In fact, most companies including Hindustan Unilever,
and launched their internal ordering app and have since onboarded millions of mom-and-pop stores on the platform, generating sales of about $1 billion last fiscal, according to the latest report by Bizom, which tracks the sales of 7.5 million retail stores across the country.
“During the lockdown, we developed several innovative solutions to ensure uninterrupted supply of our essential products to retailers, which include initiating retailer order-booking through WhatsApp, activating our call centres to receive orders directly from retailers and book orders through tele-calling,” said Dabur chief executive Mohit Malhotra.
Last week, in an analyst meet said its Shikhar app has 600,000 retailers, accounting for 10% of total orders compared to pre-pandemic times when the app had less than 100,000 kirana members. In the latest annual report, ITC said it was among the first in the industry to launch an online ordering system for retailers to mitigate the disruption in sales operations.
“Customers were facilitated by trade marketing and distribution to scale up tele-calling and WhatsApp-based order taking from retailers,” ITC added.
German wholesaler Metro launched its app in April last year and has since enrolled over 250,000 kiranas and small retailers for online orders. In fact, the ecommerce app contributes 16% of Metro’s overall sales.
“Technology is playing a vital role in transforming the retail experience and today, kirana stores are more open to embrace technology and go digital versus a year ago,” said Metro Cash and Carry India managing director Arvind Mediratta.
“During the pandemic, a lot of kiranas have leveraged online platforms for supply chain needs and delivery, and are now more keen to adopt an omni-channel approach for their end customers.”
There is fewer than one offline wholesale store per 100,000 retailers, which is grossly inadequate, especially to the underserved retailers in tier-3 cities and villages of India.
“Also, data available to online B2B wholesale platforms is of huge relevance to large FMCG companies and understanding sales across a wider spectrum of products offers information on what to distribute and where to distribute,” said Akshay D’Souza, chief of growth and insights at Mobisy Technologies, which owns Bizom.