This startup marries the convenience of contactless delivery with self-selection of fresh produce through automated stores in apartment complexes accessed via an app
Online shopping has its charms but also its disappointments when it comes to buying fresh produce. While delivery at your doorstep is certainly welcome, especially in today’s times, the quality of vegetables and fruits delivered does leave you unhappy at times. It is in such instances that we miss the joy of the touch-and-feel experience of selecting the freshest of greens or the firmest of tomatoes.
Retailtech startup Gobbly, started by Amit Ahuja and Ankur Agarwal in November 2019, is trying to solve that problem, marrying the convenience of contactless delivery with self-selection of fresh produce. It is setting up automated, contactless stores in apartment complexes, corporate offices, universities and colleges which can be accessed via the Gobbly mobile app. Based on the theme of ‘Connect, shop and go’, it’s as simple as using your home fridge, and the whole experience takes not more than 30seconds.
“Consumers should have our Gobbly app and all the products in the store can be seen on the app. Gobbly wallet can be recharged through credit/debit card, net banking/UPI/Paytm. Once you approach the fridge, just scan the QR code and the door will open. Take out whatever you want, keep it back if you don’t and close the door once you are done. Billing will happen automatically,” says Ankur Agarwal, co-founder, Gobbly.
The first of these automated stores have started operations in Palm Grove Heights and Dhoot Times Residency apartments in Gurugram. Next in line is Tulip Ivory apartment complex in the same city. “Though we started operations in January 2020 we had to stop our machines (15 placed till date) due to Covid-19 in mid-March. By the end of FY20 our aim is to capture 80-100 locations with an ARR of `15-18 crore,” says Agarwal.
At the same time, the Covid-19 restrictions have made a few irreversible changes in the buying pattern of millennials that work in favour of Gobbly. They prefer to shop inside their housing societies, avoid human contact and are more focused on buying from brands focusing on personalisation. That makes Gobbly a perfect solution as it is their nearest shop that lets them shop contactless, round the clock.
The USP of the Gobbly platform is its flexible tech architecture. Co-founder Amit Ahuja refuses to call it a vending machine, and says an automated fridge would be more of a fit. “The UI and UX of automated stores are far superior as compared to vending machines. Aspects like digital payments, ease of use and personalisation are its winning features,” he says. “We receive transaction data with detailing of time slots, demographic, what is being picked with what, location and tons of other useful information. We are using machine learning models to make demand prediction, placement and refilling of fridges and customised discounting,” he adds.
Gobbly can sell anything as per location demand. As of now, the focus is on fresh food, fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, besides curated fresh F&B products including meals, snacks, salads, desserts and select packaged third party brand packaged goods. “We are targeting instantaneous consumption which can be fulfilled by grocery delivery apps. Small purchase/ late night purchase/ immediate need are the use cases which exist in society, corporate offices and colleges and can’t be fulfilled by hyperlocal players,” explains Ahuja.
Gobbly’s business model has already kindled interest among investors. It has raised $500,000 seed funding from venture capital firm Sauce.vc. It now waits to see whether consumers are enthused with this AI-driven automated, contactless retail chain.