Shop online – and still shop locally

The online grocery superstore has allowed locals to safely buy essentials during the pandemic. Pictu

The online grocery superstore has allowed locals to safely buy essentials during the pandemic. Picture: Kugan's - Credit: Archant

When the pandemic hit, Angel Supermarket in Ilford decided to support the local community by launching an online supermarket - an initiative of Angel Supermarket.

Picture: Kugan's

Picture: Kugan's - Credit: Archant

Owner and Director Kuganeswaran Thangarajah explains the importance of being able to shop locally via the internet at a time like this:

Q: Could you tell us the history to Angel Supermarket?

It's easy to use - just download the app. Picture: Kugan's

It's easy to use - just download the app. Picture: Kugan's - Credit: Archant

We had a very humble beginning as a retail store in the heart of Ilford back in 2003. Wanting to serve the local community, and because we understand the necessity of diversity in the kitchen, we decided to specialise in groceries imported from India, South India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, as well as essentials from across Europe. These now include groceries, meat items, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, beverages, sweets, snacks and savoury items, frozen food, ready meals, cupboard food and dry fruits and nuts. The store is open 24/7 every day of the year and we also stock health and beauty products, pet care, baby care and household items.

Q: Why did you launch Kugan’s Online Supermarket?

When the pandemic hit, it hit hard, and countless businesses and people were affected. I wanted to serve the local community by providing them with a safe way to buy essentials during these very challenging times.

I run several successful e-commerce fashion businesses - Citygoddess, Goddiva and Tradegala - and seemed like a great opportunity for me to use my experience and knowledge to make shopping for groceries and essentials easy and safe for those living in the local community.

Also, considering how technology is advancing and making our lives more convenient, the idea of conventional shopping can sometimes be out-dated and frustrating. Community drove us towards transforming our business from a local convenience store to a one-stop, online grocery superstore and community is what continues to drive us forward in being the go-to option for a truly authentic, shopping experience.

Q: How does the service work?

It’s quite simple really. All you have to do is just open your browser and type in – the rest is pretty much self-explanatory or download our mobile app. Our user interface is very easy to understand and grasp. It comes with notable advanced features to find alternatives and barcode scanning that allows you to add items directly to the cart. We can suggest items and products to our customers based on the items they purchase, like a customised shopping list. If an item is not available, we will send them a notification when it is in stock and ready to deliver. It is important to have the tech and tools to ensure customers have a smooth, safe, easy and convenient shopping experience every single time. Customers can earn £1 for every 100 points earned.

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Q: How else is Kugan’s helping to keep customers and staff safe?

We adhere strictly to the safety rules and regulations set out by the government and governing bodies. All staff undergo frequent, mandatory temperature checks; wear a face mask and gloves on duty; maintain social distancing; wash and sanitise their hands and surface areas regularly, and ensure all packaging is temperature-controlled and safe for delivery. We also have a quality checking team to ensure our products are in optimal condition and safe for consumption.

Q: What are the benefits of a local online service such as this?

Being able to provide our customers with all their weekly needs in as little time as possible is key to the Kugan’s shopping experience. In addition to customised shopping lists, safe and secure online transactions with multiple payment options, we can also provide a host of special offers, deals and promotions.

We decided to start an online store when vulnerable people, in particular, were being asked to stay safe at home. We also do express delivery within a 3 mile radius and standard next day deliveries.

Q: How important is customer service with an online store?

It is vital and we believe it is one of our biggest strengths. If a customer is dissatisfied with any of our products, we’re more than happy to fully refund the item if it is in resalable condition or replace it with an item of equal quality or better. We are also offering 25 per cent off across the website until further notice because we understand the need to have food and essentials stocked up during these challenging times.

Caring for our staff has always been a priority and of vital importance. We strive to ensure they have the support and everything they need to be customer focused, while rewarding them for their hard work. We are family here, and our customers and staff are a part of it. 1 per cent of our sales profits are contributed to charity.

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