovation into the retail delivery system.”
The neighbourhood stores that tied up with Deligram will get commission and at the same time the e-commerce company will market the shops both physically and digitally.