Start-ups helping small retailers to combat Covid-19 crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation around the world, ravaging economies, people, and livelihoods. The nationwide lockdown may have helped contain the viral contagion to an extent, but it has disrupted many businesses, especially offline retail stores and kiranas. Despite the ease in lockdown restrictions, most people fear contracting the virus and prefer to shop online, even for essentials such as vegetables and groceries.

Many startups and companies have stepped up and are providing fast online synergies for local kirana shops, pharmacies, vegetable vendors, and individual businesses, helping them list out inventories, facilitating bargains, and, in some cases, even tying up logistics. Here is a list of such start-ups:

Shopmatic – Shopmatic is a Singapore-based technology firm that provides eCommerce solutions to small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an objective to empower millions of aspiring entrepreneurs with a digital footprint, the company recently partnered with Singapore-based retail management solutions company Octopus to disrupt the retail market in Asia-Pacific with a suite of services to address the gaps that exist for offline businesses in going online.

Such facilities, supplemented by real-time visibility of sales and staff performance, are enabling retailers to enhance their efficiency and scale up their retail business further. Shopmatic’s value proposition is facilitating an efficient omnichannel ecosystem for kiranas across the country, digitally empowering them.

Khatabook – Khatabook, co-founded by Ravish Naresh, Ashish Sonone, Jaideep Poonia and Dhanesh Kumar, is a mobile application that enables small and medium businesses to record and track business transactions safely and securely. The app is available in 11 languages and has an automatic backup that keeps user data secure in case of damage or theft of the mobile phone. Khatabook’s success lies in the role it has played in helping merchants in credit recovery. Khatabook’s iOS and Android interfaces have the distinction of being one of the most user-friendly in the market. Industry observers have noticed its contribution to changing the business landscape of India. Recently, Khatabook has closed a $60 Million Series B round of funding led by B Capital Group.

Dotpe – DOTpe is a Gurgaon based O2O commerce platform that enables offline merchants/retailers to digitise their store in a matter of a few minutes and start accepting contactless orders. The platform recently launched a QR-based contactless commerce and payment solution and is striving to tap the $1 trillion retail market in India. The contactless retail solution will allow the shoppers to scan a QR code by using the mobile phone camera and get access to catalogues of retail brands and menus of restaurants on a browser. DOTpe plans to replicate this solution across shopping malls, restaurants, QSR Chains, eateries, large format & small grocery stores. DOTpe is already live with a gamut of big food outlets and cafes at the moment and very soon will launch the solution in a big way across large format retailers, leading shopping malls and retail brand stores.

Mall91– Mall91 is India’s leading social commerce platform for vernacular users across Tier II, III, and IV cities. The first principles-based vernacular social commerce platform combines live videos, social gaming, social content, voice and messaging AI to enable the next 400 million internet users to transact online. In addition to this, there has been an uptick in terms of merchants/sellers’ signups, primarily selling locally manufactured products.

About Neel Achary 4270 Articles
Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.