It’s a busy Sunday afternoon; Ramesh has a number of customers stocking up their daily needs from his small kirana shop. He has been running this shop in the tier 2 city of India unhindered for the past 20 years now. He knows his customers in and out. In fact, it’s like a guided shopping experience for each of his customers which usually reside in a radius of few kilometres. Right from the milk required for the morning cup of tea to the salt required for the last meal of the day, Ramesh has everything in his store.
This shop is his main source of income. Being in the same business for the past two decades, he has seen the changing waves the retail industry has gone through.
Currently, there are more than 15 million retail stores spread across our country. Majority of them concentrated in tier 2 and 3 market.
Over the years the small retail sector of India has faced many challenges, starting with the organised supermarkets, malls and then the wave of online retail and various grocery shopping apps.
To have their foot firm in the industry and not be swept away, the retailers are now making use of digitisation. The year 2016 has played a huge role in initiating digital payments and transactions even in the smallest of markets of India. Demonetization has led to a lot of benefits in the retail market in our country. The retailers got comfortable using digital payments as an alternate option at the stores, therefore leading to digital empowerment. 3 years back there were hardly any kiranas that accepted digital payments.
The offline retail industry has been subject to a lot of good changes since then. The decision of letting digitization into their business was one of the first and major steps that the retailers took to combat business giants of the country.
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Interpersonal relationships have always been an athriving force in boosting and maintaining small businesses. A retailer knows exactly what his customer wants and also most of the times suggest something that they would prefer using over the other. This is only possible because he has known his customers and their choices for years now while sharing a cordial relationship with them.
This is one thing that the organised retail sector lacks and has always tried hard to build a relationship with the customers that come to their platform. On the other hand, it’s a win-win situation for the unorganised retailers since they already have the advantage of being the quest of good relationships and are now also exploring the digital platforms.
The convenience and trust that the customer has on his/her retailer play a vital role. The retailer has to maintain a long term relationship with his new customers and therefore he would never sell something that would put his business at stake. If a situation like that arises the customer has the benefit of easy and quick replacement.
If a similar situation arises in online retail, where a warped product is delivered to your doorstep, there is a long process and number of people involved in replacing it. It is a more time-consuming procedure which involves dealing with a chain of people. Also, the need of the day to day products is rather prompt and not many people have the luxury of time to wait for its replacement. This eventually leads to them buying the same product from a nearby mom and pop stores.
These are some of the old effortless strategies the dukaandars have been using to stay on the top of the retail game. Additionally, the dukaandars have now also started adapting to the technological advancements to automate and drive customer engagement and be at par with discount stores, e-commerce and modern trade.
Most of the Indians even now prefer an actual shopping experience as compared to ordering their products from a faceless gadget because of a number of factors as stated above. The offline retail industry of India has ingeniously been battling with the takeover of big online retail businesses. With the help of apps like Pay1 making use of digital payments and transactions for their customers has become easy and is further helping them to etch their existence in the retail market of India. A platform like ours has always supported the same cause even before digitisation took off in the country. We have been trying to promote micro-entrepreneurship and increase their earning potential through various services available on our platform. Hence, being a catalyst to the growth of offline retail markets of India.