Indian culture is best described by the word, ‘diverse’, wrapped in the vibrant blanket of variety, it never fails to emerge with something one may have never witnessed before. However, amidst this medley of varying traditions, as well as practices, a fully stocked and multipurpose Kirana store, is a common feature across the mighty subcontinent. These corner shops tend to have a dominant effect on the consumer’s mind primarily because of the convenience they offer coupled with the much-needed personal touch that is brought by the amiable buyer-seller bond that develops over-time.
As per a study by Redseer Consulting, a single such outlet serves over 100 Indians on an average. Another estimate states that there are about 12 million mom-and-pop stores throughout the country, seamlessly helping residents fulfill their need for everyday essential commodities irrespective of whether they live in megacities, small towns, or remote villages.
The outbreak of the contagious Corona Virus led to an increase in the dependence of people on these outlets. In another light, it even disrupted the supply channels that helped these retailers acquire their goods. Manual ordering, procurement, and delivery became a poignant reason to worry for shop owners. However, several new-age organizations that are driven by technology, harnessed this imbalance to establish a structured, easy, and hassle-free environment for retailers across the board, eventually reshaping the vision of B2B operations. This is evident from the report published by Redseer Consulting, which depicts an increase of 40% in the Kirana share of purchasing from E-B2B platforms.
Here are some trends that are playing a key role in digitizing retail stores-
The entry of new players
Traditionally, retailers used to visit ‘mandis’, which are big wholesale marketplaces to procure goods for their stores. In such ecosystems, they dealt with numerous middlemen and merchants; the involvement of these parties created pressure and eliminated the competitive edge in terms of price, quantity, and other aspects. However, recent times have noted the arrival of several new businesses that eliminated the role of these agents, creating direct supply chains, which are up-to-date, precise, and powered by technology.
Application of AI and Data Science
Conventionally, retailers had to manually record, track, and manage the inventory. Even though they did their job with utter sincerity, many times they would fall prey to human errors, after all, to err is too human. The incorporation of artificial intelligence and data science, in the form of disruptive apps, makes such crucial information easily available. Additionally, such support systems even provide timely reminders and track consumption patterns to help make better procurement decisions. Further, RFID technology helps in attaining the real-time status of the product and identifying shorter routes to curb transportation costs.
The success of a store depends on the quality of the products it offers. Previously, sellers went themselves to order, purchase, and carry the produce to their shop location. However, with the help of online platforms, all they need to do is place an order by tapping on the screen, followed by delivery and payment option that suits them the best, and finally sit back and relax. The commodities will arrive at their doorstep in the pink of their quality and within a negligible timespan.
Modern solutions enable retailers to establish direct relations with farmers and producers. Such connections help them in acquiring the products at highly economical prices, subsequently earning them a higher profit margin. Further, personal equations ensure safety and security concerning the availability and quality of goods. Shop owners benefit from having access to higher and assured volumes of products per shipment.
The above-mentioned trends are just a few examples of how technology is positively changing the face of the Indian retail sector. It has opened the doors for limitless opportunities that can be grabbed by shop owners, helping them further expand and thrive. Growing partnerships between retailers, and e-commerce, as well as hyper-local communities, is proof of digital influence in the retail ecosystem.