There are approximately 12 million so-called Kirana stores in India – small convenience stores that are owner-managed and filled with many goods from soap to baking soda. The challenge: Even though the traditional convenience stores altogether represent a real economic power, each individual entrepreneur works with small profit margins due to a lack of economies of scale. There is hardly any room for larger investments.
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More about the strategic approach Wholesale 360 in the Annual Report 2018/19
The rising pressure of digital progress is also affecting the Kiranas. For example, cash has become obsolete as a means of payment in the country’s tech metropolises for quite some time. METRO’s holistic consulting approach makes it possible to develop individual solutions for special market requirements. In this case the solutions is provided by the Digital Shop app, which was created in collaboration with the start-up ePayLater. Digital Shop is an easily accessible programme – especially for Kiranas. This allows retailers to simply use their existing smartphones to digitalise their business.
Digital Shop is free to use and offers a credit option
The app installation takes 5 minutes and there are no fees for downloading and using it. Store operators can offer their customers access to all common mobile payment methods via QR code. Furthermore, they can track daily and monthly sales as well as inventory levels. Instead of long lists on paper, it gives entrepreneurs a clear overview of their sales. They can even use the app to reorder items that are running low.
After successful registration, Digital Shop includes a credit option, which gives METRO customers a 14-day credit that they can use for orders via the app as well as in the wholesale store. Being able to order more merchandise without having to pay for them immediately provides an enormous advantage for small retailers.
Already 12,000 users after only 2 months
METRO has long been committed to the digitalisation of convenience stores in India with offerings such as digital payment terminals or the Kirana Success Centre, which provides specific advice, merchandise and services for the owner-managed convenience stores. To date, METRO India has digitalised more than 1,200 Kiranas with this 'Smart Kirana Programme'.
Digital Shop is now even taking it one step further: 2 months after the launch in August, the app was already used by 12,000 Kirana owners. ‘We found a synergy in METRO’s and our approach,’ says ePayLater co-founder Akshat Saxena about the partnership. After all, both companies share the same objective: ‘Boost Kiranas, because we believe that they promote a culture of entrepreneurship in the country.’
‘Through this strategic initiative with ePayLater, we aim to facilitate a more level playing field for these small and independent businesses, for their continued success in the competitive retail landscape,’ says Arvind Mediratta, CEO of METRO India. METRO operates 27 wholesale stores with more than one million active customers in India. Traders (independent entrepreneurs such as Kirana owners) represent a core target group alongside hotels, restaurants and catering (HoReCa).
A detailed profile of Indian Kiranas and METRO’s support for small retailers is available at laender.metro-cc.com/indien.