Tech-Savvy Kiranas: The Way Forward for Retail in India
Progressive Grocer|September 2020
ALTHOUGH THE ADVENT OF TECHNOLOGY HAS NOT PUT KIRANA STORES ENTIRELY OUT OF BUSINESS, IT HAS CREATED AN URGENT NEED FOR THEM TO KEEP PACE WITH THE BREAKNECK SPEED AT WHICH DIGITIZATION AND AUTOMATION ARE GROWING...
Samarth Agrawal

Since their inception, kirana stores have been a major contributor to the Indian retail industry both from the consumer as well as the retailers’ perspective. They are considered one-stop destinations for day-to-day needs, providing consumers the basic essentials and nonessentials products. Owing to their indispensable nature, kirana stores and residential units have always coexisted. But, with technology’s progress, several of us have turned to online shopping for groceries and other items we use every day. Technology has made it possible for us to browse through the products, choose what we want, and make the payment seamlessly with just a click of a button. Although the advent of technology has not put kirana stores entirely out of business, it has created an urgent need for them to keep pace with the breakneck speed at which digitization and automation are growing.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this gap with the series of lockdowns hampering business and creating an adverse impact overall for kirana stores. With restricted movement, disruptions in the supply chain, shortage of labour, and safety concerns, several kirana stores have either shut shop or are struggling to source inventory and avoid overstocking of items. To help them maintain business continuity and boost sales and revenue, kirana stores have turned towards tech-driven B2B platforms that are helping them source inventory, receive real-time updates, and avoid stocking out and overstocking. Recent times have seen kirana stores evolve to adopt technology and revamp their processes. We take a look at how tech-savvy kirana stores are the way forward.

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