1 year ago
Cheers Online Liquor Store: The Delivery Baron
Cheers enterprises must be a familiar name to the majority of Kathmandu-residents. They have been delivering orders made by the customers within the valley for the past two years. The online portal cheers.com.np has been their primitive base right from day one. Today, they take orders not only online, but also through their efficient call center.
This concept of delivering liquors at the customer’s doors was initiated by a young computer engineer, Minesh Rajbhandari. He, along with his partners thought of commencing a business via the online platform. They collectively decided to start an online portal whereby people could place their orders for the liquors they wanted. “The best one-stop solution for discouraging drink and drive. What do you think? ”Minesh smiles and asks.
In this conversation with the author, Minesh shares various stories regarding his business; how did it start? Where did it get its name from? The future plans and challenges in this line of business.
A group of his friends was then working for a reputed distillery in Kathmandu. They were the national distributors for the company. After some time, the company decided to take total control over its supplying procedures. The friends then left their jobs. This led to the beginning of a new idea; a one-of-a-kind concept where these success-hungry lads struck gold. They began Cheers online store. Thanks to their initiative, they were now the pioneers in this type of business.
Minesh recalls,” Cheers was not a fairytale business story. A group of friends and brothers wanted to break that barrier of setting up a traditional platform. We then chose to do our business online. Back then, a couple of online businesses were already into operation. But making alcohol our standardized product was a totally new idea. We wanted to pioneer in this business.”
Rajbhandari says that the secret behind a successful operation is quite simple. There are three basic attributes to be considered: Need, Demand, and Supply. Since July 2016 Cheers has been working in close coordination between the three. Despite a quiet and a rather slow beginning, it took no time for the Cheers team to create a need and make people feel the demand. “All of this was hidden in the clouds. Once we developed the visibility, there was no looking back.” Says Minesh.
Lack of people’s trust in ordering products online was a major challenge for Cheers. Customers are still doubtful if the product ordered doesn’t match the exact attributes mentioned online. Cheers then started a dedicated call center. With the slogan “ek phone ko bharma, raksi tapaiko gharma” came more visibility. Ordering the required drinks over a call was much easier compared to placing the same order over the internet. This concept actually shot up the increase in their sales.
Since the concept is about delivering orders to the right location within a specific time frame, Logistics plays a vital role. “We are mainly concerned on two factors: Good stock and efficient delivery staffs.” Minesh adds, “Six of our staffs make up the delivery team. Three more handle the call center. Traditionally, online stores are committed to delivering the products within a couple of days. People took us to be one of them. But because of the attributes of the product we deliver (alcohol), we must have the orders delivered on time. Imagine someone ordering a couple of bottles of beer today, and they get them delivered after 3 days. What’s the fun in it? Hereby, we decided that we will deliver the orders within 37 minutes of order. We operate for 12 hours; from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM. In between this time window, our delivery team delivers the order. We deliver our orders to areas located six kilometers outside the ring road. That covers almost the entire valley.”
Further mentioning the logistics, he talks about the warehouse. To be honest, it’s Huge. It’s also very systematic at the same time. Alcohol has been classified into various types and stored in the best possible way. Beers and ice cubes are refrigerated in big refrigerators. Whiskeys have been shelved under various relevant categories. Imported and domestic wines are stockpiled separately. You almost get lost amongst that vast pool of bottled shelves and those colossal fridges. After visiting the warehouse, I was very vivid about one thing: This is how an online store should be equipped with!
Ordering alcohol is based on its consumption pattern. It is a different ball-game altogether. It’s not like the daily grocery we do. There is a time, and definitely an occasion to it. Talking on the sales, Minesh says, “Our sales are generally more during the weekends (Thursday to Saturday). We have been seeing a gradual rise in sales on festive seasons too. It is in the weekdays, that we be on top of our game. It is necessary.”
“Aren’t you looking forward to expanding your company to other parts of Nepal? Don’t you feel that there lie many potential customers in other cities also?” I asked.
Minesh smiled and slowly began, “Definitely. We will be expanding soon. But before expansion, we want to make the most out of our current market. We are looking to shifting our focus on cities like Biratnagar, Dharan, and Itahari in the east and also Pokhara and Butwal in the west. We have identified these cities as our next potential stop, for now.”
The delivery itself is not so challenging though. Majority of the orders are placed after 6-7 PM. The traffic then is also more manageable. Moreover, Cheers is located centrally, at Kamaladi, which helps the delivery’s punctuality prospects. The payment can be made through cash or card during the delivery. AT times, resulting through poor connectivity, the card’s transaction is declined. There have been instances where customers were driven to the nearest ATMs by the delivery staff and steered back to their homes safely.
Cheers have been working in collaboration with Himalayan Bank for their international orders. Customers from different parts of the globe place orders for their loved ones back home. Payments for such orders are made online via Himalayan Bank’s remittance facilities. Such orders, predominantly, are made during father’s day. “We get maximum international orders on his day,” Minesh says.
He too is surprised at how people living abroad got aware of their services. “It must probably be the ‘word-of-mouth effect. Since we haven’t been so vocal about taking orders from outside Kathmandu, it was initially of some surprise and excitement for us to see our company grow internationally.”
Team Cheers have been very adamant about the quality of their services. They are always on a no-compromise bit for their service. This has resulted in a constant rise in customer awareness and their business profits. The team looks forward to catering their service at house-parties. If approached, we are always ready to serve our clients with open hearts.” Minesh smiles.
- by Sangita Shrestha
- by Sangita Shrestha
- by Dr Bivek Singh Rathore