Kirana Stores Won’t Die, Will See an Afterlife

Kirana Stores Won’t Die, Will See an Afterlife

Firms will have to move away from the traditional distributor-led system to one with multiple partners at a hyperlocal level.

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Kirana Stores Won’t Die, Will See an Afterlife

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A homemaker in Coimbatore who used to buy groceries from the neighbourhood store now simply orders online what she needs the night before, to be delivered at 7am. It arrives on time, just after her morning puja, every day and she pays her bill at the end of the month using her mobile wallet. The e-store that delivers her groceries customizes reminders and options, almost seeming to know what she will need before she realizes it.

In Lucknow, a grocery store owner orders online his stock; it’s delivered in 24 hours, reducing capital and space requirements, and freeing him up from daily trips to the wholesale market.

This is the contemporary scenario of grocery retail, and it is an exciting time to be a retailer and a consumer in India. The overall India grocery market is set to grow from about $550 billion to nearly $1 trillion in four to five years. Of this nearly 60% is fresh produce—fruits, vegetables and meat—where FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brands don’t really play. The addressable market for FMCG players, therefore, is about $250 billion today, and estimated to double in the next four to five years, according to Bain & Co.

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Joydeep Bhattacharya is a partner at Bain and Co. and heads its India consumer products and retail practices. Sanjay Wali is with Godfrey Phillips India.


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