Retail and Banking goes next version, dials Kirana and ration shops for last-mile

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2019 13:20 hrs
Kirana Shopkeeper (Image courtesy: Indiaspend)

A few years ago, the most discussed subject during Group Discussions at management exams was Kirana Shops vs Organised Retail. Although the perspectives would differ, the basic premise was to discuss on synergies and what revolution a partnership between kirana shops and organised retail could bring. 

Cut to 2019, young turks at different agencies seem to be implementing the very thought process and are offering Kirana shops and ration shops their due recognition.

On Tuesday, news reports surfaced about how ration shops and Kirana shops were in the limelight. That, thanks to  partnerships with banks and retailers.

Yes Bank was reported as saying that it would partner with ration shops in Maharashtra to offer basic banking services. In a unique initiative, the Maharashtra government collaborated Yes Bank to enable Fair Price Shops to offer limited banking services to the far flung rural populations, an official was quoted as saying in an IANS story on Tuesday.

Under this first-ever initiative, through the e-PDS programme, ration shops in the state will be taken on board as Business Correspondent Agents' (BCAs) of Yes Bank.

Yes Bank will onboard around 40 per cent of the 20,000-plus ration shops in 12 districts like Thane, Palghar, Pune, Kolhapur, Latur and others to extend banking and value-based services that could benefit around seven lakh citizens.

These BCAs would provide small-value cash deposits into any bank accounts including domestic remittances and withdrawals from any account via Aadhaar-Enable Payment System (AEPS).

All ration shops will also be able to collect digital payments through the AEPS to offer services like bill payments, DTH recharges, mobile recharges, bus or hotel bookings, etc., in return for a commission.

The AEPS is a bank-led model permitting online interoperable financial inclusion transactions at any point of sale through the BCA of any bank using Aadhaar authentication.

Food & Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat said that the e-PDS has helped the government eliminate more than one million fake ration cards in the state besides fully digitalising inventory management for government and ration shops.

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"The new initiative will help boost the BCAs with additional revenue through various services they will offer to the people and allow the citizens to have convenience of banking services at their neighbourhood ration shop," Bapat said.

Yes Bank's Chief Digital Officer Ritesh Pai said that the bank remains committed to improving the 'last mile inclusion' and translating financial access into enhanced convenience and usage for smoother delivery of G2C (Government to Citizens) through simple digital solutions.

To be spread across the rest of the state gradually, the scheme is expected to help Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) users who have a card but no access to point of sale machines or ATMs to use their bank accounts for daily purposes with a simple biometric authentication.

Myntra goes big with 9000 Kirana stores

In a seperate story, retailer Myntra was reportedly considering a big strategy with Kirana shops. Myntra is unfortunately in the news over the exit of its CEO and the HR tweaking the lead designation, however the report on the innovation may cheer some of its employees. Ananth Narayanan, Chief Executive of e-tail portals Myntra and Jabong had stepped down from the post on January 14. A spokesperson from Myntra said the exit was "to pursue external opportunities".

In an IANS report, it has been reported that Myntra would tap into the last-mile delivery strategy and tie-up with 9000 kirana stores across 50 cities. The Flipkart-owned ecommerce platform Myntra observed 80% revenues falter in FY2018, and hopes that this strategy would help it reinvent itself.

Today, nearly 60 per cent of all Myntra's product pick-ups and deliveries happen through its "Kirana Delivery Programme" -- helping the company reduce delivery costs, the company was quoted as sayiing.

"Myntra's 'Kirana Delivery Programme' is a successful model introduced by the company to accelerate order delivery in the most efficient way possible, while ensuring we provide a good partnership opportunity to our kirana partners," said the company spokesperson.

"We will continue to innovate, expand and hope to register more kirana partners in the future as well," this spokesperson added.

The "Kirana Delivery Programme" is an ingenious model introduced by the company to accelerate order delivery, while creating a platform for kirana stores to have an additional source of income.

"A mutually beneficial model, it has helped Myntra achieve greater consumer satisfaction and is enhancing the standard of living of the owners of several 'mom & pop' stores across the country," said the company.

Several tailors and beauty parlour owners, among others, have also signed up with Myntra for the programme.

The online fashion retailer narrowed its consolidated losses to Rs 178.7 crore for 2017-18, compared with a loss of Rs 655.8 crore in the previous fiscal. According to business intelligence platform Tofler, the company saw its income growing nearly threefold to Rs 427.4 crore in 2017-18 as against Rs 155.6 crore in the previous financial year.

As customers, if you fail to access your favourite ecommerce store or app, make sure to head to your local Kirana store. There are chances that the local-store may offer a quicker, swifter and hassle-free experience, than even the app on your smartphone.

With Inputs from IANS