COVID-19 put grocery shopping on an irreversible trend: ordering online or e-grocery (aka qcommerce, ‘q’ for quick). Mobility restrictions or not, why go to the supermarket when it can deliver what we want quickly, without having to trek the miles, on foot or by car?
But there are a few caveats.
Many e-grocery apps levied high service and delivery charges, and items came with markups that would otherwise be cheaper in-store.
Perhaps many have had to live with these issues during lockdowns, but one company is making sure you don’t have to pay a premium for this convenience at any time, now or post-COVID-19.
Yeepeey is a new e-grocery app that’s got both users and groceries thrilled as it positions itself as Dubai’s first pocket-friendly application, from both a user and store perspective.
In an exclusive interview with the startup’s three co-founders, AMEinfo reveals key strategies behind the huge success the company is already experiencing.
Strategy 1: Keep it simple and promote small merchants
Conceptualized in 2019, Yeepeey is where users can shop from small neighborhood grocery outlets to large hypermarkets, paying the same in-store prices and enjoying the same promotions & discounts displayed there, and have it all delivered within 30-45 minutes.
Yeepeey is making huge customer acquisition inroads with small merchants.
“E-grocery apps are not new. They are pre-COVID but mostly in use by large tech-savvy supermarkets, not neighborhood groceries,” said Sagar Chandiramani, Yeepeey co-founder.
“The pandemic accelerated the transition from in-store to delivery, and smaller stores realized it was important for them to embark on this journey.”
But as they were used to doing things manually, smaller grocery stores were hesitant to deep dive into tech out of fear it was too complicated.
“That’s one important aspect we wanted to fulfill, not only for neighborhood groceries but also from a user perspective. We wanted to keep things as simple as 1,2,3,” shared Sagar.
“We have three applications in one. The user app, the store app, and a delivery app, and all are so easy that any small child can use.”
Yeepeey co-founder & Head of Partnerships Jatin Sharma said that the company markets small neighborhood shops very heavily.
“We address another pain point for neighborhood grocery shops which is that they are not marketing themselves because they lack funding. We also automate a lot of their processes and smaller stores may not know how much inventory they have and so we provide them with inventory counts, which helps us as well,” explained Sharma.
Strategy 2: Make it profitable for large supermarkets
Yeepeey is also gaining traction with larger groceries and hypermarkets.
“The bigger players have had agreements with e-grocery apps since 2015/16 and the increasing competition and the growing consumer demand in the grocery ordering and delivery space has accelerated their acceptance to newer players such as ourselves which is very encouraging given our compelling collaboration model with these stores to create a win-win partnership,” revealed Sagar.
According to co-founder & CEO Monish Chandiramani, one of Yeepeey’s revenue streams was in fact to charge stores an extremely competitive commission through the app, but that it was a much lower fee than other grocery apps charged.
“Broadly, the commission rates differ from merchant-to-merchant and it largely depends on which party is servicing the delivery. The commission ranges between 3-12% in most cases with the exception of a few,” said Monish.
“Some merchants claim to save almost 20% in commissions with Yeepeey.”
Yeepeey prefers leaving last-mile deliveries to supermarket and neighborhood grocery stores “as that ensures speed, quality, and resource optimization for the supermarkets.”
“We handle the logistics for very selective stores like Union COOP, but overall we have 30% logistics coverage, while the other 70% are handled by the stores themselves,” revealed Monish.
Dealing with small and large grocery shopping markets, and with people choosing to shop in bulk while staying indoors, has helped Yeepeey witness a perfect blend of small and large order basket sizes which depends upon the ordering audience, i.e. commercial or residential localities.
“The average basket size is around UAE50 Dirhams (about $15). However, due to our ability to service large orders, the recent introduction of Ramadan-themed gift hampers and presence across Dubai including residential areas with large families living together, our average based size currently exceeds the market average by 25-30% in spite of the majority of the number of orders being instant and smaller purchases,” said Sagar.
Strategy 3: Minimize user costs, maximize UX
Yeepeey’s core strategy is to ensure that in no instance is the user burdened with a heavy cost of convenience.
For this reason, the commercial agreements between the app and the merchant is not levied on the customer and hence, the customer is never charged anything beyond the in-store prices.
“Our other revenue stream is a users’ service fee which we intend to make one of the lowest in the market. We don’t want customers to overpay for basic necessities they need on a daily basis,” said Monish.
“While most other platforms charge users anywhere from AED 7-10, we currently charge either half of that or sometimes even less which remains our USP as a pocket-friendly e-grocery app.”
“We aim to be one of the most economical apps in the business by offering a disruptive service fee to our customers ensuring the same quality and quick delivery.”
Strategy 4: Grow organically and invest
Yeepeey has covered over 150 stores and activated 50 merchants on its app across 30 localities in Dubai since its official launch including Dubai Marina, Business Bay, Barsha, JLT, JBR, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Downtown Dubai, Bur Dubai, Deira, Dubai Studio City, Karama, Greens, Lakes, and Emirates Hills.
“Our development is evident from the 300% growth in our user count since our official launch in February and onboarding of more than 50 merchants, large, medium, and small, such as Union Coop, E-City, Blue Mart, and many more,” said Jatin.
Yeepeey now has 75 new merchants in the pipeline and counting.
Yeepeey is self-capitalized on the strength of funds provided by a highly successful sister company in fintech, but the journey ahead requires raising new capital.
“We plan a roadshow to raise pre-seed capital of $1.5-$2 million by the end of Q2, and mainly to invest in more marketing, talent acquisition, and technology to help our expansion,” revealed Sagar.
Strategy 5: Become a ‘super app’
Sagar said that the co-founders’ experience is in technology, and specifically, fintech, which deals with complex issues like regulatory compliances and anti-money laundering laws.
Yeepeey operates a technology hub from India and believes it has the tools and know-how to develop, operate, monitor, and maintain a robust back end to any commercial venture.
“We started with groceries and this month we would be launching app services catered to those who, for special occasions, like to order flowers and confectionary from specific shops,” announced Monish.
“Other verticals will include pharmacies, pet shops, butcheries, and stationary, coming up over the course of this year. We are going for a super app that is integrated with fintech as a one-stop-shop for all q-commerce needs.”