Kirana Stores – The unsung hero during the time of Covid-19

Kirana stores – Our saviour in the time of lockdowns

With the country being on a lockdown over the past 10 days and most of us taking various measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones, there is one significant development that is being played before our eyes – the emergence of kirana stores.

With the rise of modern trade outlets and e-commerce players over the past one decade, the naysayers, for many years, have been sounding a death knell for the kirana stores. These naysayers gave out a long list of reasons stating why the kirana stores will soon start disappearing from the Indian economy citing reasons such as lesser offers, inferior store experience, lesser assortment etc. as compared to modern outlets. And now these naysayers have been proven wrong and how in these uncertain times!

Over the past few days, we have seen big box retailers and e-commerce companies (who cater to just 1-2% of the population in India!) struggling to fulfil the grocery needs of the people with frequent out-of-stock situations and much longer delivery times.  The only person who is coming to our rescue now is our humble local kirana store owner who is working round the clock to ensure that we are getting all the essentials we want – with a smiling face.

The kirana stores, being a major fabric of our society with over 12 million stores across the India and catering to over 1 Billion consumers in India, have given us a glimmer of hope in these dark times. We, at SnapBizz, have been witnessing how these kirana stores have continued to and have, in fact increased their frequency of home deliveries of essential items to their consumers – everyday till late night. To ensure we do not panic buy and that we can sleep peacefully at nights knowing that we will get our supplies regularly.

While all this is happening, the kirana store owners have not resorted to profiteering and they continue to sell grocery at the same price that they have been doing so before.

But what’s important, as we start our week 1 of the 21-day lockdown, is that the FMCG brands have to tirelessly work with various stakeholders (government, police, distributors etc.) to ensure that the supply of goods to the kirana stores is not affected so that the kirana stores owners can continue to service the catchment area they operate in.

We have always been a strong advocators of kirana stores and we are now are doing our best to support them in these times. We have released two online ordering apps – SnapOrder and SnapSupply – for free to the kirana stores to ensure that people do not have to visit the stores for demand/supply fulfilment. The SnapOrder app enables the consumer to directly place online orders of essential items directly with the kirana store and enables both kirana store/consumers to track the orders. The SnapSupply app enables the store owner to place orders directly with their preferred FMCG suppliers without needing the latter’s representatives to visit the stores. We are also reaching out to various FCMG brands with relevant data points to ensure that they are able to support the store owners to fulfil the orders.

While we continue to practice social distancing with most of us working from home, please spare a thought for the lone warrior – your kirana store owner who is currently out in the battlefield and ensuring that we get our three meals daily.