An initiative by iD Fresh Foods based in Bengaluru,Trust Shops started operating in 17 locations around the city in late April.

Unmanned trust shops selling home products becoming a hit in Bengaluru
news Monday, May 23, 2016 - 19:56

A small refrigerator placed right at the entrance of the Bharat Golf View apartment in Domlur, Bengaluru is filled with idly-dosa batter, packets of whole wheat parathas, ready-to-eat chappatis, all for sale. There is however, no one manning the transactions or any CCTV camera to monitor business. Anyone who wishes to make a purchase from these ‘Trust Shops’ as they are called, can simply pick the items of their choice and drop money into the little locker that is fitted on the refrigerators.

An initiative by iD Fresh Foods based in Bengaluru, the Trust Shops started operating in 17 locations around the city in late April. The refrigerator, which houses popular south Indian breakfast and dinner items, was the brainchild of the marketing team at iD. It was initially started as a means to strengthen trust between the customers and the organisation.

 “Our products have short-term value in the market because we do not use preservatives in manufacturing them. We could sense consumer skepticism over our claim. Any organisation would value consumer goodwill more than anything and we zeroed in on the concept of Trust Shops even though there was a very high chance of the venture generating loss for us,” says Muthu, Marketing Manager of iD to The News Minute, adding that as much as it is ‘business as usual’ but the aim was to look at a larger cause.

However, these Trust Shops are seeing 90-95 per cent returns, and are refilled every day, claims Muthu. He also adds that that on certain days they see more than 100 per cent returns with people paying more voluntarily, or for purchases they have previously made. A team of 85 people working in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai is involved in managing the operations of the Trust Shops, in terms of accounting and refilling the products on a day-to-day basis. The organisation is now planning to establish 100 such shops across these three cities over the next two months.

“When we went to apartment associations with this concept, there was skepticism and disbelief. But post installation, residents have taken to it and given us positive feedback on how the Trust Shop is a reminder of a value that seems to have been lost in today’s world. It’s also convenient since they have 24×7 access to fresh food,” said Mustafa, Founder of iD Foods, adding that the organisation targets more residential areas than corporates as the demand from the former is higher.

“Not many apartment complexes have the space to set-up a full-fledged supermarket within the premises. In an apartment like ours, these Trust Shops are a boon, especially when you are in a hurry or after a long and tiring day at work,” says a resident at Bharath Golf View apartments.

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