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Friday, July 01, 2016

Success Story: This Indian E-Commerce Startup Has Reached Over A Million Indian Villagers

By LIKHAVEER | INNLIVE

While logistics is turning out to be one of the biggest challenges for e-commerce companies across the country, a Bengaluru-based e-commerce startup is trying hard to tap into the rural customer base.

Meet StoreKing. Founded by Sridhar Gundaiah in 2012, the company has harnessed the power of vernacular languages to introduce e-commerce to over a million villagers in the last three years.

How it happens:
StoreKing approaches small kirana shops to mobile recharge outlets in villages. The retailer has to pay less than Rs 10,000 to install the StoreKing kiosk in their shop. These tablets come with the pre-installed company app. It is currently available in Tamil, Telegu, Goan, Kannada and Malayalam.

Once installed, the villagers just have to select the category, the product of their choice and click on 'buy'. The shopkeepers assist shoppers, and in return earn around 10% commission on each sale.

Once the online order is placed, the customer pays the shopkeeper and receives a bill. A confirmation message is sent immediately on the customer's mobile. The product is delivered to the shop the very next day, and the customer collects it.

Operations:
StoreKing has its warehouse in Bengaluru, and promises to deliver all items within 48 hours. It uses the FMCG distribution channel to deliver goods. The minimum order requirement is Rs 500.

Over 17,000 rural shops across west and south India are connected with StoreKing, with South India alone accounting for 4,500 kiosks.

The startup plans to expand its operations to the rest of the country soon.

Expansion Plans:
The company has raised multiple rounds of funding to the tune of around $6 million from a Luxembourg-based VC firm called Mangrove Capital Partners. It hasn't raised any money since 2014.

"I hope to reach 500 million people by the end of the next couple of years because I know there is no way aFlipkart or an Amazon can reach the interiors like we can," Sridhar said in an interview.

The startup is looking to expand to Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh in the next couple of months.
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