Aaramshop: To the rescue of the Kirana store

In recent years, the traditional kirana stores inIndiahave been losing a substantial portion of their business to Large Retail Formats (LRF). While these huge retailers of groceries and consumer products have taken to technology, the kirana stores have remained lsrgely backward in their methods and operations. This has left them in an uncompetitive spot. How many of us go to the kirana store next door for our groceries? Most often, we prefer to go to a Big Bazaar or a Spencer to pick up our household products on a weekend when shopping at a mall. In fact today even items of daily use can be ordered online. In such a scenario, kirana stores are left with little choice. They must adapt to new technology and improved means of selling in order to survive.

A silent revolution is taking place in the Indian retail sector, with traditional kirana stores taking to the Internet for providing supplies to retail customers. According to The India Food and Grocery Shopping Trends 2008, consumer spending is as high as 36% on food and grocery vis-a-vis other household expenses. The opportunity is vast, but is the kirana store equipped enough to utilize it to the fullest? Thanks to enterprises like AaramShop, an online portal, the kirana stores are learning the value of online supplies. Founder, MD and CEO Vijay Singh says, “AaramShop is a hybrid online retail platform that is completely focused on marketing of essentials like FMCG and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands. A technology led solution, it is a fully integrated first mile to last mile solution. Its last mile is completed by the independent neighbourhood retail stores, normally referred to as kirana stores.”

What is the model of Aaramshop? The consumer can log on using their Facebook or other accounts and then shop for the products and brands they wish to buy. They can then choose their nearby kirana Store from the listing and specify their preferred time of the delivery. This kiranawala would be informed about the order and it would be delivered at the doorstep at the time mentioned, of course at no extra cost. Mr Saurabh Shrivastava, Vice President, Channel Engagement, AaramShop, says, “The traditional retailer has the reach and access to the customers. He, however, lacks the sophistication and grandeur of large retailers. This has clearly affected their customer base; wherein the sophisticated and lifestyle conscious customer is increasingly doing his monthly shopping at the modern trade and only doing their top-up or emergency shopping at the kirana store.”

Despite the numerous benefits of shopping at a supermarket, kirana stores offer several advantages – the biggest being location amid a residential area. It is easy to stroll across and buy one’s needs with no parking worries. Those not wanting to take this effort can simply order on phone and ask for home delivery. They offer credit facility as well. Usually, the shop location does not change and the storekeeper knows almost everyone in the family, their likes and dislikes. When catering to a monthly shopping list, the kirana owner will remind the customer of anything that may be missed out. On the other hand, an organised retail outlet comes with its own benefits. It allows users to comfortably browse through different sections and compare size and price of products. At times, due to the scale of their tie-ups and sourcing, products are offered at less than the MRP. Interestingly, promotional schemes and store loyalty clubs entice people to repeatedly shop there. Often one can buy several categories of products under one roof that may not be possible at a kirana. An entrepreneurial endeavour such as Aaramshop brings the best of both worlds together.

With over 32 categories, thousands of products from more than 100 FMCG companies to choose from, the AaramShop concept has been launched on a pilot basis in theDelhiand National Capital Region (NCR). The experiment will be replicated soon to other cities, and is expected to bring a revolution in retail.

To know more, visit www.aaramshop.com

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