Groceries, specifically vegetable shopping, has been an activity that most people prefer to do in person in India. They liked to check the quality before making a purchase. This attitude changed due to the pandemic, as multiple lockdowns affected how we shop. People began to buy as well as sell vegetables online. Here I will explain how to sell vegetables online.
India’s online grocery market grew by 80% in 2020.
The pandemic has not just affected the end-consumer, it has also affected the supplier. Previously the suppliers focused on selling vegetables to restaurants and other food and beverage businesses. Now the suppliers need to reach out to families and small consumers.
One of the easiest ways to reach the end consumer directly is through digital platforms.
Where to start
To reach the end consumer directly, one should use inexpensive mediums like social media to sell vegetables online.
But the vegetable selling space is highly specialised and requires a different approach from traditional businesses.
The simplest way to start is by selling to your friends or acquaintances through WhatsApp or Facebook groups. This requires almost no investment but huge time commitment, as you must watch that you don’t miss a direct message (DM). However, you can keep 100% of the profits.
If you want to make a good living from your garden, you need to think bigger.
There are various cost and supply chain issues which can hinder the vegetable selling business. It is important to connect directly with buyers to avoid extreme overhead costs.
One such initiative that connects farmers to consumers directly is Harvesting Farmer Network (HFN).
Harvesting Farmer Network
Harvesting Farmer Network uses social media to help farmers sell their products to consumers directly, eliminating the middle men and providing consumers fresh vegetables and fruit.
HFN charges a small fee per transaction, but only for the transactions they handhold.
They encourage individuals to buy in bulk, as farmers are not willing to bear the cost for shipping and delivering smaller quantities.
HFN have listed some best practises on their Twitter account:
- Call a local farmer only if he/she is too far they won’t be able to deliver. Call farmer to find out.
- Buy in bulk – if you want to buy, likely your neighbors do as well. Place bigger order to make it worth it.
- Respect this community and be fair to each other.
- How much you pay is between you and the farmer.
- Discuss with your local farmer how to get the product at your doorstep.
- Create a WhatsApp group for your apartment society, get everyone to buy, place a bulk order.
To become a seller you need to send a WhatsApp text to them. More details on how to become a seller here.
If you wish to have a more steady source of income, you should approach marketplaces to sell your vegetables. Marketplaces like BigBasket, Bhajiwala.com and more can connect you to a large consumer base.
The fees these marketplaces charge are higher, especially if they take care of shipping.
Most marketplaces require the following to register as a seller:
- Company details
- FSSAI license
- GST Number
There are some exceptions. For instance BigBasket has a specific Farmer Connect programme:
“Under the programme, farmers bring their produce to collection points set up in the vicinity of their villages. BigBasket identifies farmers in small towns and remote areas growing specific crops and vegetables that border with tier-1 and tier-2 cities and then procure this supply directly from them.”
To register as a vendor on BigBasket click here.
If you’re a local shop that sources vegetables from farmers, you can also register as a vendor on Amazon and sell in your local geographical area. Apart from this, Amazon also has a grocery vendor registration process. However, this option doesn’t focus on vegetables or produce that cannot be stored for long.
Other platforms to explore:
- Bhajiwala (Mumbai area only)
- Dunzo (certain cities only)
- Satvik Krushidhan
Create your own online store
Instead of depending on other platforms only and going through the registration and documentation process, you could do something much simpler. You could start your own e-commerce store to sell vegetables online.
This is no longer a time-consuming process. GoDaddy keeps a listing of certified web developers who can create an online store for you.
With your own eStore you:
- Don’t have to share your profits
- Have complete control over your entire business
Be sure to ask your web developer about optimizing your new online store for search engines.
Make money selling vegetables online
There is a significant spike in demand for fresh produce and now is the time to capitalize on this demand and start making a profit selling vegetables online.
While you can use social media or a marketplace to begin, you will likely want to have your own eStore once you have regular buyers. By cutting down on fees you pay to others, you can offer customers lower prices to buy directly from you.
But in the meantime, get all your documentation in place so that you can use all the options we have mentioned to sell your vegetables online.