Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Online Grocery Shopping in Thimphu

Check out Green Mart at shop.bt, a new online grocery shop in Thimphu. You register, select the items, add them to the virtual cart, and then check out.

You can order anytime. Delivery is done 7 days a week, either during lunch break (1-2pm) or in the evening (5-8pm). These time slots are convenient. There's no minimum order, and the delivery fee is Nu 50 in Thimphu proper and Nu 70 in extended areas. Given the current taxi fares, the shipping fee is very reasonable. And best -- you pay cash on delivery.


I checked out the website. While it is a good start, it still needs some ironing out. For example, when clicking the Delivery Information tab I got to an empty page and several product photos are broken. In addition, information about the different products is minimal. For example, I could not find the MRP, ingredients and nutritional information for food products, names of manufacturers, etc.

Products are mostly of the Indian and Bhutanese variety. I suspect that the target audience for this website will also be interested in imported products from Thailand and other countries, similar to those available in Shop #7, Sharyang's and 8-Eleven. Also, cereals (rice, atta, maida), legumes and perishables (eggs, fresh milk, cheese) would be great additions.

The idea of sitting in your office and shopping online (especially now that Facebook is blocked in many offices) is still new for most Bhutanese. There are lots of advantages to an online model, including saving a lot of rent. Hosting a website is about 1/100th of the cost of renting a shop in the centre of Thimphu. So will this business model work in Bhutan? Only time will tell. All in all, a great initiative. Tashi Delek!