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Preventing traditional food markets to go out of the business from metropolitan cities of India

Financially empowering the individual vendors by integrating them to deliver their respective product at doorstep

Photo of Ambily Adithyan

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Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

Key Players are Local stores/Small Businesses Owners: Income generation, Develop capability to stay in the market A Delivery Network-"Grahak Sewa":Enabling business, Employment generation(procurement team,delivery team) Customers: Same Goods at Lower Prices, receives products at doorstep Location: To begin with, metros of India where the small stores are competing with these emerging markets to sell their products to the high income customers

How is your idea specifically using the power of communities to improve financial opportunities and resources?

Integrating these small sellers to form an organised sector will not only help them stay in the market but make them financially stronger than they are right now.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Interviewing the high end shoppers(members of my apartment to start with) on their preferences, proposing the idea to the sellers in the community market maybe even, running a pilot scale study in my apartment.

What skills, input or guidance might you be seeking from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Your food for thought on: viability of this idea and ways for prototyping. Who shall own the delivery solution: a not for profit organisation, govt??

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

The below timeline has been developed based on my discussions with the vegetable sellers of the community market near my house.

Story of neighbourhood community market near Delhi, India


The traditional community market in India comprises of mom and pop stores (popularly known as Kirana stores) managed by families or individuals, unorganised small shopkeepers, street vendors (fruits, vegetables and food), corner stores, and paper and cigarette shops. In the past decade, there has been a boom in retail chain business in the metropolitan cities of India and hence traditional supermarkets are losing market share to high-end grocers and convenience stores. Organised retailers including prominent players like Spencer's Retail, More and Food Bazaar are adopting Value Chain business model where they procure the produces directly from farmers and sell to customers by avoiding intermediaries. The emergence of organized retail undoubtedly gives consumers a wider choice of goods, more convenience, and a better shopping environment, among other benefits.  

Now apart from these big players, there are air-conditioned convenience stores which have open up in the residential complexes of these metropolitan cities. These small players sourcing from the nearby wholesaler are selling fruits and vegetables at 20-30% higher rates than the neighbourhood community market. Despite the fact that exorbitant rates are charged by the new emerging markets, I observed that most people in middle-high income group prefer visiting these markets.

The changing tastes and lifestyles of the consumers have made it imperative for the traditional retail to restructure itself to withstand the competition and meet the consumers’ demands and expectations. These traditional markets should embrace these modern retailing practices by organising themselves and getting assimilated into the organised sector.


Financially empowering the street vendors and small shop owners by forming a local group to enable a healthy competition with the counterparts.

Value-enhancing services like home delivery based options can help these traditional markets to tap high end consumers; however it is not sustainable for subsistence entrepreneurs to individually deliver their respective products at door step. This brings the need for a home delivery based platform integrating these individual entrepreneurs, providing a symbiotic relationship between the seller and the high end buyer.


Emergence of high end markets in the nearby area offering greater convenience:

An increasing youth population, rise in nuclear families, increasing working women population, rise in the disposable income and cashless purchase are some of the key factors leading to the growth of the organized retail. The working professionals often choose to travel extra miles to the high end markets on weekends rather than walking to neighbourhood stores. The customer often compromise on price (where the same vegetable is offered at lower price in the traditional market) due to the convenience of the availability of all products under one roof.

Changing ShoppingBehaviour

In today’s world people are running out of time for doing normal activities like shopping. Online or call based shopping is convenient for customers today (including me) from the comfort of getting everything at doorstep without expending their energy, time and fuel on physical shopping. The other enticing factors are that it alleviates the need to wait in long queues or search from store to store for a particular item.

Service Features:

  • The network wouldfunctionby  taking calls from the neighbourhoodprocuring items from respective sellers and delivering at doorstep.

  • Delivery of goods and products to residential apartments within 3km range within 45 minutes through eco-friendly vehicles.

  • Once successful, a website can be maintained where vendors register and provide information on various items available for the day .Through this online service products available can be purchased on a single click. This will ensure that the correct item reaches the customer. Apart from that, a list of goods and produces served will be distributed as pamphlet for ease of delivery among old people and children.

Quality Assurance

  • Regular feedback will be taken from the customers based on the service provided, quality, taste preference( street food)The items after collecting from individual vendors will be packed at Grahak Sewa for ensuring the quality of the item sold. Quality will be given the highest priority and the same will be communicated to the vendors in order for them to survive in the market

Others Option to be considered:

The Network could be linked to an online store chain like BigBasket ( and source the food (giving them the benefit of saving on money incurred in cold storage and warehouse)

Business Advantage:

  • Retaining old customers/ new customer acquisition

  • Increase in sales and revenue through telephonic and online orders  

  • Expanded growth opportunities in other metro cities by advertising and replicating the model

  • Economies of scale( through large procurement volume)

  • Sourcing to online fruit and vegetable store

Customer Advantage

  • Accessibility to service(ordering from home, saves time)

  • Quality Assurance(A promise of the home delivery network)

  • Same goods at lower price( as local markets have lower overheads)

  • Alleviates the need to wait in long queues or search from store to store for a particular item.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero

Hi Ambily,
I find your idea quite interesting, with huge potential to be reapplied all over the world.
I have some questions to continue polishing it:
- How would be the interaction between the different vendors? especially on the logistical terms. How do we make everyone to cooperate instead of having each of them trying to individual maximize their benefit (I don't understand yet how the model will solve its prisoner dilema)
- When people shop for fruit, vegetable or food, they like to see/touch/smell in order to chose their exact item. You mentioned the intention of focussing on quality, however this consumer behavior is part of the decision making process. How can we solve this issue?
- An easy way of prototyping this idea could be making a phone app simulator and test how people interact with the features (for example with Marvel). What do you think? Also, a user experience map could be very simple and useful for consumers to understand the idea visually and give their feedback..

There's only 10 days left, let me know if I can help you in any way.

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