As the world is looming in the shadows of COVID-19, the real hero for India is it’s Kirana stores, which lost it shine due to the modern day trade and e-commerce. Kirana stores made a come back as the E-commerce players are fiddling around with broken supply-chain due to the this unexpected pandemic.
Kirana stores account about 12Million, that means for every 1000 people there are 10 stores through out the country and is the one and only significant last-mile connector to Indian homes and these stores are responsible for 75% of the FMCG products that reaches Indian homes.
Understanding this opportunity way before few major players are already in the game.
- Reliance — Low cost PoS solutions to 5 million merchants
- Metro Cash & Carry — With the mission to modernize the small retail stores, digitize and track sales
- Walmart-India — Store & PoS modernization to 200–300 Kirana stores in cities with a mission to profile customers
- Phone Pe — Working with 5 million small business with an App to manage their inventory and push digital payments to semi-urban areas
- Bharat Pe — Free payments for small retailers, monetize by offering loans.
Before this lock down a significant Urban population were relying on E-commerce and large retail players to get their essentials delivered to their doorstop, but this absolute pandemonium has done this paradigm shift of Kirana stores going omni-channel. Already merchants are aware about the new opportunities opening up for them as we have already seen reports of Kirana stores working with Resident Welfare associations of housing societies, some are taking orders on WhatsApp & delivering it.
What opportunity it is bringing to technology startups and Hyperlocal delivery companies in India ?
- Connecting the Kirana stores with the consumers/community seamlessly with the help of an app
- Seamless Inventory Digitization and Integration
- Helping the Urban consumers to identify the nearby Kiranas
- Enabling Delivery from these Kirana Stores which hyperlocal companies can play a major role.
- Being a high touch system building a digital ecosystem around this can be beneficial to everyone in the ecosystem from Brands to Distributors and retailers.
- Decision Intelligence systems tailored for the Kirana stores suggesting what to and what not-to-sell.
- Going Multilingual/Vernacular to reach out to scale.
In a way COVID -19 is enabling the transition of 400 million merchants to digital bandwagon at a much faster rates. Post COVID-19, lets hope for a new digitized India & focus on wealth creation from the grass root level.