Salt n Soap: Online Retailing of Food and Groceries
(9 pages of text)
In January 2020, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Salt n Soap, an online retailer of food and groceries in Kolkata, India, was reviewing the company’s strategy and business model. Salt n Soap had been in operation for six years, and now offered nearly 15,000 food and grocery (F&G) products of 1,000 distinct brands through its online retailing website. However, the Indian online F&G retail industry was highly competitive. Salt n Soap had a limited business footprint, mainly concentrated in Kolkata, India and unlike its competitors, it had not raised external equity funding. The CEO had to quickly reassess the current business model and strategy and prepare for the oncoming challenges from an increasingly competitive business environment. The decision had to be made before the end of the month so that any strategic changes could be implemented within the current financial year.
This case is suitable for use in graduate- and postgraduate-level courses on digital marketing, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, strategic management, and retailing. It can also be used for competency development programs aimed at training marketing managers and entrepreneurs and founders of new business ventures, especially in the F&G and online retail sectors. The case helps participants understand the concept of business models in the context of entrepreneurial start-up ventures. It helps students compare and contrast business models and assess their suitability to meet customer requirements. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- explain the size, scope, and growth of the Indian online F&G retailing industry;
- understand the business models of online retailing of F&G in emerging economies;
- identify drivers affecting purchase decisions of customers in the F&G products categories;
- explain how emergent competition affects the business models of incumbent firms; and
- make entrepreneurial business model pivot decisions.
India, Small, 2020
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