Online Liquor Market in India – A Case Study

Quick points about the market

India is the 3rd largest liquor market in the world.

One of the fastest growing markets in the world, on the back of demographics & economy.

Strong MNC presence with Diageo, Beam Global, Pernod Ricard, Heineken, S.A.B. Miller, Carlsberg and more.

market share of alcohol products

Highlights from the article – “Online Liquor Retailing is a Business With a Twist” by Franchiseindia on Dec, 2013

A burgeoning working class having busy schedules but a high disposable income are the target customers of this segment. Another key driver is the growing number of women drinkers, who are uncomfortable to shop liquor from the often dim-lit and overcrowded stores. Moreover, a new breed of globetrotters with a taste for imported wines and spirits, which are not easily available at local stores, is fueling the trend.

Madhuloka Liquor Boutique is a leading chain of modish liquor stores in Bangalore. Keeping in view the activity in the ecommerce space, it forayed into the online space with Madhuloka.com, last year (2012, that is).

Shivalingegowda Lokesh, Managing Director, Madhuloka Liquor Boutique, says, “The online retail contributes nearly 10 per cent to our total sales. We expanded online to cater to the customers who do not have time to visit stores due to their busy schedules. In addition to this, e-commerce is emerging as the new way of trade.”

Madhuloka Liquor Boutique has 17 outlets in Bangalore. It delivers orders placed online within a range of three to four kilometers of these outlets.

Highlights from the article – “Click for a hic: Order your liquor online” by Business-standard on September 8, 2014

On a Sunday afternoon, three friends ran out of beer but the thirst could not be pacified as they’d decided not to drive after drinking. That’s how Dhruv Khandelwal, an equity research analyst, got the idea for online retailing of alcohol in Delhi. He started letsbuydrink.com last year.

Khandelwal’s counterpart in Bangalore had a different reason to venture into online retailing of alcoholic beverages. The owner of Madhuloka Liquor Boutique, with 17 stores across Bangalore, noticed a trend that young consumers, mostly the technology professionals, tend to keep a stock at home because of their unusual working hours. Madhuloka then started its online platform that offers the “convenience of shopping in your own time in your own space when you need to stock up or for an event or replenish your fridge with your favourites”.

A handful of online retailers have started offering alcoholic beverages through the e-commerce route since then. Letsbuydrink.com caters to Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Mumbai and offers imported alcoholic beverages for sale. There is Madhuloka in Bangalore, wineBazaar.in and in Mumbai and boozzr.com in Delhi, among others.

The fall of most online stores

Quora answer by the cofounder of MakeMyDrink, on why it was shut down.

Nishant Jayaprakash, MakeMyDrink

What lies ahead

In a world where everything is getting online, alcohol will come there too, it is only a matter of time, a time when the Indian society openly welcomes the new trend and the government amends its outdated and obsolete laws regarding this matter. Until then, the following major issues will pertain-

  1. Too risky business
    As with the case of Make my drink, most startups in this business will have to shut down because there won’t be money coming in from any investor. Nobody wants to invest money in a business that might get shut down in a day.
  2. Anyone can jump in
    There can’t be much disruption here, as most of you might already have figured out. It is the same as food-tech, where with just a website/app, payment gateway and service provider one can get started.

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As a college activity, I had done an extensive research on the Indian online liquor market, some of which I haven’t published here. Please get in touch if you feel more information on this could be helpful, I’ll definitely write you back.

Writing your blog – Part 1, Getting started

On my previous post Why I [finally] decided to start blogging! I promised to write about how you can get started with your own blog. Well, here it is!

Assuming that you have already made up your mind about starting your blog, it is now time to address the questions that follow. “I can’t code, will I be able to create by blog?”, “What should I write about?”,  “Where should I host the blog?”, “Who are going to read my blog?”,  “Will it be good enough?”… Let us look into these one by one.

I can’t code, will I be able to create my blog?

Well, YES. All you need to start blogging is a laptop with an internet connection, your thoughts and some time.

What should I write about?

What should I write about?

Choosing the right topic(s) for your blog is both important for you and your blog readers. Its important for you because if you don’t choose the right topics, the topics that are most interesting to you, you won’t be able to create good content. Your blog readers won’t be able to get much value out of your posts and eventually you’ll either have to shut down or pivot to a topic that you find interesting and have good knowledge about.

Here are some hints about how you can choose topics:
  1.  You can write about what you do – i.e., your profession. This is a very good idea because you are very connected with it, you won’t run out of thoughts to write about it, you’ll write good content and gain fair credibility and recognition in your professional community. If you are a photographer, for example, you can write about the new photography techniques you learnt, some amazing pics you clicked on your last trip and about a really cool camera that is hitting the markets soon.
  2. You can write about your hobby. OK, its not about your profession, but its something you find very interesting. You like travelling, for example. So you write about your experiences while travelling – the places you visit, about the new people you meet, about the food and weather, about travelling hacks and tips, etc.
  3. You can write about something you’ve wanted to write about for a looooong time. So this is neither about your profession nor about your hobby. But you’ve had a fascination about it. You’ve always somehow wanted to do it. Suppose you’ve wanted to share your spiritual thoughts with your peers and friends but never got the right place and time. Your blog is that place. Its OK if you feel you don’t have deep thoughts about spirituality, so you can then enhance your knowledge about it by reading books, reading blogs of spiritual leaders etc.

