How Covid-19 made kirana stores adopt tech, innovation and online platforms

The pandemic has also led to a renewed trust in the local kirana store with a surge in new consumers visiting the local stores both in metros and non-metros
Kirana stores are emerging as the hub that helps maintain regular supply of essentials as cities struggle to get back to their normal rhythm and many such neighbourhood stores are considering greater technology adoption, according to a report.

The report is based on a survey by consultancy firm EY that gathered insights through 27 qualitative interviews across 12 cities in India, 5 metros and 7 non-metros with participants who represent small and big kirana across a diverse socio-economic background.

Stating that there is a renewed trust in hyper-local communities, EY's latest report 'Sentiments of India Pulse of the country, Kiranas' said 40 per cent of respondents (kirana store owners) want to partner with online delivery and supply platforms as they feel it can help them grow and tide over in these testing times.

Commenting on the findings, EY India Partner - Customer Experience and Design Thinking, Shashank Shwet said, "amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the kirana stores have emerged as local unsung heroes servicing the community at large. The kirana store owners have taken a lot of effort to keep up with the changing demands of the crisis and managing their day-to-day supplies."

Moreover, he said, "the way that these kirana store owners have adopted to innovation and digital technologies, such as digital payments, changing operating models and reduced friction towards technology, to cope up with the pandemic is highly commendable."

According to the survey, 20 per cent of the kirana store owners across metros and non-metros have started leveraging online platforms to get a steady supply of goods and assistance in deliveries.

"Kiranas have proven themselves to be both agile and resilient, being able to bear the brunt of an unforgiving pandemic. Lacking other means, they have created a simplified online journey using chat apps as a medium of taking orders, providing contactless delivery and then receiving payments through digital platforms," the EY survey said.

The pandemic has also led to a renewed trust in the local kirana store with a surge in new consumers visiting the local stores both in metros and non-metros with 79 per cent of respondents in non-metros and 50 per cent in metros state that there are new consumers coming to their store post the lockdown period, according the the survey.

"These are consumers who would earlier shop online or from supermarkets, are now preferring to buy from local kirana stores to avoid long queues and there is a semblance of trust and traceability," EY said.

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