Meet 5 companies that are helping kiranas go online

As digital payments gain momentum, kiranas know that they must embrace technology to thrive, not just survive. Here are five companies that are helping them do just that.
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COVID-19 did the unthinkable: it accelerated digitisation across sectors and industries by more than a decade.

Lockdowns and social distancing norms meant even small businesses and kiranas decided to take the digital path. 

A recent report by retail tech company SnapBizzstated that more than a million kirana stores went digital in 2020. This included accepting online payments, ordering supplies online, managing inventory, and more. The report added that about 75 percent kiranas are now keen to get online to thrive. 

SMBStory lists five companies that are helping kiranas take the digital route, simplify processes, ensure customer satisfaction, and grow business. 

PayNearby

PayNearby is a division of Nearby Technologies, India’s leading hyperlocal fintech network offering digital financial and non-financial services to underbanked segments of the population. It empowers retailers at the first mile by offering digital services such as Aadhaar-based banking services, bank savings, bill payments, card payments, insurance services, and more to local communities. 

The company leverages AI, ML, and advanced analytics to create quick, simple, seamless, and efficient micro experiences that enable local retailers, referred to as ‘Digital Pradhans’, to provide these assisted hyperlocal services. Driven by its mission ‘Har Dukaan Digital Pradhan’, PayNearby enables an average of 3.5 million transactions in 115 aspirational districts of India every month.  

Through concerted efforts, the company is not just digitally empowering kiranas and local communities, but is also playing an instrumental role in driving financial inclusion and the transformation of India’s socio-economic landscape. 

Reliance industries 

Reliance Retail, the retail subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, recently announced its plans to digitise kiranas for the transformation of the unorganised retail market, as part of its ‘New Commerce’ move.  

Reliance Retail will leverage AI, ML, blockchain, IoT, and cloud computing to empower local retailers with an end-to-end digital and physical distribution stack. This would enable them to operate in the same way and as efficiently as larger enterprises and ecommerce players do. By integrating merchants, consumers, and producers through this digital platform, Reliance Retail envisions further digitisation and inclusive growth to share the wealth with those at the bottom of the commerce and retail pyramid in India.

METRO Cash and Carry India 

METRO Cash and Carry is the wholesale division of METRO, a Germany-based leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. Its Indian subsidiary recently co-created an app for kiranas with fintech startup ePayLater.  

The app, Digital Shop, facilitates instant digitisation of all business operations for kirana owners, without the need for an additional investment on a device. This app basically enables traditional retailers that buy from METRO to order stock, facilitate digital payment options, manage inventory, and track their sales, etc.  

It allows local retailers to facilitate customised offers for customers in their area ordering on the app, giving instant credit for purchases as well. The app gives retailers access to interest-free business credit with a few clicks. Digital Shop strives to transform kiranas across the country by offering a more affordable and sustainable digital solution for business growth and profitability.  

BANKIT

Noida-based fintech company BANKIT is helping hyperlocal businesses simplify order, payment, and additional services. 

These kirana stores are empowered to help locals with online cash transactions via AePS/ mATM and provide cash withdrawal services. Since last year, more than 10,000 kirana stores have been equipped with additional services like online order, mobile/TV recharges, travel booking etc to empower their business.  

The company plans to expand its presence with additional services in the coming year. 

EasyPay

Ahmedabad-based fintech startup Easy Pay has onboarded 500,000 retailers on its platform and its app, Paisa Nikal, has served more than 35 million people in rural India. 

Paisa Nikal connects small stores and consumers through banking services, ushering a new future of banking. The company aim to help digitise kiranas and offer additional revenue opportunities to them. 

 During the COVID-19 lockdown, Founder Nilay Patel says Paisa Nikal also became a medium for cash withdrawals benefits of various government schemes such as Jan Dhan Yojana, PM-Kissan Samman Nidhi, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Scheme, National Pension Scheme, Kissan Nyay Yojana, MGNREGA, and many more.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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