Shopping app goes into retirement


It had been created by residents of a gated community in Siruseri as an in-house tech tool

In keeping with the easing of lockdown restrictions by the Government, residents of a gated community in Siruseri reportedly put certain in-house restrictions to a vote. A shopping system got dismantled, and so, a free web app that promoted it had to bow out. Created by residents, the app had punctuated shopping processes at two stores on the premises, with calculated pauses to ensure contact-less trading and social distancing. Its popularity growing beyond this community, it was even adopted by another. Despite its evident usefulness, the app lost favour with the residents.

Over the last seven months, best-laid plans by RWAs have come unstuck after initial success. In the end, these initiatives are not missteps, only miscalculations. Their applicability and value can’t be doubted. Only that, sometimes, their relevance was overestimated. Sometimes, inherent challenges had been glossed over.

At L&T Eden Park, this web app had made it possible for residents to shop at an in-house supermarket and vegetable store, from their living rooms. From a virtual shelf, they could check items into the cart. Before the purchase rolled into the reception, the resident would be notified, thereby cutting out queues in the collection area. In terms of social distancing in a shopping space, this was just what the doctor ordered.

Besides, every day, a special hour was earmarked for a pre-determined block which enabled residents of all eight blocks to buy all essentials before these ran out of stock. The creators kept finetuning the app, bunging in features to address previously unacknowledged issues. “Order till availability” was such a feature: It kept the order alive, carrying it over till the item was available at the stores and delivered to the resident. The creators also sought to address a socio-economic question by bringing small vendors — such as the tender coconut and milk vendors — into its purview.

And then, reality caught up with it.

Sathish Arcot, a resident of L&T Eden Park, says, “The vendors expressed their concern that the lack of shoppers’ footfall was affecting their business. Obviously, if people visited a store they would make more purchases than if they shopped from home. Besides, with government easing lockdown restrictions considerably, residents wanted an in-person shopping experience, of course with safety protocols in place. And this meant the app had to go.”



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