The Future of Unorganised retail: The fusion of technology, offline retail, and buyer preference has given offline a comeback in a new avatar.

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Could the wave of the future be a dig from the past? In the 1970’s and thereabouts, the delivery of grocery and other staples was a dominant part of the culture in countries like North America and Europe. In India, for example, the door to door delivery of milk, vegetables, and home-cooked meals has never really fallen out of fashion. Across the globe, we are seeing a replication of this model with some modification – the resurgence of the home-delivery system with a revision. Now consumers are not just placing orders over the phone, or going to the store, choosing their order and getting it delivered home- now the consumer places order to a faceless system by pulling up the retailer’s webpage or using their mobile app. The same home delivery, same phone but a different underlying technology!

The Indian retail is a perfect of adoption of this revised business model serving well the tech-savvy, time-crunched millennial as well as the older generation living a comfortable retirement and do not wish to go shopping every few days of the week.

The unorganized retail sector is the newest entrant to technology savvy revised business model. So far underpowered, the adoption of the internet to attract, retain and acquire customers has increased intensified the battle for footfalls or clicks on the offline stores and e-commerce sites respectively. The retailers have readjusted their business to ride the digital wave.

Fuelling the changes of converting the Indian unorganized retail into the digital ecosystem is the cheap and ubiquitous internet and the penetration of the smartphones. The internet access to the price-sensitive Indian consumer and low customer acquisition cost helps the offline retailer to offer a better value proposition to its customers in comparison to its digital and organized competitors.

What is has online shopping picked pace in India? And why has offline retailer adopted technology and replicating online conveniences? The increase in affordability, accessibility, and awareness are the underlying factors to this shift.

The primary change in affordability has come because of the increased connectivity to large towns where people hop in search of non-agrarian employment. Since the income from non-agrarian employment is at least 10% higher than the farm income, the consumer’s with non-agrarian jobs have higher disposable income. Converting this affordability into expenditure is the awareness factor. With the penetration of mobile phones, Direct-To-Home satellite broadcasting channels, cheap mobile data, and ubiquitous internet, the consumer is aware of what’s available outside the local market. This awareness emanates into adoption and consumption of new categories of products.

The rapid urbanisation and high population density make the home delivery model economically viable, particularly when coupled with low labour costs, as is the case in India. A small factor affecting India’s food industry to shift online is the concern of the new age consumers on food safety, hygiene and the surge of organic foods.

Internet penetration has also allowed the brick and mortar stores to offer a great selection of products across categories, by using virtual catalogues, use data to forecast demand and offer customized delivery options. The emergence of a grocery store into a health and wellness store or an electronics store into a durable goods insurance agent have fused the lines of business scope.

Will the virtual replace real? Will the clicks replace footfalls? Not any time soon.  Other than the obvious convenience of visiting a nearby store to fulfil the need for immediate consumption, offline retail stores have a powerful sensory experience. The Indian shopper, for example, considers shopping as an entertainment activity also. Thus becoming a retailtainment. The smell of ripe mangoes, the fragrance of fresh flowers, and the texture of the fabric are virtually impossible to replicate.

This is the basis of the marriage of digital and offline retail sector, resulting in indulgence and thrill of discovery of unknown and unplanned items on the shelf.

We are witnessing a return of the old – repetition with some modification.

 

Pragati capital is focused on providing financial empowerment: Ek kadam, aarthik aazadi ki or….

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When Naresh Gupta, of Banaras ran pillar to post looking for a bank loan, he realised that it was easier to either sell off his assets or trade away aspirations to expand his business than get a loan to do so. Bereft of hope and access to capital, Naresh is the story of thousands of other such retailers, and small business owners who need capital to fund their business expansion plans.

While a lot of such expansion plans get thwart because of lack of capital and loans, not all the declined loans are due to ineligibility of the borrowers.  The banks have been overworked, depending mainly on bank staff to conduct the complete financials verification, reference check, documentation validation, disbursal and finally loan recovery. Such human-intensive process makes it a herculean task for banks to be able to do justice to all its customers. In rural India lack of documentation, bank accounts or collateral also lead to loan application rejection.

However, giving relief to borrowers and lenders alike, a new stream of technology-based financial services, fintech has emerged. The fintech has digitalised banking, loans, and customer profiling in the credit industry, along with many innovations and automation in the financial services sector at large.

