The digitization of industry functions represents a prime focus area across all sectors today. In the retail sector, the rise of Amazon as a monolith has had a disruptive influence on the industry, hastening the pace of digitization within it. While most part of the sector have embraced this disruptive influence, the phenomenon of local kirana stores leveraging tools such as retail analytics to improve their functioning has been a revelation. This example of ‘Amazonization’ in a localized space showcases the ability digitization possesses to change a sector in its entirety. Research conducted in the space indicates that technology has augmented the way kirana stores function in a variety of ways:

Facilitating information exchange

In a localized space, kirana stores operate based on established relationships with their customers. This model of business ensures the continued existence of the store but restricts the opportunities for growth over the course of time. Integrating technology allows for this model to evolve and enables kirana stores to expand their customer base by appealing to a larger group of current and potential customers. One way this can be done is through push notifications such as festive greetings, credit reminders and information about new offers and promotions.

Our analytics team has analyzed the data from close to six hundred stores who use digital platforms are increasingly leveraging text messages to engage with the customers. Among the stores that currently use this technology, the two most preferred forms of push notifications are promotions (53%) and product information (27%). The use of LED screens in stores to engage, text notifications to remind and introduce customers to new products and discounts supports in their endeavor to improve the in-store experience. Overall, this form of engagement with the customer base constructs a more intimate relationship between kirana stores and consumers by leveraging the extremely localized knowledge that the store owners possess.

Streamlining retail functions

Another advantage digitization provides is in the form of analytical functions that collate and evaluate customer data to give kirana owners insights into store functioning. Due to their in-depth knowledge of the customer base, kirana stores can now use the supporting insights technology provides to diversify their offerings and appeal to customers in a more effective manner. Additionally, digital tools help customers as the indication of discounts on the products and provides them with a clear indication of the savings made on every bill.

Digitization directly translates into faster and multiple billings, shorter queues due to reduced wait times and consequently, a better customer experience. Kirana retailers in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune are the main centers that have already experienced the advantages of this streamlining process, with other parts of the country, particularly the metro cities are fast moving in the digital direction.

The retail sector is filled with opportunities for future growth and innovation. The digitization of kirana stores indicates how these opportunities can be effectively utilized. As technology continues to evolve, the country will thus witness greater progress in the move towards achieving the ideal of ‘Digital India’.