Where should I host my blog?

Now comes the more practical question of where to host your blog. There are many options for this, lets look into each –

  1. Option 1 – free WordPress or Blogger sub-domain. This is the simplest option. You sign up in WordPress or Google Blogger and follow the on-screen step-by-step instructions to create your blog. This is the best option when you are a first time blogger and are just checking out how it goes, unsure of whether you’d want to continue it for a long time. But this is NOT a good option if you are looking forward to build your personal or professional brand or want more credibility.
    Create your WordPress blog hereCreate your Blogger blog here
  2. Option 2 – using a standard WordPress hosting provider. This is the most common and simpler option after the first one. Hosting providers like Godaddy and HostGator provide WordPress solutions which anyone with a credit card and an email address can avail. You simply need to choose the plan that suits you and follow the on-screen instructions to create your blog. The prices are reasonable, and if you are looking into blogging as a long term activity and are expecting a fair amount of readers, this is the best option for you.Godaddy WordPress hosting pla
    HostGator WordPress hosting plans
  3. Option 3 – Creating your own blogging software. [Requires coding knowledge] This is the most advance option and suitable when the blog is not a personal blog but a company blog and you want to have full control over it. You can create a blogging web app and choose a service like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure to host the application. Again, this is an advanced option and anyone looking to run only a personal blog need not consider it. Still, if you want to know more about it, keep following my blog, I’m going to come up with a related post very soon.

    Will it be good enough?

Well, you have to do it to know it. This is only the start. You’ll come across some new terms like S.E.O., email marketing, back-links etc that you might not understand but that’s OK. You might not get the number of readers you expected but that’s OK. Things will pick up with time.

So now you have sufficient knowledge and thoughts to begin with your blog. Please write in any comment you have or would like to know anything, I’ll definitely reply. Happy blogging!

 

Why I [finally] decided to start blogging!

I have wanted to write my blog for quite some time now, but because of several reasons, procrastination being one of the major ones, it couldn’t be possible until today. And now that I am finally one sentence into my first post, I believe a few things are going to be constant through all my posts, like I have wanted from any blog post – they are going to be crisp, practical and easily comprehensible and something you can find objective use of in your daily lives.

Well different people have different motivations and objectives behind blogging. Here are my reasons-

Blogging gets you to meet more people and meet people better.

Well there is Facebook, Twitter and all that but they are very limited. You are friends on Facebook with your close friends, your good friends, your school friends, your family friends and with [some] of your relatives and colleagues and occasionally become friends with new people you meet. But what about the rest? What about those people who are not on your friends list and people whom you are unlikely to meet ever in your life, but are very like minded, motivated by the same ways you are, excited by the same things you are and trying to do what you are?

Blogging gives you a voice. The voice that helps you reach out to those people whom otherwise you would never have known. And its easier each day to do this, i.e. to reach out to more people through only the internet. And in the significance of networking, the American businessman Robert Kiyosaki said –

The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.

Not meeting new people is like not reading new books. Not meeting new people is like not travelling to new places. Not meeting new people is like not learning new things. So if you can relate to the importance of meeting new people and would like to keep doing that, then blogging is the nearest-to-perfect tool for you!

Blogging gets more people to know you and people to know you better

you-selling-yourself

Imagine the juice shop in the above picture to be inside a house, or inside a small place with the same people everyday. Then of course other people wont know about it and the vendor wont be able to make any sales.

Just like the juice shop, your personal blog is your shop. In this shop you are the producer, you are the product, you are the service and you are the salesman. It makes people notice you and interact with you.

You learnt a new programming language and want to tell people about that, your blog is the place. You are working on an exciting project and want interested people to join you, your blog is the place. You got lots of experience with email marketing and want to help people with that, your blog is the place.

The new world without borders opens many doors for you

The new, bigger and more connected world where blogging takes you opens up many new opportunities for you. A few examples can be –

  • You write a blog post on a technology and one of the readers happens to be a co-founder of a startup that need exactly that technology, so she connects with you to discuss about that.
  • You write a blog post about email marketing sharing your best hacks and readers in turn comment their hacks. Everyone (you, the most) ends up being more enriched with email-marketing-knowledge. You can now apply these hacks to get more out of your email campaigns.
  • You write about a new project you are raising funds for and one of the readers is also working on a similar project. So you guys connect and decide on working together, combining your funds, energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise.
  • Through a comment chain in one of your posts you get to know a reader whose age is twice that of yours and is twice as fit as you are. You set a new goal to stay more fit.

There would be endless examples here and so would the opportunities be.

To sum it up, blogging expands your valuable network, gives you new opportunities and you learn a lot!

I’ll be writing a post on how to create your blog and getting started very soon, please subscribe to receive updates.