Moving neighbourhood stores from calculators to the Cloud...

06th May 2018
Moving neighbourhood stores from calculators to the Cloud...
Anil Kumar owner of Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara Traders, punches an order on the Snapbizz PoS terminal

Bangalore, May 6 2018: Even as online and organized retail is picking up steam in India, there are still nine million kirana  ( grocery) stores in the country that form the so-called “unorganized” retail and their scale of operations is mind numbing. These kirana stores cater to the needs of 90% of consumers or 1.2 billion people. According to industry estimates, they see 750 million transactions every day and account for $120 billion in gross merchandise value annually. These stores are served by more than 1,000 FMCG companies riding on more than 250,000 distributors.
However, most of these stores have no digital connectivity, which means that the store owners don’t have relevant data-driven insights to serve their customers better and FMCG brands have no store-level data of how consumers are shopping in these stores.
While digitization would seem to be the obvious solution for most kirana store owners, it was easier said than done. Most PoS terminal sellers offer an accounting and inventory solution, and, look at making revenues from store-owners. They are expensive too, costing as much as $1,500, which is a big deterrent for kirana store owners that work on razor-thin margins and are usually run by the owner.
Prem Kumar, a corporate CEO-turned-serial-entrepreneur, decided to do something about it. What if he could digitize these kiranastore owners, increase their sales, and also offer them an additional revenue stream? In 2013, that germ of an idea translated into Snapbizz, a Bangalore -based mobile technology platform that is using the power of cloud and analytics to empower the fragmented kirana store owners.
“We’re moving these retailers from calculators to the cloud,”  says Kumar.
The company offers a Windows 10 based tablet, along with a scanner, LED display screen and printer which acts as the PoS terminal. Considering these kirana stores don’t have any internet connectivity, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot connects the terminal to the Microsoft Azure cloud. The solution enables a retailer to carry out everyday store operations like billing, inventory management, CRM, supply chain management alongside driving contextual customer engagements.
It also allows a rich layer of analytics, rendered through highly interactive dashboards on PowerBI that provides actionable insights for FMCG brands, market research organizations and fintech firms. Snapbizz also leverages Cosmos DB that helps in the storage of bills and enables consumer analytics.Additionally, SnapBizz retailers get customized apps for their stores to connect with their loyal consumers and enable them to order groceries from the comfort of their home. On the distributor side, the system connects retailers directly with wholesalers and suppliers that improves efficiency of their overall procurement model.
“Our focus is to bring enterprise-grade technology to the traditional retailers alongside building skillsets in their workforce. With the Windows 10 operating system for the client-side solution, backed by Microsoft Azure at the back-end, we’re not only solving for robust levels of agility and reliability, but also a highly secured ecosystem, given there’s a lot of data transmitted every second, with every transaction at the store,”  Kumar explains.

A success store-y
While the backend technology had to be enterprise grade, the user interface had to be extremely simple to understand–after all this would probably be the first-time majority of kirana store owners would interact with a touchscreen tablet.
 “I no longer have to worry about tax calculations. It was a cause for concern before because GST is something we couldn’t grasp as easily. This solution handles all of those complexities and has really improved the way we work,” adds Krishnamurthy, a  kirana store owner who is also an early-adopter of Snapbizz.
What really differentiates Snapbizz from other PoS vendors is Snap Vision–an LED display that can show promotions and new products from FMCG companies. Armed with store-level insights, FMCG brands can pinpoint consumers in the right stores by offering targeted promotional discounts and showcase their products on these Snap Vision LED displays. The display not only drives additional sales for the kirana store owners but also adds a monthly revenue stream via product placements.
“Displaying store offers and product launches on Snap Vision has increased customer engagement. It alone has improved my sales by up to 10%. Customers were curious about the discounts we offered and started purchasing these additional products,” adds Anil  Kumar, the owner of Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara Traders.
Snapbizz is currently present in over 3,000 kirana stores and works with 25 FMCG brands. Some kirana store owners have seen their profits increase by up to 25% and productivity gains of up to 30%, as the terminals take care of a lot of things like inventory management and book-keeping that were earlier done manually. Meanwhile, FMCG brands have witnessed user trial rates go from 3% to 48% in certain scenarios.
Snapbizz co-founder Kumar has his eyes set on reaching 20,000 kirana store owners in the next two years and half-a-million in five years. The company is receiving as many as 500 enquiries every month from retailers across the country. The company is also seeing demand in similar markets like the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Africa.