Traditional kirana stores, along with a host of other traditional shops, have got together to set up a nationwide online market-place called e-lala, e for electronic and lala for the name popularly used for them.
It is a brain child of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and marks another move by offline retailers to counter the march of electronic commerce. Recently, Kishore Biyani said his Big Bazaar would go live with an app to beat online retailers’ successful discount-driven strategy.
E-lala is poised to start a pilot in Nagpur next month and go national in three to four months. A technical team will be stationed in every city and the jurisdiction of each team will be to assist retailers in the nearby villages as well.
“The new generation is going online, but we feel they would still prefer to buy their daily needs from the same person.
The only gap is reach and presence on the mobile app, internet and online payments. We decided to bridge this gap on our own and not let upcoming e-commerce ventures eat into our business,” said CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.
Online retailers like Localbaniya.com, BigBasket.com, grofers.com, Goodtogo.com, PepperTap.com, ZopNow.com have of late made inroads into the traditional business of grocery and are competing with the neighbourhood shops. Big e-retailers like Snapdeal, Flipkart, and Amazon have also entered the segment.
The team behind the portal will help the local kirana and other stores start accepting online payments by having a net banking account. Next, the online system, linked to a payment gateway, will direct the payments for the orders to the account of the kirana or other local retail store. Online retail giants first collect payments in their accounts and then disburse them to the sellers after keeping their margins.
E-lala will also work on the popular cash-on-delivery model. It will also have delivery people carrying card swipe machines to the buyer’s doorstep. “This will be in line with the government’s thinking of promoting the usage of credit and debit cards,” Khandelwal said.