Nepal’s favourite online grocer
Nepalis don’t do frozen dinners. We like our vegetables and ingredients fresh—if possible, sourced on the very day we cook our meals. But Nepalis also increasingly live in crowded cities such as Kathmandu. And especially for job holders, taking the time out to buy fresh produce is starting to become a hassle they would rather not deal with. This is where Metro Tarkari comes in: delivering fresh grocery items, at market price, to customers’ doors. Metro Tarkari is an online grocery store, which as the name suggests, delivers more than 70 different vegetables and close to 3,000 other items all before sunrise. Although they don’t just sell vegetables, they don’t want to part with the ‘tarkari’ part of their brand identity because the brand has already become a household name in Kathmandu.
Metro Tarkari, which was launched in 2010, today completes an average of 50 deliveries, of items worth at least Rs 500. The company does not charge a delivery fee, and they provide the option of going with the Cash on Delivery model, or using an mPOS device to make the payment in person. Another convenient method for making the payment has to do with using online e-commerce portals like eSewa and Khalti. The price points for most grocery items featured on the website are on par with the current market price. Furthermore, besides offering regular festival discounts and offers, Metro Tarkari also allows customers to rack up reward points with each purchase. These reward points are accumulated over every purchase and can be redeemed once they reach a total of Rs 500, which can then be used towards further purchases.
For grocery outlets, the agriculture sector presents the challenge of selling vegetables at affordable rates: what overcoming that hurdle entails is eliminating middlemen. Doing so will create more profit for farmers and help pass on the savings to customers. With the inclusion of middlemen in the supply chain, costs soar above 500 per cent of the original price (tomatoes sourced at Rs 5 a kilo get sold at Rs 30 a kilo, for example). In their model, farmers are paid up front for the produce they will later harvest. For farmers, working with Metro Tarkari thus makes for a profitable business option—meaning, this model will remain profitable for all stakeholders for the long run.
How Metro Tarkari Works
Metro Tarkari takes orders via its web-shop, social media platforms, through an app and phone ins. The prices of vegetables are updated every day, before the first orders are confirmed. A confirmation call is made to all first-time users. A confirmed order is processed immediately, and the delivery mechanism is put into place. Once the order is delivered, the customer has the option to return the order if it is evident that the vegetable is not up to par. Regular customers are offered the option of subscribing to the Metro Tarkari portal, and deliveries will be made at the same time every day.
Metro Tarkari has figured out how to beat Kathmandu’s traffic by delivering their fare in varying time slots. Two time slots are available, between 5AM to 10AM and 5PM to 9PM, but a personal request could get a delivery done in the afternoon too. To ensure customers are delivered only the freshest vegetables, Metro Tarkari makes use of a cold-room setup that has the capacity to hold 60 per cent of their total inventory, and keep the vegetables fresh for 2-3 days.
The idea for Metro Tarkari came to Anil Basnet, the company’s CEO , during one of his endless work days at his first company, Metro Vibes. He couldn’t find the time to do the groceries for his family; to solve that problem for busy people like him, he came up with the initial idea of creating a company like Metro Tarkari. His team backed his idea to the hilt, and together they turned the idea into Metro Tarkari.
Metro Tarkari’s growth has been completely organic. Their sales figures per day stand at roughly Rs 1,00,000. Now, the plan is to scale up operations, by focusing primarily on agri-products, rather than dry ones. A larger cold room with the capacity to store more vegetables is another scale-up project in the plans.