As London Indians would know, you are never too far from a retailer that sells Indian groceries and food items – there’s Southall, Wembley, Tooting, Hounslow, Kingsbury, Rayners Lane, Harrow, East Ham and even a few streets around Ealing, Acton, and Brentford among others. But such traditional shopping can be tedious and tiresome. That’s where online grocery kicks in – it is convenient, not tiresome, time-saving and quicker.
UK’s estimated online grocery market is worth £5.6bn as of February 2013 and is growing, according to research analysts at IGD.
Items and stocks: iTadka.com has a slew of Indian specialty items that you cannot find in regular UK mainstream supermarkets. You can buy Indian vegetables such as guwar, tindora, turiya, amla, mooli, drumstick, karela and many others.
Then there are other items that cater to the nostalgic side of UK Indians – there’s Maagi noodles, Parle-G biscuits, Priya pickles, Mother’s pickles, Everest masalas, Krishna farsan, soonf, Khakras, Gulab Jamun mix, lassis, Maaza, Frooti, Indian spices and herbs, Stardust magazine and lots more.
iTadka also sells specialty items such as pooja items, kitchen utensils, seasonal fruits (tender coconut water and alphonso mangoes) and even appliances such as Butterfly mixers and grinders.
The website: The iTadka website is fairly easy to use and the payment gateway is secure. It has a nifty search toolbar that helps you find Indian items in nine different languages including Hindi, Marathi, English, Tamil and Gujarati. And users can track their orders online.
But the website is a little slow at times.
Pricing: It’s a gamble in short. Some products are cheaper than offline Indian grocery retailers while some are much more expensive.
Pricing is where it gets a bit dicey for iTadka shoppers. The homepage features products on offer and an at-a-glance-pricing for fresh vegetables and ready meals. When you click on purchase, the pricing is different (mostly higher).
As seen in the screenshots taken by India News Bulletin, the pricing of green chillies and coriander is lower on the promotional screen of the homepage (left side of the picture) than the price listed on the inside page (right side).
Service: iTadka service also leaves a lot to be desired. While the delivery costs just £1.49, the delivery often does not happen at the specified time window. Many a times, a few items are missing. One India News Bulletin reader chased an item that was not delivered but was charged for. The call centre informed that the item (a small one) will be delivered via Royal Mail. Five working days since, the shopper is still waiting to receive the product.
As with the perils of online shopping, sometimes, the quality of fruits and vegetables are not optimum and the sizes of non-weight products (green peppers, dudhi, cucumber etc) are too small.
Upside: The goods that are delivered arrive without damage and the delivery cost is £1.49 at all times including weekends. iTadka.com also features a wide range of Indian groceries and food items that you can purchase from the UK at a click of a button. There is a choice of payment too (Paypal account or cheque payment on delivery).
Downside: The web service is a bit clunky. It is the only face of iTadka business and shoppers expect the pricing details to be up to the mark and consistent across all pages. The delivery service also doesn’t seem too professional or punctual. And one cannot buy non-weight products with much confidence either.
While there is a huge variety, the choice is not as high as, say for instance, that available at Quality Foods.
India News Bulletin tip: Buy bulky items such as 10kg rice, large packets of chappati atta, lentils and ready meals – they add up to the minimum delivery charges of £15 and there is a very slight chance of this going wrong. For fresh fruit and vegetables, the physical shopping experience of seeing, touching, smelling, checking the price and buying is a better option unless of course it is not possible.
Share with us your experiences of shopping at iTadka.com by leaving a message in the comment box.
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