Hyperlocal innovation is the route to building the next-generation cities that India deserves


‘Hyperlocal’ is creating ripples in the entrepreneurial community and in its wake has also managed to unnerve the e-commerce players in the market today. The mobile commerce market is expected to be revolutionised by this wave of hyperlocal. Hyperlocal marketplaces are showing immense potential with the growing number of mobile-first startups and various investors taking interest in this space. This model facilitates delivery of everything from groceries, electronics, medicines, laundry, food and much more, directly from nearby stores, along with faster delivery and less shipping cost. Additionally, consumers are becoming more aware and are relatively comfortable with this new model, as they deal with their local merchants just at a click of a button or at the touch of a finger.

Hyperlocal is essentially mobile commerce that comprises firms thriving on technology in order to connect local retailers with consumers in a particular area. For the consumers, it is an extension of the tech-powered convenience they have become increasingly used to. These firms have an edge over any other form of online commerce because of lower logistics costs, negligible inventory costs and less delivery time. This business model also enables retailers to save significantly on marketing and advertising costs, as it is taken care of by the very feature of being local. Commerce of this fashion goes beyond just conveniences for customers to relevance. Hyperlocal firms can customise their content and offerings based on the location they are in, as each locality typically houses a certain kind of customer demographic. Hyperlocal firms can moreover capitalise on the unique advantage they have in creating a personal equation with their target audience.

To give a better perspective on leveraging the personal equation with consumers, we can consider certain examples of people who have used these hyperlocal platforms to address various needs. For instance, a newcomer in the city is setting up her house and requires information on various markets and shops to pick up basic household items like TV, washing machine or needs services like carpentry, plumbing. She can now get all of it at her fingertips through hyperlocal apps. If the service quality is high and it saves a lot of her time, it would encourage her to use the service again. This loyal customer base has been attracting industry players and boosting the demand for hyperlocal startups.

Hyperlocal as an innovation seems to be making all the right noises. It works towards empowering smaller and local retailers to think smart and tie up their business virtually to serve customers in their locality. It eventually complements the Digital India initiative to give solidarity and sustainability to local retailers while building a network for them in the long run. Customers in fast-paced cities stand to benefit from the easy accessibility, which makes it a win-win situation for both.

In view of the discussions above, it remains an undisputed fact that this convenience-oriented segment has exponential scope. The industry will be driven by the concept of survival of the fittest, which will eventually determine the leaders in the segment. Additionally, entrepreneurs and new business leaders who find the right niche to operate in and the most efficient local partners will be able to contribute to smarter infrastructure in next-generation cities of India. Those hyperlocal service platforms which are able to deliver seamless services are also more likely to find a place in the smart devices of their customers.

About the Author

Neeraj Jain serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of Zopper. He 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’.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)