Start-up innovation in Digital Kirana
How local innovation is fueling Indian storefronts.
Digital Kirana is the buzzword in the Indian retail segment. Languishing storefronts could see a strong disruption coming with the aid of technology. In the previous article, we saw how mega-companies like Reliance, Amazon, and Metro have started to make in-roads in this segment. These companies have forayed in this segment very recently. A few startups, however, have already lead innovation in this space since 2012. Some unique and market fit solutions have been evangelized. Let’s look at some of these challenger start-ups who are leading the face-lift of traditional Kirana stores.
The early entrants of this space, SnapBizz has made some strong progress. Post-launch in 2012, SnapBizz solution is used by 10000+ stores already. SnapBizz identified two key problems of inventory management and cumbersome manual billing. They designed their solutions majorly around digital billing, POS hardware, and Inventory management.
SnapBizz also provide LED screens that can be placed in the stores for product promotion. The LED screen as an additional source of revenue dor Kirana stores. SnapBizz can utilize its tie-ups with FMCG companies to customize offers for various stores. Imagine walking into a local store, which was messy so far, now having digital displays to promote products and offers. SnapBizz has strong backing from various venture capitals, with funding of approx $7.2 Million. Along the lines of successful track record, SnapBizz targets to add 1000 stores a month. They are not only planning to spread its wings in India but to Malaysia and Singapore too.
Near Store (Near.store)
Near.store is a plug and play solution for offline stores. This solution addresses the target base of stores that just want to have a digital interface for their store.Near.store provides a dongle for a monthly rental. This dongle uploads the products sold by the store. Basis this uploaded list, near store creates microsite for the store. If it is Patel Store, the microsite will say Near.Store/Patel. The customer can deal directly with the store owner, buys products from him, and also pay him directly. Thus enabling the stores to an e-commerce platform.
Near.store also does consulting for these stores to improve their business. Near.store charges a convenience fee against these consulting services. A very recent startup in this space has already had a funding round of $300K.
A direct competitor of SnapBizz focuses majorly on the POS machines and billing software. The company started off in 2015 and has a wide variety of devices and software on offer. Company in the early days set up an early target of 5000 stores. NukkadShop promises to increase footfalls and average revenue per customer.
Branding and Experience uplift of local storefront
Few notable mentions of companies, which do not exactly sell PoS and inventory software, but are revolutionizing small businesses. The first such startup is ShopKirana. ShopKirana helps SMEs (Small and medium enterprises) in brand building, thus enabling business scaling. With a high disposable income, Indians have started to prefer branded and standardized offerings. Indore based B2B platform ShopKirana empowers retailers with technology and brands. For increasing the reach of the brands, they also provide supply chain solutions.
Quicktile another notable mention, offers a 48-hour solution for revamping store look and feel. The problem statement they are trying to address is the age-old look of many stores. Because of this tired look of stores, customers do not prefer to visit them. Kirana stores cannot spend months and lakhs of rupees for a new facelift. A 48 hour revamp would just fit the bill. Using their trademark product, Quicktile provides a brand new look to the store. Some of the notable improvements post revamp, are increased footfalls and an increase in revenue. This clearly indicates that customers of modern India prefer to visit a well-maintained store.
Many start-ups are doing a lot of work to digitize Indian storefronts. With mega companies joining forces, shopping experience for Indians is expected to witness a major shift. Between the David (Mega companies) and Goliath (startups), advantage as of now is with deep-pocketed mega-companies. Though do not underestimate the startups, who can innovate with frugality.
Also Read – How is the Indian Retail market shaping up