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In conversation with Mr. Anup Kumar, Founder & CEO, Kirana King

In an Interview with BW Businessworld, Mr. Anup Kumar, Founder & CEO, Kirana King talks about the company, business model, competitors and more.

1. Brief us about your business model like how did the idea come to start and how does it work?

We were looking at the evolution of Kirana Retail very closely in India since early 2017 and did a lot of ground research and also had interacted with many Kirana Retailers to understand their pain point and have found that there is a huge gap between consumer expectations & deliverables by Kirana Retailer. We carefully examined our solution statement in between a product strategy or a service strategy, finally, after a lot of brainstorming and validation on the ground, we have emerged with our pioneering concept “Retail as a Service “to empower the traditional grocery retail ecosystem in India that provides 360-degree solutions to the overall problems of Kirana Retail. 

Our solutions to the Kirana Retailer’s business have also evolved over the period, now our hypothesis is by and large established with a large pool of data analysis signifying the kind of enhancement we have brought to their business. Our platform covers the major interaction points of the entire experience of both Kirana Retailer and the end consumer and we power it with the Retail as a Service (RaaS) model, which is a kind of dynamo for our service model, it covers right from the Transformation, experience level in the store, Convenient layout, Improved merchandising, Tech related interventions for consumer’s ease, Digital payment infrastructure, Building better margins with wider assortments on shelves, Scale of economies, New monetization opportunities, Faster logistics solutions etc., these are very important stages of any Grocery Retail business and we offer a comprehensive aggregation platform to all our franchise network partners under a single umbrella brand of Kirana King, Once a Retailer joins our network, he gets an immense value for money and access to proven business practices to address both demand and supply at his shop floor.

We offer a bundle of services to our franchise network retailers that he could only avail with our brand network at very nominal charges/fees, so if you are a standalone retailer and lacks resources and capabilities to develop intricacies of Modern grocery retailing on your own, that is available for the branded stores only, then we are the best possible option and our growing network of stores is an example of the receptivity of our business model and the value that we bring in on the table among Kirana Retail fraternity.

2. What are the unique key points of your company?

Our core USP is our distinctly placed “Retail as a Service “RaaS Business Model, and the way we implement it which is a strong entry barrier as our business processes of delivery have been highly synchronized with our technology and other services and compliments the entire Kirana retail value chain through the 4 pillars of RaaS- Standardization, Digitization, Centralization and Socialization. These 4 pillars comprehensively address the problem statement at these stores and adequately touches the entire consumer journey touchpoints of today’s grocery retail consumers.

We closely bring all the stakeholders of the value chain like Retailers, Brands and Consumers seamlessly to a perfect synergy to harness the massive potential in this business segment.

3. How are you different from the existing competitors?

We at Kirana King have invested a huge amount of time, resources and capital to understand the psyche of Kirana retailers and the core problems at the ground in the segment, it has helped us to develop a comprehensive solution that consistently evolves and addresses the entirety of the problem and not in to piece meals, so in a nutshell, our Retail as a Service model addresses various problems related to standardization, layouts, design of stores, digitization at these stores and availability of the cashless payment solutions, innovative centralized solutions for marketing, distribution and logistics along with the requisite emphasis on the socialization part where we also undertake enhancement of retailers on the fronts of learning and development and consistent hand-holding to improvise on various processes.

4. What is the funding status and monetization model?

We had funded the inception of the business and initial Proof of Concept with self-seed funds at the promoter level as we wanted to be sure of the efficacy parameters of the business model, once the same was validated, we recently raised a Pre Series A round of INR 7 Crore from Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF), We have further plans to raise around USD 5 million by June-2021 for the next stage growth journey, We are quite excited with the response from the investor’s fraternity and as you can see that only Grocery Retail segment has raised so much money even in the Covid 19 times and that shows the prospects of this industry in the coming times.

Our revenue streams/monetization are trade margins from the supply chain, franchise fees, branding & advertisement fees from FMCG Brands. 

5. What challenges are you facing in running your business?

In a complex business environment like Grocery Retail in India, challenges are many and they also keep on evolving and keeps us on the edge, it only motivates us to think out of the box and bring more relevant solutions for our retailers with a mix of technology and services but yes understanding the unique need of a given geographic territory and the psyche of the Kirana retailers there is one of the core challenges for us as in India the entire product mix and consumer mix changes after every few hundred kilometres. 

6. How has been the people's response so far?

The Retailer’s response has been very receptive to our concept as they are our partners in the massive efforts to bring a change in the ecosystem and these retailers who are our end consumers are acting as a change agent, we get queries from the far-flung areas of India and the sheer belief of these Kirana retailers towards our business model is something that keeps us going, The Retailer’s end consumers are also noticing the sweeping changes in the overall experience and the processes at the stores and they are also admiring our work on the ground.

7. How do you look at expansion?

We plan to open more than 1000+ stores by the end of March 2022 in various part of Rajasthan and further plan to expand to other strategic areas of North, West and Central India in the following fiscal years and would work towards building a network of approx. 7000+ stores by the fiscal end of 2025

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