Clearly, this category is no passing fad but rather a game-changer for micro- and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). While these businesses previously struggled due to the lack of support from traditional banks, they’ve found affordable solutions from fintech platforms. For one, platform-driven reach has helped banks grow about 15 to 20 percent indicating that banks’ dependence on `feet-on-street’ to campaign for loans may recede in a few years.

Taking financial tech platform to the last mile – Pragati Capital will help small businesses to get loans in smooth and hassle-free digital procedure in lesser time.

The Pragati platform will enable the retailer to apply for a loan directly through the app. The online /app based loan application reduces paperwork, chances of incorrect entries and delays.  The borrower has to upload all documents via their phone by simply clicking a snap of the documents and uploading them on the app.

Pragati Capital via the Pay1 platform provides working capital and business loans to the Pay1 networked retailers. The loan disbursal criteria are the business volume, consistency and general credit score, maintained by the Pay1 data analytics. The loan disbursal turnaround time of 48 hours, hassle-free KYC approvals, weekend loans, and low-interest rates make Pragati a preferred lender among a huge section of unorganised and organized retailers.

Pragati also provides additional services and revenue schemes for the retailers like empowering them to sell credit products like insurance and mutual funds to customers and earning attractive commissions on the business and lead generation. The insurance gamut extends covers like personal accident, motor vehicle accident, travel, dengue and cancer cover.

Such platforms enable low risks loans at competitive interest rates, reduce the time for disbursal and reduce the chances of bad loans. The platform offers unmatched speed, and convenience and the overall lending requirements (e.g., credit score levels) which are less restrictive than multinational banks.

Banks and NBFCs using fintech capabilities of the retail platforms can take better credit decisions and get higher conversion in disbursal of loans.

Thus Pragati Capital, via the using the Pay1 retail network is focused towards making financial independence among retailers and small business owners a real possibility.

Kick-starting the Rural

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There currently are a tsunami of startups innovating and ideating on new concepts that may blow our socks away, every other acquaintance of ours is involved with a millennial in some or the other way. With a morning sip of tea gazing at newspaper articles our eyes are sometimes greeted with big bold black headlines covering startups, labeling them as the most disruptive or the most innovative business ideas of the decade. The ecosystem for startups has thrived a lot in the last decade and the zeal to make a dent in the market has rapidly intensified. But most of the startup’s interest   follows towards the fascinating product or service categories that are mainly absorbed by the urban population. The agrarian audience is almost always sidelined.

Amongst the large chunk of startups, there are very few newly established businesses that are pivoting their attention to the rural areas in India. The idea to target the areas where the market is still backward seems too inane for companies as most of them will still want to cater to the fancy customer base and the reasonable thought process that precedes that decision is quite understandable. We may have technological penetration but the market maturity is still way off course especially when we compare the audience. But that does not mean that the rural market should be ignored. The startups currently focusing the tier 2 or 3 markets are mainly agriculturally based startups but for a very holistic development of the rural sector, we need startups that will move beyond agriculture.

The Startup Advantage

With almost 70% of the population in the rural areas, empowering them is only going to develop the entire nation. Economic development cannot be measured in the boundaries of urban cities it is beyond urban that we need to focus. One of the startup advantages is its dynamic workforce and work culture, branching out into new service that will cater to the rural population is fairly easy when compared to big multinationals. Infact, most of the startups are now being backed by these same multinationals as the bandwidth to experiment is more with the startups. Developing through experimenting is what the startups can focus on. Curated and cost-effective services for the rural population can help the startups expand their hold in the rural society. With the growing infrastructure and technological penetration, the adoptability of new services and products of the rural audience has also increased. It is an opportune time for the startups to broaden their horizon and venture into the untapped market. With startups already blooming in the tier 1 market, with proper government support and corporate support the expansion can easily propel the rise of the rural economy.

Investing in technologies is always the best choice.

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Why are small businesses keen to invest in technologies?

Old thought, philosophies and concepts sometimes seem true whilst you run a business. Old theories like you have to spend money to make money being on of the classics and its relevance being apt in the world of technologies. If your small business fails to invest properly in technology, then it will quickly fall behind its competitors. This just points out to how important it is for every business to include technological needs in its core needs.

