Written by 2:49 PM Entrepreneurship, Lifestyle

EMPOWERING KIRANAS WITH TECHNOLOGY: this is how startups digitalize India’s Kirana shops

There is a blip from the march in every other business due to this pandemic induced lockdown, and due to the same issue, many regular customers stopped visiting Kirana stores as well. With most of the transactions happening in person, people could not access the stores that easily. Almost every business has digitalized itself, but Kirana stores did not change much in the ways of their business since ages.
There are many e-commerce startups that focus mainly on Kirana stores, and it was not too long ago that shopkeeper were afraid to lose their customers and hence their business to the e-commerce that bought players like Amazon and Flipkart to the market and protesting on streets did not help in fighting them. But now it is a thing to realize that Kirana vs e-commerce fight is hardly there. In fact, e-commerce companies want to coexist with the local stores and not bypass them. According to a survey report, India has a grocery market of nearly $500 billion which is limited to estimated 13 million local stores with only 0.5% of online availability, so it is practically impossible to shake this sector.

With millions of small scale businesses in India, the potential for growth of e-commerce is enormous. Here are a few such platforms with thousands of retailers on board with them already within a few years.
Khatabook, as the name suggests, this Bengaluru based startup aims at helping with bookkeeping with over 10 million downloads on google play store and 80000 active customers across the nation.
Snapbizz, another Bengaluru based startup aims launched in 2013, helps in easing out the software and hardware work of the seller. This has extended its support to over 10,000 shops already.


Despite much of the havoc, this pandemic has increased the pace of digitization of kiranas. With internet penetrating in every state, the use of digital tools will help in easing out the business. There is a post-pandemic rush which is noticed among shop owners to digitalize their business. These startups are observing a significant behavioural not only in shop owners but also in customers. This has forced previously reluctant shop owners to digitalize their business and hence a surge of 30% has been noticed in these three months. People don’t want or cannot step out for groceries, and e-commerce has come to rescue the shop owners from footfall.

Signage for digital-payments provider Paytm, operated by One97 Communications Ltd., sit on display at a general store in Bengaluru, India, on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. A relative laggard in digital transactions, India has more recently seen 50 percent year-on-year growth, according to a study by Google and Boston Consulting Group. The pace may accelerate with demonetization giving digital wallets like Paytm, MobiKwik and Freecharge an extra push. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

With e-commerce now encompassing our neighbouring stores too the line of division is now blurring. While we see so much of improvement, we can soon expect millions of such shops in India which will get orders on apps and which maintain the digital ledger. Not only this, with all the advancements taking place, but we can also even expect special offers from our nearby Kirana store owner via push notifications.

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EMPOWERING KIRANAS WITH TECHNOLOGY: this is how startups digitalize India’s Kirana shops
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