The Indian arm of German retailer Metro Cash and Carry has announced the launch of an app for kirana stores, allowing retailers to order stock, keep a check on inventory, and facilitate payments directly from their smartphones.
Digital Shop, which was co-created with FinTech ePayLater, will allow kirana owners to track their daily and monthly sales, manage their inventory, place orders with Metro, offer digital payment options to customers and more, according to Live Mint. The app is in the pilot stage in Metro’s stores in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, with 8,000 kiranas and small traders using it so far. There are plans to launch the app across all of its 27 stores in 17 cities in the near future.
“The Digital Shop initiative is aligned with Centre’s impetus to digitize small retailers and shopkeepers, and aim to help facilitate a more level-playing field for these small and independent businesses for their continued success,” said Metro Cash & Carry India MD & CEO Arvind Mediratta, according to The Hindu Business Line.
Metro Cash and Carry entered the Indian market in 2003 and largely operates as a wholesaler for local neighborhood grocery stores, hotels and restaurants. The company already runs a smart kirana program that has enabled 500 small retailers to transition to some form of digitization.
“However, the latest initiative combines new-age technologies, data science and years of exhaustive experience of wholesale retail into a simple-to-use digital offering,” the company explained, according to Live Mint.
And as the company expands, Mediratta said the chain might look into opening more trader-focused stores that stock relevant inventory.
“We are looking at new formats, yes,” Mediratta said. “Our experience in Europe is that with online — a lot of people who would come to the stores in the past, now they prefer to shop online, the foot traffic has come down, plus with all these apps, people are ordering online.”