Kiranas Upgrade Their Services, Turn to Tech Solutions in Pandemic
Progressive Grocer|September 2020
WITH THE ONSET OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, KIRANA STORES HAVE STARTED ENJOYING RENEWED LEVELS OF TRUST FROM NEIGHBOURHOOD COMMUNITIES, WINNING NEW CUSTOMERS – MANY OF WHOM ARE EXPECTED TO PURCHASE FROM THEM EVEN AFTER PANDEMIC IS OVER. WITH THIS NEW BOOM IN BUSINESS, KIRANA STORE OWNERS ARE OFFERING A HOST OF SERVICES TO THEIR NEW CONSUMERS – CREDIT, HOME-DELIVERY, HYPER-LOCAL APPS, HYPER-LOCAL MERCHANDISE – AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS.
Charu Lamba

The onset of the pandemic has changed the way the Indian Retail Industry works and the Indian consumer shops. From researching online and buying in-store, the consumer moved to buying online and picking up in-store. Now with COVID-19 forcing people inside the relative safety of their homes, the customer is buying online and getting every home delivered.

While the consumer wants greater freedom of choice and convenience – from ordering, to delivery, and payments – s/he also wants everything at his doorstep. There is a significant increase in the awareness and adoption of digital commerce and omnichannel buying. “Consumers are buying what they need. The biggest trend in the post- COVID world is that people are mostly buying essential items. Staples, fl our, and oil categories are growing. Snacks, health drinks and health foods are also doing well. The tea and coffee segment has grown 48 percent in 3 months,” says Samarth Agarwal, Co- Founder & CEO at MaxWholesale. “There is a shift in payment mode behaviour. Pre-COVID, cash on delivery used to contribute 60-70 percent of transactions. This has now reversed as customers and brands are opting for pre-paid options and prefer contactless delivery,” adds Vibhor Sahare, CEO & Co-founder at ANS Commerce highlighting other changes in consumer behaviour.

Evolving Trends

Social distancing and lockdown have created many opportunities for businesses. Retailers and brands had to innovate and quick. Stores were brought to the consumers’ doorsteps and consumers were able to shop anywhere, anytime. “There is an increase in the adoption of mobiles for store operations. Retailers are using mobiles for automating store operations like stock counting/ audit, goods inward, and stock-pick for online orders. To improve the experiences of the consumers at the store with minimal contact, stores will see an increase in the adoption of the self-service kiosks or self-checkout counters and endless aisle. Post-pandemic there is a need for businesses to support browse in-store, on mobile, and buy online. Going forward, the rules of omnichannel experience will evolve and it is important for Kiranas to provide a seamless shopping experience to consumers across online and offl ine channels,” states Kumar Vembu, CEO and Founder, GOFRUGAL.

“New categories such as sanitizers, surface disinfectants, vegetable cleaners, etc., have been created in the wake of the pandemic. FMCG giants are coming up with new product launches in these categories to tap this change in consumer behaviour. B2B segment is also picking up and brands are also looking to digitise their distributor network,” adds Sahare.

The Kirana Boom

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