With its demographic diversity, vast consumer base, and growing digitization, India presents a unique opportunity to e-commerce players. Much like how the brick-and-mortar industries at the turn of the last century utilised the European Industrial Revolution, today, Indian online startups are in an extremely favourable situation to consolidate their market position. They can make the most of the opportunity provided by the country’s growing economic clout, both in the domestic as well as international markets.
Amongst the various industry verticals that are jostling for pole position in India’s growing e-commerce segment, hyperlocal startups seem to be the strongest contenders for success; and make them growth drivers of the Indian economy as well.
In many ways, hyperlocal markets are not only keeping up with their completely online counterparts, but are also challenging established e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay on their own turf. The reason for this is the shopping nuances of the Indian consumers. While Indian shoppers are growing more and more used to online shopping, they still often prefer the trust factor offered by a brick-and-mortar shop in their neighbourhood. Hyperlocal markets marry the benefits and convenience of online shopping with the opportunity of personal interaction and comfort of local retail shops - to offer the consumers the best of both worlds.
The rise of hyperlocal markets has also resulted in a considerable improvement of the country’s employment scenario. As these startups are heavily dependent on innovative technology driven frameworks for service provision, they offer an exciting and fertile ground for budding IT professionals to devise new solution-oriented technologies. This provides a unique, unparalleled working atmosphere to both the experienced, and the inexperienced, workforce in the country. The recent trends bear witness to this phenomenon. IT professionals working in blue-chip IT firms such as Google, Microsoft, Adobe and IBM have left their high-paying jobs to sign up with budding hyperlocal startups in recent months to tackle the challenges of establishing these startups; and making them the growth drivers of the Indian market. Moreover, as hyperlocal startups grow, they require professionals across several verticals such as marketing strategy, brand consolidation, logistics, business development, etc. to support their upward growth curve. This will result in more employment opportunities for the country’s educated workforce.
The employment benefits of hyperlocal markets, however, are not restricted to white collar jobs. By connecting the local retailers and businesses with consumers in the vicinity, hyperlocal commerce gives neighbourhood businesses a considerable boost. Due to better service penetration and customer reach, these businesses are then able to ramp up their operations to service the requirements of more customers, resulting in more employment opportunities for the local workforce.
Additionally, hyperlocal commerce also depends on product and service delivery assurance. This makes logistics an essential part of the hyperlocal service network. As a result, a number of startups have come up to plug this particular market gap. Storage services and other associated services have risen to allow hyperlocal commerce to flourish; as have delivery networks.
Delivery networks, in particular, are important to the success of a hyperlocal market. Several startups that deal in B2B and B2C service delivery have made the lives of merchants as well as consumers easier due to their dedicated focus on high quality service. A number of skill development organisations have also come to the fore to leverage the opportunity provided by the booming markets in order to vocationally train the on-ground teams and improve the service quality of the hyperlocal segment.
In short, the hyperlocal market provides a symbiotic and organic growth atmosphere, where the hyperlocal market incubates several secondary and tertiary services, and gives the overall employment situation a major boost. Additionally, by providing a considerable thrust to the country’s employment landscape, hyperlocal commerce is contributing in the quest to establish India as a global economic superpower.
About the Author:
Neeraj holds a B.Tech in Electronics Engineering from University of Lucknow and a PGDM in Management from IIM, Ahmedabad. An avid socialiser, Neeraj swears by the mantra, ‘Work while you play and play while you work’.