We all have a little sentiment attached to our local Kirana stores. The bond of trust we create with them goes a long way, and many of us have felt that these local Kirana stores have been there for us through thick & thin, and an accurate example of that is the recent Covid 19 pandemic. Local stores were at the frontline throughout the pandemic. They served their customers despite the risk to themselves, their staff & families. Local shops continued to be the backbone of their neighbourhoods, ensuring people received their daily essentials day after day.
In many ways, they were the unsung heroes of the pandemic. Their hyper-local setup made the difference in ensuring that Indian households never ran out of essentials. The very same hyper-local reach is the reason why small vendors, local Kirana shops & other local stores make up a multi-billion dollar market in India. Consumers have moved towards digital shopping since the pandemic and thus, local retailers are also migrating towards digital to continue serving them.
Here we list down the top 5 companies that enable local shop owners and Kirana stores with new-age tools to support their businesses in this digital era:
1. LoveLocal: In a world where most e-commerce platforms are displacing local retail, LoveLocal is here to empower local businesses and level the playing field. Focused on the hyperlocal daily needs categories, i.e., grocery, chemist, fresh fruits & vegetables, dairy, & more – LoveLocal provides a complete digitisation platform, to local retailers, that takes their businesses online, manages end-to-end consumer service, markets & promotes them to new digital consumers, and provides actionable insights so that retailers can manage their businesses more effectively.
Launched in 2020 by Akanksha Hazari, LoveLocal has helped over 1 lakh retailers to digitise their shops in more than 700 pin codes and increase their business by 70%.
For consumers, the app gives them access to features such as one-click repeat orders, trending products, best-rated shops, placing an order from multiple stores in a single checkout & lots more. The app is a great channel for consumers to discover the customised deals & local offers that retailers create. Consumers can continue to enjoy free & timely delivery along with the value & impeccable service quality the local retailers provide..
2. Paytm: Digital payment revolution started a decade ago, and since then, many traditional methods have changed or discontinued. Recent events realised the importance of digital payments and how it is the need of the hour.
Paytm has emerged as the most popular and convenient option for making transactions or conducting trade activities in India. The company offers local businesses multiple UPI solutions that allow merchants to collect payments directly in their bank accounts without the hassle of entering net banking or card details. In addition, businesses can accept online UPI payments from customers via Paytm UPI, BHIM, or any other UPI app.
Paytm was launched in August 2010 in Noida, Delhi NCR, with an initial investment of US$2 million by its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Paytm has helped small and medium business owners to understand the benefits of digital payment and how it reduces their time & effort.
3. LendingKart: Small business owners & vendors struggle with finances and are always in search of organisations or banks that can provide paperless and fast loans at very low-interest rates. This is where LendingKart comes in. It simplifies and standardises financing for MSMEs. Lendingkart has offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi NCR and has service reach across India. Since its inception, Lendingkart Finance has evaluated nearly half a million applications, disbursing 1,00,000+ loans to more than 90,000+ MSMEs in 1300+ cities across all 29 states and union territories of India, making it the non-banking financial institution (NBFC) with the largest geographical footprint in the country.
Started by Harshvardhan Lunia, who is the co-founder and Managing Director of the company, the NBFC provides collateral-free short-term working capital loans to MSMEs with minimal paperwork within 72 hours. The loan ticket sizes range from as low as Rs 50,000 up to 1 crore for a period of 1 to 36 months.
4. ShadowFax: Hyperlocal delivery space has witnessed a sharp rise in the last 2 years since the pandemic began. Local retailers & businesses record a downfall in the business as they were not able to deliver the services at the doorstep of consumers. To address this issue for small businesses, startups like ShadowFax started providing logistics support to local vendors for the last mile delivery.
The company’s logistics gateway for businesses operates in a plug-and-play format and offers an on-demand delivery service platform to its clients. The technology enables customers to make fast, safe and reliable deliveries by instantly connecting them (businesses/e-tailers/retailers) with the company’s extensive network of 50000+ Delivery Partners spread across 150+ cities and towns in India.
5. KhataBook: Launched in January 2019, Khatabook is building utility solutions for the nation’s 6.3 crore-strong MSME sector. Their first offering – an Android App enabling businesses to digitally record the credit they extend to customers went viral, and so far, Khatabook has been downloaded over 5 Crore+ times. At present, the company has more than 10Mn+ monthly active merchant users who are managing more than 344 Mn customers across India. As more and more businesses are adopting digital for business than ever before, Khatabook’s goal is to empower merchants by simplifying their business.