An Indian technology firm, working with IBM public cloud unit, is looking to help Indian Kirana stores defend their turf in the online grocery war.
Pace Automation, which has previously built software for restaurants, wants to bring 1,50,000 thousand local grocery stores onto its platform in three years and allow customers to order their groceries online from the nearest grocer.
“The customer can pick the slot it will be delivered in and the store they want the groceries from. We will provide the technology backend, the point-of-sale device and it will all be cloud-based,“ SG Chandru, Chairman of Pace Automation, told ET. Pace has already tied up with distributors in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and the National Capital Region. The solution will run on IBM’s public cloud platform.
The concept of helping local kirana stores online is not new. A startup called Goodbox has created a mobile application that allows multiple brick-and-mortar businesses to sell through their app.
But Pace’s Chandru wants to take the process a step further for the offline kirana stores. “We are tying up with a bank, so the store can also act as a micro-ATM and customers could withdraw cash at the store. In addition, we are also creating a partnership with an insurance firm so the store owner could also act as a sales channel for insurance,“ Chandru said.
The final agreements would be signed next week Chandru pegged the additional earnings, from helping provide financial services, could boost the store’s revenue by `10,000. The technology cost for an Aadhaar-enabled point-of-sale (PoS) machine would be about `60,000 and the merchant would then pay `2,500 a month for the services.
He added that because the technology would help the stores have verifiable financial statements, that they would also be able to access bank funding, something that they are unable to do currently . But experts say this is unlikely to be easy.
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