New Delhi: Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali plans to take on e-commerce biggies such as Amazon and Flipkart, with the launch of its new ‘swadeshi’ online venture — OrderMe.
The company, headquartered in Haridwar, plans to sell everything — from herbal medicines, cosmetics, homecare, personal care products to organic fruits, vegetables, pulses, dairy products and confectionary items — via this new online venture.
The company launched the website on a pilot basis on 15 May, but the commercial roll out is expected within this month.
Acharya Balkrishna, CEO of Patanjali Ayurveda, told ThePrint the website will be the first e-commerce firm in India to be available in 12 local languages, including Hindi, Sanskrit, Gujarati, Tamil, Punjabi and Marathi.
“We have been working on an online model since the last few months. However, with the outbreak of coronavirus, we expedited the process of launch, which will help us in delivering the products straight to the customers’ doorstep,” Balkrishna said.
“Promoting the prime minister’s strategy on ‘vocal for local’, we have built a ‘swadeshi’ portal with an objective of selling quality products manufactured by all big and especially, small Indian companies, who are still unaware about the online market boom. Also, we will sell the organic produce from the farmers across India,” he added.
“We aim that by the end of this year, out of the company’s total revenue, 20 per cent should be contributed by the online sales,” he said.
This is the second launch of an online portal selling groceries in less than a month. In May, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries had launched an online extension of its grocery business under JioMart brand across 200 cities.
Telemedicine services, free delivery
Patanjali’s website, which is built by a Bangalore-based IT firm, Intellicus, is likely to be rolled out within this month for commercial sales. To fight competition, the differentiation plan is ready.
According to the company, it will deliver a variety of products sold under the Patanjali brand — including FMCG, dairy and personal care products, ayurvedic and herbal medicines, cosmetics — by roping in its retail stores.
To fight the competition, orders for as low as Rs 500 may not require any delivery charge. The company is also planning a same-day delivery model and is in talks with courier companies.
The company has also tied up with 1,500 ayurvedic experts, called “vaidyas”, for free online consultation through the website.
“The feature of telemedicine will be available on the website to provide free consultation in local languages,” Balkrishna said.
Will the move help Patanjali?
However, in the financial year 2018-19, according to a report by global consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel, Patanjali’s sales, in terms of volume, shrank in urban areas, and its growth reduced to a third in rural areas. Last year, the firm started improving its revenues again.
The company posted revenue worth Rs 3,562 crore between April and September 2019-20, its highest ever in the first half of any financial year.
The company in 2018 had shelved plans to re-launch its ‘swadeshi’ chatting platform, ‘Kimbho’, after it failed to impress security experts.
Promoted amid the Facebook data leaks, Kimbho was promoted as a safe alternative for Indian users’ personal data.
Experts said the “online game” for Patanjali won’t be easy.
“People have become comfortable with apps from Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and Dmart, Reliance on their phones. They don’t want to download new companies unless they are searching something very specific or heavily discounted,” said Abneesh Roy, retail expert, executive VP, Edelweiss Financial Services.
“Patanjali’s decision to come online looks more like their response to Covid-19 and flagging sales. It may even get a decent response in the initial phase, but post Covid-19, people would like to buy from stores apart from big online competitors,” he added.
“Also, it may be very challenging for the company to deliver on as many pin codes as companies like Amazon does unless they have a tie-up with a large delivery player,” said Roy.