COVID19 scare: Online stores help people stay inside while shopping in Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar: A few days back, Shakir Ahmed, a resident of Batapora area of Srinagar ran out of some essentials at home.
With elderly people at home, he preferred not to move out amid fear of contracting the virus at crowded grocery stores and putting family at risk.
“I heard about an online platform called Grofrills from a friend who had ordered from them. The store is located in Zakura, just a few kilometres away from my residence and I thought it was the best option. Our area recently reported growth in COVID cases and in such circumstances if you get a chance to have things delivered at your doorstep, it is the best thing to do. We have elderly people with underlying diseases at home and it is always a risk to venture out given that the grocery stores are usually crowded. The online option helps us to get many things at one stop for which you might have to visit multiple stores,” Ahmed said.
In the past few years, the trend of online grocery stores and other online outlets have gone up.
With the availability of smartphones in every household, these apps are easily accessible and people are moving to remote shopping of essentials.
The owners of these online delivery outlets say that their business is picking up amid the increasing COVID crisis.
Haseeb Khan, co-owner of Grofrills online grocery said that the online stores held in containing the COVID19 by restricting the movement of public.
He said that the pandemic has taught us many things and relying on online shopping of essentials is one of them.
“After we started the store last year, the pace of orders was low. It is because people in Kashmir are yet to fully adapt to online grocery shopping. But as the pandemic hit, most people prefered online grocery shopping and we gave that option to people. We started to deliver chicken also and we are going to add many more things in future too,” Khan said adding that since the lockdown they are getting twice the online orders as they used to get on normal days.
While Grofrills have a store of their own from where they supply the essentials, others have tied up with local vendors.
These platforms have given sellers the option to get their stores online so that people can buy from them using the online platform.
‘Jhelum cart’ is another online platform that is providing more than just groceries to people.
Ahmed Nabeel, co-founder of the platform said that in distressing times the platform is helping people to get the essentials and vendors to stay in business amid lockdown.
“We have designed the platform in such a way that it is becoming a bridge between the seller and customers. We have over 100 sellers on our platform who sell everything from clothing to books, kitchenware, and thousands of other items. Right now people are increasingly preferring online shopping and we provide them with the same option,” Nabeel said.
Online payments have made it easy for customers to get things delivered with the least physical contact. In Kashmir more and more people are relying on online shopping amid knockdown and many young techies and sellers are collaborating to get their businesses online.