Large retailers wooing kirana stores with PoS machines 2.0
Reliance Retail has been testing a PoS project with 1,200 mom-and-pop outlets for the past couple of month.
Reliance Retail has been testing a PoS project with 1,200 mom-and-pop outlets in Ahmedabad for the past couple of months. In Lucknow, US giant Walmart is also piloting the Kirana Development Programme, testing its own PoS machines with about three dozen small stores that the world’s largest retailer plans to scale up to 500, according to multiple sources.
Rival Metro Cash and Carry of Germany, that started its own PoS pilot with 100 traditional stores in Bengaluru and Hyderabad more than a year ago, has plans to “aggressively scale up” its PoS initiatives, said chief executive Arvind Mediratta.
The PoS machines from Reliance and Walmart can be used for scanning barcodes, billing and printouts, swiping credit or debit cards, placing bulk orders from the retailers’ cash-and-carry outlets and even calculating goods and services tax for the small merchants.
The humble PoS machine is well and truly on its way to becoming the latest arsenal in the big retailers’ fight to enlist kiranas.
Big retailers see the touch-screen PoS as the first step of digital empowerment of kiranas without burdening them with the costs associated with technological upgrade. For example, Reliance’s Androidbased PoS that comes with Jio connection is given for a refundable sum of ?3,000.
“This is a devise to help digitize the small merchants. They can accept any kind of card payment, manages their accountings and inventories,” a person familiar with Reliance’s PoS said.
Kiranas are on the forefront of India’s evolving retailing landscape where ecommerce companies from Walmart-owned Flipkart to Amazon are courting mom-and-pop stores for various roles, ranging from last mile delivery agents to even making kiranas sell products from online companies.
Reliance, that is expected to roll out its high-profile ecommerce venture, that seeks to marry the company’s offline stores with the digital network of Jio, also plans to enroll millions of kiranas as business partners and last mile delivery agents. The Ahmedabad PoS trial is part of Reliance’s kirana outreach initiatives.
Walmart, that runs about two dozen wholesale stores in India, had been runnning kirana modernising programme for years. But the PoS is a new addition.
“Our ground teams support in transforming these kiranas into self-service shops by providing knowledge on inventory management/planogram/store planning,” Krish Iyer, chief executive , Walmart India said in an emailed statement without answering specific questions on PoS. “With our knowledge of the country, retail expertise and because of our decade-long work with kiranas, we are in a unique position to understand their pain points.”
One of the persons familiar with Walmart plans said the US company plans to add about 100 kirana stores in multiple cities where Walmart operates its cash-and-carry stores after the Lucknow pilot. “In larger cities they plan to have 200-300 kiranas under the Kirana Development Programme,” he said.
Amit Sharma, chief executive of ShopX said technologies including the PoS pilots need to be put at the heart of a kirana. “In India the traditional point of sale system needs to be redefined,” he said. “Most of India is mobile first, not PC first. What we need is a mobile driven "Retail Operating System" which enables a variety of apps in a kirana context.”