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Retail Businesses

Here's How This App Aims To Empower Local Mom-and-Pop Stores In India!

Kirana stores in India have survived the toughest of times!
Here's How This App Aims To Empower Local Mom-and-Pop Stores In India!
Image credit:
A woman at an argan oil factory in Morocco.
Entrepreneur Staff
Former Staff, Entrepreneur India
3 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

We would generally assume that the onset of online grocery chains have over powered the local kirana stores (mom-and-pop stores) near our homes over the years. Digital payments, online bookings and umpteen numbers of available options have taken precedence over the brick and mortar owned by familiar-faced shopkeepers.

But this startup thinks otherwise!

Distiman is an app that allows mom-and-pop retailers to maximize their profits through on-demand procurement of stock.

How does it work?

In the traditional supply chain ecosystem, a kirana store owner has to wait for anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks or longer to get a delivery on his order for stock. This long lead time means that he has to buy larger quantities of everything and ends up with his capital stuck for that period of time.

But with Distiman, empowers a retailer, who can now order all the products he needs right from our mobile application and get them delivered within 24 hours. This results in faster cash rotation and correct stocking.  The company has been selected to be a part of the current batch Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Program.

Founders Lalit Bhise and team come with experience in the FMCG and technology sector.

How will it empower mom-and-pop stores?

According to Lalit, expects the app to be primarily used by tier 2 and 3 cities where he says that smartphone penetration isn’t that big of challenge.  Citing the usage of apps like WhatsApp, which are so widely used by locals belonging to those cities, who use smartphones along with the apps that come with it.

“Our challenge was to keep the apps simple enough where the user does not have to do too many things,” Lalit said. The app comes with advantages of being very pictorial rather than being text heavy, integration of local languages like Kannada and call centres to make things simpler for the store owners.

Mom-and-mom stores are here to stay with digitization

Today a kirana store is rising to the age of digitization. With companies like Paytm allowing payments via its app at stores, our local mom-and-pop outlets are battling out with large FMCG outlets, foreign retail giants and online grocery domains.

Lalit, who has been a part of the evolution of this space, says that local Indian kIrana stores can never go out of fashion in India.

Modern trade today has moved from a shopkeeper individually taking your order to now a consumer allowed to walk into a store and pick up items of his choice. New trading practices have only been able to capture 7%-8% percent of the retail space; reasons being the shift to online grocery and the existing preference of mom-and-pop stores, Lalit said.

According to Lalit, kirana stores are aware of the building threat from online stores and they are ready to adapt and empower themselves with new practices and technology to battle it out in the retail space.

“Smartphone today has become their computer and a window to the digital world, where they can participate in the retail economy and serve their consumers better,” he said

Lalit believes that with the introduction of  new solutions , kirana stores would gradually adapt and adept to novel ideas in the retail space.


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