Serving Brampton, Mississauga


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Through this blog post, I (Harsh Kohli) intend to introduce you to a Canada-based grocery startup that I cofounded last year (2023) with a very special team of entrepreneurs. And give you a sneak peek at what we are building, why we are betting our lives on it, and how we are scaling it.   
We are building one of the Canada’s first pureplay online grocery chain with a brand name “GoDirect”. The name itself is a testament to the vision of removing the inefficiencies in the Canadian grocery supply chain and going DIRECT from the source ➡️ to ➡️ the ➡️ consumer’s ➡️ home. The direct here could be a farmer, a small manufacturer, an artist or an entrepreneur running a small shop somewhere.  
GoDirect was conceptualized during the COVID-19 pandemic when physical supply chains were disrupted, around July 2020. The product design phase took approximately one year, followed by market research in Canada, which started around February 2022. Technology development began in January 2023, beta testing with friends and family in August 2023 and we went live with orders in September 2023🎉
The core pillars of our business model are:
1) Centralized, highly efficient procurement
2) Hyperlocal inventory with micro-fulfilment centers or dark stores based distribution
3) Omni-channel, consumer facing tech platforms (like web, mobile, Instagram store, kiosk retail points and more). 
Our first micro-fulfilment center is operational in Mississauga (Ontario) which serves 3 cities namely Brampton, Mississauga and Etobicoke with a total population of more than 2 million consumers. As per our team’s analysis, Canada needs at least 100 such micro-fulfilment centers from coast to coast to fully cover the geographical spread, optimally serve 10 million Canadian and transform the country’s grocery ecosystem from physical grocery chain to online grocery chain model, which has numerous socio-economic benefits as I shall explain in this blog post. 
GoDirect’s core team comes from various parts of India and bring 15+ years of technology, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) experience with an unwavering passion to serve Canadian consumers with a world-class, futuristic, empowering, technology-driven grocery chain. 
The timing to launch GoDirect is bang-on as the Canadian tech story is unfolding fast 🚀, with an ever increasing digital adoption📱of consumers and businesses alike, and the need to ease the macro-economic pressures like food inflation, unemployment to create tangible efficiencies. Our team is bullish about the underutilized and underserviced eCommerce ecosystem in Canada while we are witnessing a rapid shift in shopping habits of both digital immigrants and digital natives. And our bet is that online groceries will become the default shopping behavior for at least 10mn population in the next 3 years (our Total addressable market). GoDirect is one of the leading startups working on this paradigm shift to online groceries. Let’s now talk about the immense socio-economic benefits of online grocery shopping for Canadian consumers:

Socio-economic benefits of Online Groceries

1) Dollar savings💵:
Price Comparison: Online platforms allow consumers to easily compare prices across different brands and products, ensuring they find the best deals without the need to physically visit multiple stores.
Digital Coupons and Offers: Online platforms regularly offer digital coupons and promotional discounts that are easily applied during checkout, helping consumers save money on their purchases.
Avoiding Impulse Buys: Shopping online can reduce impulse purchases often made in physical stores, where consumers might be tempted by displays and promotions for items they don’t necessarily need.
Time and Fuel Savings: On an average, a household does 3 micro and 1 major grocery trip a week, amounting to at least 5 hours. In dollar terms, this translates to $100 or more per household per week.  
2) Convenience:
24/7 Availability: Online grocery stores are accessible 24×7, 365 days a year, allowing consumers to shop when it’s convenient for them, whether it’s late at night or early in the morning.
Planned Delivery: Most online grocery platforms allow the users to choose a delivery slot, which ensures that grocery shopping matches your schedule rather you visiting a physical store during working hours.
Doorstep Service: Doorstep delivery is the default method for online grocery platforms, the modus operandi changes from platform to platform. Some platforms leave the parcel outside the door, some hand it personally to the consumer. 
3) Assured availability🤝:
Reliability: With pureplay online grocery platforms, you get what you see 99.99 percent. This is different than a shopper-driven online grocery platform (like Instacart) where you get what’s available on the shelves or backend stores of a Grocery store.
Flexibility: Options such as same-day or next-day delivery cater to different consumer needs, offering flexibility in when groceries are received.
4) Delightful service🚴‍♂️:
Personalization: Online platforms often analyse buying patterns of consumers and offer personalized recommendations based on consumer preferences, enhancing the shopping experience. In addition, their customer service and operations teams are always on the toes, there to help a consumer through in-app chats and easy voice calls. This is different than 
Customer Reviews: Consumers can read reviews and ratings from other shoppers, helping them make informed decisions about products before purchasing.
Easy Reordering: Features like one-click reordering of frequently purchased items simplify the shopping process, saving time and effort for repeat orders.
5) Accessibility and Inclusivity🙌
Remote Access: Residents of remote or rural areas gain access to a wider range of products that may not be available locally, reducing dependency on limited local stores.
Mobility Challenges: Individuals with mobility issues or disabilities can shop independently and have groceries delivered directly to their homes, promoting independence and convenience.
Language and Cultural Accessibility: Online platforms can cater to diverse linguistic and cultural preferences, providing a more inclusive shopping experience for immigrant communities and non-native speakers.
It’s not just the individuals that are benefitted from a nation-wide grocery business. Farmers, small businesses and other producers also get facilitate as outlined below.

