Around 13-17 million kirana stores form an integral part of the retail industry in India and local economy in various pockets of urban and rural India. The kirana stores were especially instrumental during COVID-19 induced lockdown ensuring that citizens had stocks of regular food & grain supplies. The hyperlocal consumption will only grow with the rising middle-income group in India. However, the kiranas continue to be shackled in traditional, inefficient operational practices, and are under threat due to thin margins, increased competition from larger chains and ecommerce. While Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of digital payments, larger digital transformation in terms of inventory management, customer servicing etc. is still largely absent. There is low awareness among small kiranas on benefits of modernization and lack of knowledge & handholding support to realize the transformation.
The kirana sub-alliance aims to catalyse penetration of digitization to the small merchants by making their businesses more profitable, resilient and competitive. The alliance focuses on demonstrating to the market that with awareness, hand holding and incentives, these small stores in urban & rural India can and will power India’s Atmanirbhar success story.
The initiative is jointly being funded by MSDF (Michael & Susan Dell Foundation), USAID (United States Agency for International Development), British High Commission, New Delhi and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).
Through two partners CGF is working with small merchants to provide knowledge & hand holding on modern retail practices, subsidized access to PoS devices and cash incentives & other benefits to kickstart their digitization & subsequent business growth journey. Through effective digital transactions, better inventory management & efficient customer service, these small stores will be able to achieve higher business efficiency.
In partnerships with Snapbizz Cloud Tech, CGF is offering returnable grants to ensure 5000 high-risk merchants who have been left out of digitization initiatives due to various market barriers are able to access a POS device and an Enterprise Resource Planning solution to digitize their operations and make their businesses more profitable. Through the Snapbizz TOTO app, we are providing them with solutions that are enabling them to manage digital payments, monitor stock inventory, increase customer engagement and become more efficient overall.
The grant is paid back in 4 monthly instalments thus enabling it to support maximum beneficiaries with minimum investment. Merchants are further given a Pay for Performance incentive linked to successful repayment of the grant. The incentive is equivalent to four months’ rent and is aimed to ensure greater retention and increased adoption over time.
In partnership with Mswipe Technologies, CGF is offering a simple grant to train 75,000 small merchants with a turnover of fewer than 20 lakhs to adopt digitised payments including card and QR code-based UPI payment solutions for greater reach. Merchants who perform well over a period of time are further provided micro ATMs and offered financial instruments like loans and insurances.
In addition to this, our partner TRRAIN will enable merchants across both interventions to upgrade their skills through their Retail Education Program. Merchants are given access to a series of 49 DIY (Do it yourself) videos through the TRRAIN Circle app for them to understand the end-to-end process of modernization. Along with this, registered stores will be able to access counselling, insurance, loan offers and other avenues through the app relevant for growing their business.
The alliance has already reached 20,000 merchants and will cumulatively touch the lives of 80,000 small merchants by 2023.