In order to have a deeper understanding about the technological needs and the basic purposes it solves, the characteristics are divided into 3 parts as follows:

Do you have a website? – A Website

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If you are looking for customer retention, your old traditional methods might just do you good. But if it’s new customers you are eyeing at then a website is Important. They are not just a great idea, are a business essential, even if you are just a local firm. Research shows that more people search stuff online than ever before. So, if you are looking to attract new customers, get yourself on the internet.
Just a holding site that says what you can do and how people can find you makes a big difference. It just shows how updated you are, and it is more of a psychographic effect.

How social are you? – Social Media

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Advertising has often been a pain. Invest on them and then waiting and looking forward to whether or not it was a waste. If someone said free advertising would you jump with happiness? Here’s something you would love, what social media can provide you with:
Free advertising and publicity space. By setting up a free Facebook page and a free Twitter account, you can publicise your services to the local area. This is super beneficial as:
– It allows your customers to rate your business so people can see good feedback.
– It allows you to engage with customers, so your business is more approachable.
– It gives you a platform to find and attract new customers.
– The page acts as a reminder of your business’s existence.
When you have this amount of free advertising, social media makes you a smart businessman.

Is your network using a cloud? – Cloud Computing

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Finally, get your computer network on the cloud. This has two main benefits:
– Your employees can work quicker.
– Your employees can work together, and can access the same information you provide, from their place of rest.
– You basically streamline processes and make your business more efficient.
Cloud computing promises to be the future of technology, and could change the way that we all do business.
With access to it, the allowance for flexible collaboration and the ability to share files on the go, you can provide your workforce with all the tools needed to succeed.

From increasing productivity to free advertising to attracting new customers, there are a number of reasons why you would want to invest in technologies and stay updated.

Productivity boosters for your small business

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Is slow productivity stopping your business from growing rapidly?

Productivity holds a very important segment in business, most particularly within small companies. If your business is running at maximum productivity, there is scope that you can make it more efficient and profitable, by enabling it to develop and grow. However, there are other factors that can impact productivity, so it’s important that you monitor the efficiency, and discover ways in which you can improve it.

Why know about productivity in business?

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Productivity could be in many areas within your business. Within a business environment it relates to the efficiency of your system, machines, or employees, in producing specific outputs. It can also be measured by analyzing your average output over a specific period, and dividing this by the overall costs or resources that were consumed to do so. When businesses are looking at costs and making them more efficient, productivity is a crucial factor and that can help to reduce operating costs.

Ways in which the productivity of your business reduces effectiveness

Across a business a number of factors can damage productivity levels, meaning employees are working less efficiently. Some of which are as follows:

Outdated technology – A stitch in time saves nine

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Technology can play an important part in a productive business, but it is vital that you have the most appropriate systems and hardware for the role. If your employees are using outdated equipment, which is time-consuming and unreliable, it will slow down their productivity and in turn cause frustration.

Unhappy workforce – The only way to do great work is to love what you do

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Employees who are enthusiastic about their work and like coming to work, are always more productive than unhappy employees. They will suffer from less stress, will be able to communicate with their managers and will have commitment towards the company that makes them work faster and more efficiently.
It’s beneficial to build cordial relationships with your employees and keep them informed of developments, so that they feel valued and a part of your team.

Personal problems – It is not work that kills, but worry

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If your employees have issues in their private lives, their work life will face repercussions of it, and this will impact their effectiveness when they are in the office. This can be due to health problems, financial issues, a relationship breakdown or addiction, such as drugs, alcohol or gambling.
As an effective employer, if you understand the needs of your employees, you will be able to handle these issues better and produce a more efficient workforce.

How to measure productivity?

With a majority of your office work focused around computers, it can be hard to analyze productivity effectively, as input and output levels can’t always be measured accurately. Productivity apps can be useful to assign tasks and keep track of work across your team, so that nothing is missed.

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The outcomes of projects are a big indicator of productivity, and it is important that you keep an eye on deadlines and budgets to ensure that they are met. Maintaining communication with your employees will ensure that everyone is working on tasks and you can manage the expectations of your client.
With a small business, operating as productively as it possibly can, your clients will be impressed, with the standard and speed of your work and this will lead to, them commissioning on more projects with you or referring you to new customers, which will make the business more profitable and successful.
With these small tips productivity of your small business will boost ten times faster and more effectively than you would an average of 4 to 5 years.