Tech allows farm-to-home startup Fraazo to grow sales by 750% during pandemic

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The COVID-19 situation has brought the contactless and touchless aspect of commerce at the forefront. At the best, the lesser amount of hands, the product has been passed through before being home delivered, the better.   

Fruits and vegetables are of daily consumption and given the current supply chain mechanism, it has a long tail that it passes through before the customer buys it. However Fraazo is a farm to home startup delivering fruits and vegetables directly from the farms.

Fraazo’s plan is to serve 1 million households in the twin cities of Mumbai and Pune in the next 18 – 24 months, deploying technology to improve productivity and customer experience, and providing absolute market linkage to over 500+ farmers. Additionally, embedding point-to-point traceability is on the radar and so is the opportunity to expand product offering to value added products in the vegetables and fruits space. EC spoke with Atul Kumar, Co-founder Fraazo.

Edited Excerpts

Please share some stats on the number of deliveries done, the kind of vegetables and fruits that are the most sold, what kind of offers work the most, etc?
We have seen a rise in our sales during this pandemic. When lockdown was announced, a large percentage of people stopped moving out of their homes and started using online apps to order groceries. Before the pandemic, we were delivering 200 orders per day but now we are delivering 1500 orders per day. Our sales have increased at a rate of approximately 750% during this pandemic which indirectly proved to be beneficial for our business as the sales are flourishing. In fact, seeing the rise in demand, we have also expanded our operations across Mumbai with 3 new dark stores at Goregaon, Bandra & Ghatkopar. Each dark stores coveres 6 kms surrounding the area. So that we can deliver farm fresh veggies and fruits as earliest as possible to the customers doorstep. We now live in Andheri, Powai, Versova, Juhu, Bandra, Khar, Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad & Ghatkopar.

The most important fresh produce for customers and our largest selling SKUs are the essentials being Potato, Tomato, and Onion. However, in value terms, Indian Vegetables and Fruits make up for the largest share. We keep coming up with multiple offers depending on sourcing efficiency and to pass the benefit to our customers. These offers work across all standard categories from Indian vegetables like Capsicum and Cauliflower to Fruits like Mango and Apples.

Do you have your captive storage infrastructure, if yes how many?
We’re a farm fresh player and do not believe in inventory. We do not stock. Our produce is freshly sourced from farmers on a daily basis.

How do you see the role of technology in solving the problem of delivering fresh vegetables and fruits in the least possible time to the customers?
The technology and digital channels have been positively impacting businesses across the country. Fraazo’s quick checkout interface allows customers to place orders with just a few clicks. Fraazo has built a real-time inventory platform for its dark stores which provides greater visibility of stocks of all products, especially for customers who are opting for on-demand “Express Delivery” orders. Fraazo has leveraged technology by building an internal application which is used at every stage of the supply chain, consequently improving the overall efficiency of the supply chain.

The digital channels have made the purchase of fruits and vegetables an easy process for busy customers. Hence, to cater to a large and growing online customer base and a 24/7 hygienic delivery is what sets Fraazo apart from its contemporaries.

What kind of emerging technologies are you using?
We are using cross platform technologies like Flutter/React to quickly solve our business needs, we save a lot of time by building apps for all the platforms. Our CI/CD deployment pipelines allow us to do multiple deployments within the same day. We are using containers and serverless computing for our microservices architecture which allows our team to have greater control of the product and gives them flexibility to scale up/down when it’s necessary. We’re using Machine Learning for predictive demand management at our retail centers and also working with route optimization techniques to rein in logistics costs. We are dipping toes into blockchain technology for traceability.

Further, we are experimenting with Hydroponic farming techniques and have entered into partnerships to expand into that space.

Like how CBS is for banks, Which is Fraazo’s core IT system. Please elaborate ?
Fraazo’s in house built backend system is the core of the IT systems, it allows different functions to independently work and at the same time share data internally quickly to move things forward. All the applications which are built for customers, farmers, retails ops, society ops, warehouse operations, logistics etc are supported by this backend engine. For example web/mobile applications which are made for customers helps them to view products, place orders, track order realtime, raise queries, give feedback and ratings etc, at the same time the backend system efficiently flows these customers data and order to retails ops function to manage and monitor it.

How integration friendly is your system with that of the IT systems of restaurants, and other institutions you work with ?
Our system is very flexible in terms of integrating with any third party restaurant/system, we have followed certain design principles while designing our system that it gives us flexibility to integrate with any third party partners. We are currently working with restaurant partners, last mile partners, logistic partners etc.     

What is your technology / digital strategy and what are you working on, in terms of enabling more tech features for farmers, end-customers, institutions, etc?
The Technology strategies which we have opted are an integral part of our supply chain. Starting with the Fraazo App, which is a convenience driven platform for ordering fresh food, tracking your order, return and refund management. Technology has been instrumental in helping us scale up our operations. On the supply and process side, tracking of harvesting schedules of our partner farmers, to geo-location of every lorry transporting goods across our supply chain, to route scheduling for all our deliveries early morning, to minimize transportation time and degradation, technology is embedded in our entire supply chain allowing us to keep point-to-point control over our supply chain.

Furthermore, we are working on several analytical possibilities to understand customer purchase patterns and choice of food across different localities so that we can offer the most desired vegetables and fruits customized to the needs of our customers.

From an end customer perspective, how much price reduction can he get (when he makes a purchase using Fraazo) when compared to buying from the local market, nearest fruit, vegetable vendor?
We pay fair prices to farmers and endeavor to save on supply chain wastages to control our costs. Though prices vary across seasons, we are amongst the fastest to transmit lower prices to our customers. A customer who shops on Fraazo through the seasons could end up reducing their costs by 20% – 30% depending on their consumption patterns.

When you say 18 hrs delivery, it’s more than enough time for vegetables and fruits to perish? More so on rainy days. What has been your experience?
Every Vegetable and Fruit has a different life after harvesting. The traditional supply chain is riddled with multiple handling resulting in higher wastage and quality reduction. In our experience, the most delicate of vegetables, the leafy greens, do well for 24 – 48 hours if handled properly. With our limited contact processes, the shelf life of the vegetables and fruits is better and they last long after our customers have received them and stored them properly.

But yes, vegetables are best consumed fresh which is what we promise. We deliver farm fresh vegetables and fruits everyday, so that our customers do not need to stock up and can always get a fresh product with its nutritional value intact.

What has been your NPS, so far?
Our Google play store rating is 4.4. Our NPS varies a bit across our delivery zones and ranges between 30-50.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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