Rajiv Warrier
Rajiv Warrier, CEO, Choithrams Image Credit: Supplied

How has Choithrams tweaked its online model to combat the Covid-19 crisis?

Choithrams has been at the forefront of online retail even before the crisis. We invest [and continue to] in technology, supply chain, and infrastructure. Choithrams.com is a natural extension of our retail model, so, the tweaks are minimal, as we are geared up to scale easily. We restructured operations, increased stock levels of often bought items, number of pickers and delivery staff and we hired 3rd party aggregators to support demand and meet our customers’ expectations.

Compared to an online-only model, we are omni-channel so we can serve customers, online, via phone, or offline from our 40 stores across the UAE. All complement each other and this gives our customers more choice, product range and faster delivery.

What changes are seen in consumer spending in the last few months for Choithrams.com?

We have noticed unprecedented demand. Initially, customers were worried of product availability, which led to panic buying and stock piling. The average order size increased due to the stay-at-home advisory. Discretionary spending has reduced and slanted towards essentials like groceries. It led to lot of new customer signups who have become regular. Even traditional, non-tech savvy customers are embracing online, digital payments, and the contactless approach faster.

What are the new online deals with maximum traction?

There is an overall increase. Demand for essentials or staples like rice, oil, flour, frozen and canned foods, fruits, vegetables and dairy increased since consumers are cooking and eating at home.

There is also demand for safety and hygiene products like sanitizers and disinfectants. There’s higher seasonal demand due to Ramadan and summer deals.

Moving forward, what is Choithrams plan for online retail?

We are constantly evolving our website and operations to improve the user experience. We fast-tracked online projects to cater to the demand for online shopping. The focus on online will only increase and be a strategic part of our company.

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