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Changing Landscape of Indian Kirana: Trends to foresee in 2018

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Increasing penetration of smartphones, impetus on digital India drive, GST and demonetization have paved the way for digital transformation for India’s most unorganized (kirana) sector.

Retailers who are usually apprehensive about adopting newer technology are instead making a smooth transition towards cloud-connected POS solutions to automate their everyday operations. In 2018, this development will only amplify as kirana stores are adopting technology to automate and drive customer engagement to keep up with modern trade, discount stores, and e-commerce.

Here are some of the significant changes that will revolutionize this industry in 2018:

– Adoption of digital technology by bottom of the pyramid will drive GST.

– 2018 will see a significant shift in the mindset of retailers. In the past their focus was on optimizing the supply side and purchase of the business. Today, the focus is on customer experience. The key trend will be Kiranas adopting technology to automate supply management in 2018. In times of data and analytics, kirana supply will be driven by predictive data analysis.

– Friendly neighbourhood kirana will start to offer customised customer experience and best in class convenience to their customers.

– Coining the term ‘new age retailers’ for GT or Kirana owners, their focus will be on adopting technology to uplift store image to keep up with modern trade and e-commerce. Additionally, marketers are likely to place a greater focus on POS interaction with customers

– With an influx of ‘discounts and discounted stores’, Kirana’s don’t want to be left behind. They would opt for itemized bills that show discounts offered on total bill, customise SMS service to customers on promos and greetings and adopt app-based home delivery for convenience.

– GT/ kirana in general will derive greater value out of analytics to deliver better customer experience and better share of wallet of consumer.

– Retailer’s footfall will be leveraged by marketers across categories to create virtual stores and touch points for their products. Example: scooter insurance, mobile phones sold by grocery merchants.

– Traditional trade had a contribution of almost 50 per cent from unbranded products. This may see a growth considering that there is a difference in GST between branded and unbranded products.

– In the war for market share battles have been fought on TVs, digital advertising and promos. The new must to win this battle will be consumer engagement at the POS both visual and contextual engagement of consumers.

– Consumer and stored data will be used and acted on like never before. The focus will be on real-time granular data that will facilitate real-time interventions.

– The role of frontline field force will pivot from order takers to company and brand ambassadors while technology will take over a lot of routine work and field force will be used more to build trust and relationships.

– Channel marketing will see a lot of focus. Real-time connect and dialogue with retailers and employees with marketing department of brands to get their share of mind will be an interesting phenomenon to watch out for. Technology again will play a very vital role.

– Small and independent retailers will re-establish their role in the FMCG ecosystem. Marketers will place a lot of emphasis on micromanaging store clusters.

– Lastly, becoming the trusted well-wisher of retailer will be the objective of many companies.

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