With the gradual warming up to e-commerce and remote shopping, Pakistan has witnessed an exponential rise in tech startups. As recently as the last decade or two, it was hardly imaginable that people will turn to the internet to get information about items to purchase, let alone make purchases through the internet. Undoubtedly, our relationship with the internet has evolved if we are trusting companies we have never seen and people we have never met with our personal information and money to get their goods and services that we have not tried before.
The credit not only goes to the medium, that is the internet and e-commerce, but the people behind this medium who make great effort to stay true to their promise of delivering excellent goods and service. It took them time to gain our trust but it certainly has paid off for them. One such company that aims to be a part of your daily shopping experience and become household name is SmartMart.
What is SmartMart.pk?
SmartMart is an online grocery store that delivers grocery to your doorstep. Presently, SmartMart only operates in Islamabad. However, the company has plans to expand. According to their website, their mission is
“to provide best services and to develop an everlasting as well as blossoming relationship with our clients. The next few years will bring with it more exciting opportunities for you to join us and make our services better. We are providing the services 24/7 for our customers.”
As evident from their mission statement, SmartMart aims to create a long term engaging relationship by creating convenience for its customers that was never offered to them before.
Surely, there are many popular online shopping sites in Pakistan but none of the major players were catering to the most basic need like groceries. Those sites aimed for the more lucrative luxury items, gadgets and household electronics, perfumes, fashion accessories, clothing etc. but nothing so routine and fundamental as your groceries. SmartMart has found quite the niche for itself and with the right strategy, it can dominate the online grocery market.
How it works?
The mechanism of shopping via SmartMart couldn’t be easier. The list of items is available on the website. You can either make a call or order online by creating an account on the website. All orders are confirmed by a call from a customer service representative. Orders can be cancelled even after the confirmation.
The average delivery time ranges from 4 to 8 hours if the order is placed before 6 pm. Orders later than that are treated as the next day’s, therefore, those orders are fulfilled within at least 18 hours.
For orders lesser than Rs. 5,000, SmartMart charges delivery fee of Rs. 500 and Rs. 200 for orders that amount to Rs. 5,000 and above.
What’s in it for you?
SmartMart presently serves Islamabad only. However, plans of expansion are certainly in their pipeline. The areas catered to can be found here.
The items available on the website fall into five major categories: food items, drinks, household items, beauty products and baby items. Additionally, SmartMart delivers products from trusted household brands like Nestle, Unilever, P&G, K&Ns, Shan, Dalda etc so the standard of the products delivered to you is just as good as at your local mart.
Multiple payment options are available for SmartMart customers that include cash on delivery, Western Union and other local mobile money transfer services.
The return policy of SmartMart also seems pretty flexible. It provides the convenience of home delivery along with a streamlined system of collection and replacement of the returned item.
Finally and most importantly, the convenience of getting your groceries without stepping outside your home is the most important benefit.
Other players vying for the same customers
Online grocery shopping is a relatively novel sector of e-commerce in Pakistan. However, a few players have emerged in the market. Like SmartMart, these companies are confined to a single city. SmartMart’s major competitors include AramShop.pk, Doorstep.pk, RashanLelo.pk and PakistanGrocery.com
Doorstep.pk operates in Lahore whereas AramShop.pk, an Indian startup expanded into Pakistan, is based in Karachi and so is RashanLelo. However, the most formidable of these players is Pakistan Grocery, backed by a UK-based company 4U Services that not only offers delivery services in 15 big cities of Pakistan but also has quite a list of smaller cities and towns.
What SmartMart needs to watch out for?
Though the prospects seem bright, here are some threats that SmartMart needs to keep an eye out for.
- Its competitors expand aggressively into SmartMart’s territory. Seeing that Pakistan Grocery is backed by a UK-based company and AramShop comes from an Indian online grocery store, this possibility is quite threatening.
- By the time SmartMart expands to its competitors’ territory, they have established market dominance and there is little room for SmartMart.
- A local grocery store or mart starts its own website and home delivery service.
- One of the foreign investors decides to add ‘home delivered groceries’ to its portfolio.
- A local courier service gets into partnership with stores/marts for home delivery of grocery.
Moving beyond just the households: The Office Bundle
An intelligent decision on the part of the SmartMart team is to not neglect an important segment of the market, namely offices. In addition to attending to the grocery requirements of households, SmartMart also provides office bundles with basic items like tea, sugar, milk, tissues etc. These bundles are delivered free of charge.
Connect with SmartMart