Small Business Benefits of Online Groceries

There are tremendous benefits🎁for the Canadian small to mid-sized enterprises who represent 91% of all enterprises and are the lifeline of the country. A centralized procurement, exhaustive and hyperlocal product portfolio, and micro-fulfilment based supply chain ensures opportunities for small, local businesses in areas such as:
a) Micro-warehousing🏪:
    Cost-effective Storage: Small businesses can utilize micro-warehouses within the fulfillment center to store inventory closer to their customers, reducing transportation costs and improving delivery times.
    Inventory Management: Access to shared warehouse space allows businesses to maintain optimal inventory levels, respond quickly to demand fluctuations, and avoid the risks associated with overstocking or understocking.
b) Running Franchises🤝:
    Local Entrepreneurship: Micro-fulfillment centers can serve as hubs for local entrepreneurs to establish and operate franchise outlets of established eGrocery brands.
    Brand Affiliation: Franchising offers small businesses the opportunity to leverage the reputation and marketing resources of larger brands, enhancing their visibility and credibility in the market.
c) Small-scale Production🏭:
    Specialized Products: Local producers can use micro-fulfillment centers to manufacture small batches of specialized or artisanal products that cater to niche markets or unique consumer preferences.
    Quality Control: Centralized production facilities ensure consistent quality and compliance with food safety standards, boosting consumer trust and satisfaction.
d) Last-mile Delivery🚚:
    Local Delivery Services: Small businesses can provide efficient last-mile delivery services from micro-fulfillment centers to nearby residential and commercial areas.
    Customized Delivery Solutions: By integrating with eGrocery platforms, local delivery services can offer personalized delivery options, such as same-day or scheduled deliveries, meeting the diverse needs of customers.
e) Marketing and Communications📢:
    Targeted Campaigns: Small businesses can collaborate with eGrocery platforms to launch targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with local demographics and consumer preferences.
    Community Engagement: Micro-fulfillment centers provide opportunities for direct engagement with customers through promotions, events, and feedback initiatives, fostering community loyalty and brand advocacy.
f) Packaging and Labeling📦:
    Branding Opportunities: Small businesses can customize packaging and labeling within micro-fulfillment centers to reflect their brand identity and enhance product presentation.
    Efficiency and Compliance: Centralized packaging facilities ensure efficient assembly and labeling processes, adhering to regulatory standards and minimizing errors in product packaging.

Labor Market Benefits of Online Groceries

On top of the consumer and small business facilitation, a micro-fulfilment model is also labor intensive especially on the picking, packing, and the fulfilment/delivery side. Even when most of the labor is outsourced in a micro-fulfilment model, it has a positive trickle-down effect on the labor market. Online grocery startups worldwide have proven be a great source of employment opportunities across various geographical clusters because they aren’t concentrated in the bigger cities or high population dense clusters like a downtown. The magic of a micro-fulfilment or a dark store powered grocery platform is its geographical spread, wide reach, and infinite possibilities of tailoring products to the needs of geography, overcoming the typical barriers of a physical grocery store.

Thank You

We wish to receive support and encouragement from readers like yourself. If you are a journalist, opinion leader, business leader, investor, or another budding entrepreneur, do think about GoDirect’s eGrocery revolution in the making. And if you do get impressed by it, write to us at and we would be happy to respond to your questions, suggestions and improvement areas.
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