Here’s how this start-up created distribution model combining traditional retail networks with digital commerce

By: | Published: January 7, 2019 2:43 AM

With a network of 45,000 retailers across 10 states, StoreKing has created a distribution model that combines traditional retail networks with digital commerce to service a huge untapped market

startup, Sridhar Gundaiah, Govardhan Krishnappa, StoreKing, CapitalFloat, CashSuvidhaSridhar Gundaiah, founder and CEO, StoreKing

Founded by Sridhar Gundaiah and Govardhan Krishnappa in 2012, StoreKing is a technology enabled distribution platform, connecting small towns and villages of India. With a network of 45,000 retailers across 10 states, this startup has created a distribution model that combines traditional retail networks with digital commerce to service a huge untapped market. The company’s app empowers rural retailers to provide over 50,000 products and services to their walk-in customers in the hinterlands of India.

“Products and services offered by the app to the retailers include FMCG products, mobiles, laptops, whitegoods, home appliances, insurance, gold loans, investments and, services like DTH, phone recharge, movies and Facebook downloads,” says Sridhar Gundaiah, founder and CEO, StoreKing. “The company manages end-to-end fulfillment of the products as well as payments and logistics. It delivers the ordered products within 48 hours.”

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StoreKing has partnered with leading brands and consumer internet companies such as Xiaomi, HUL, Nissin, Airtel, Idea, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Shopclues, and many more. Besides enabling rural retailers with relevant products and services, StoreKing offers credit facilities to retailers by partnering with lending companies like CapitalFloat, CashSuvidha and others.

In the early years, Gundaiah witnessed that the demand for products was immense in rural India, but basic delivery mechanism and last-mile service was clearly missing. These interactions clearly demonstrated the need for a simplified technology in local languages. This is how StoreKing was conceived. Started with a compelling vision to be India’s largest retail company reaching out to 70% of India’s population by 2018, StoreKing aims to be the digital touch point for rural India and
highly focused to connect brands with consumers and enable rural India to access technology.

Cut to present. StoreKing has a presence across 10 states, 3,000 towns and 1,50,000 villages. It conducts 75,000 to 80,000 transactions per day and the turnover for financial year 2017-18 is about Rs 1,300 crore.  The six regional languages available on the app helps StoreKing in overcoming the language barrier which otherwise discouraged these retailers to use the internet.

StoreKing has raised $22 million capital till date from Luxembourg-based venture capital fund Mangrove Capital Partners and Axiata Digital. In the next two years the company is targeting a customer acquisition of 1,50,000 retailers. Apart from organic growth of retailers, rural retailers will very soon be able to sell their produce through the StoreKing platform and the end-consumer will be able to browse and discover on the StoreKing consumer app, where product fulfillment will continue to be through the retailer.

TECH & TOUCH

StoreKing is steadily dismantling the barriers between rural consumers and internet through technology. Through the StoreKing app, a retailer can order products as per the demand of the consumer and get it delivered within 48 hours. Retailers are trained to use the app which is available in local language, thereby removing the inhibitions of purchasing products and doing business online. Consumers now have access to brands which were earlier not available in the market. They have been instrumental in helping these retailers adopt technology, expand business, improve sales and become a one-stop shop for catering to all rural consumer needs.

In addition, StoreKing through its data analytics platform analyses customer consumption behaviour, predict demand and in turn help retailers to sell more relevant products to their walk-in customers. “In fact, StoreKing is fast becoming a large rural data company given the amount of information we continue to gather about rural customer’s requirements and buying behaviour. In terms of deep rural penetration very few companies exist. Most of the companies are focused on tier 2 and tier 3 towns of India and very few companies focus or have the bandwidth for taluka, mandal and gram panchayath level,” says Sridhar.

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