In a move to increase brand penetration in tier II and III cities and rural areas, ShopClues has announced a strategic partnership with StoreKing. StoreKing is a assisted e-commerce player which lays heavy emphasis on the rural market. It helps small-town retailers to sell more products to walk-in customers without having to invest in working capital stock. The partnership between ShopClues and StoreKing will enable walk-in customers to avail benefits of ShopClues through 16,000 StoreKing franchises which include mobile recharge points, kirana shops, and small shop owners located in good consumer catchment areas.
In this collaboration, ShopClues’ products will be shown on the digital catalogue of the StoreKing app. Customers can browse through the catalogue at franchisees’ outlets and can make purchases with the help of an agent i.e. the local shop owners. The delivery of the product is made to the franchisee himself who, then, hands over the product to the end customer. The StoreKing agents ensure that customers get maximum assistance in their order placement as well as in cases of return, replacement, or refund requests.
At present, 50 million users are transacting in the e-commerce space. The partnership aims to target under-served areas in India with low internet penetration. Due to unavailability of digital modes of access, offline consumer touchpoints, payment options, banking services, delivery, and lack of trust in these geographies, the consumer interaction is significantly low as compared to urban areas. The partnership will focus on pointing the untouched high-potentials of tier III cities and rural areas, while also increasing ShopClues’ presence in tier II geographies.
Nitin Kochhar, VP – Categories, Shopclues said, “The strategic alliance with StoreKing will help us to expand our consumer base further to the deeper pockets of India that have a huge number of active franchisees of StoreKing. The walk-in customers will be able to experience a wide range of products with unmatched quality offered by ShopClues at a distinct price point that the brand is famous for. Moreover, assistance provided by StoreKing agents will add a unique touch to the overall consumer experience of ShopClues. With internet and online banking services still under-penetrated in India, agent-assisted models have seen a surge in recent times and we are aiming to leverage its full potential for the benefit of customers pan-India.”
Sridhar Gundaiah, Founder & CEO, StoreKing said, “We are happy to enter into this association with ShopClues which will give a significant boost to the business of our franchisees. ShopClues and StoreKing together envision a future wherein every Indian, regardless of location or other constraints has access to top quality products at competitive prices.”
ShopClues and StoreKing have ironed out several issues with the help of their pilot project and are now rolling-out their services completely in the target areas. The Rural Affiliate Program which seeks to find ways to reach out to and bring a larger number of consumers to transact online is a high priority area for ShopClues as well as StoreKing. The association also ties in with the Financial Inclusion initiative being driven by the Government of India.