Tailwind for traditional trading

This column is devoted and dedicated to the now-disappearing fraternity of traders with their kiraana shops knocked out by headwinds in the form their customers favouring online orders and doorstep delivery of virtually all their needs of daily life. Residents of Mysuru now in the evening of their long life can recollect with nostalgia the row of such shops not only in its central business district but also in the many residential parts of the city, all of them within walking distance from their homes. The all-conquering digital technology, based on semi-conductors, familiar to the literati as the chip, enabling even the unlettered sections in the country’s population, including the rustics, to buy mobile smart phones has done its damage to the time-honoured kiraana traders. A minuscule number of them, suffocating amidst super markets, departmental stores, malls and now internet-assisted online trading companies, have no option other than moving to the pages of history.

The inventory of the kiraana traders as well as the consumer goods sought by the residents most of them in quantities not exceeding a couple of hundred grams are known to have been perfectly matching. Barring textiles, drugs, engineering goods and electronic products, the kiraana shops offered for sale to the total satisfaction of their captive customers, both price-wise and quality-wise.

In a double whammy as it were, the kiraana trading got hit by severe shortfall in small denomination currency following demonetising of high-denomination currency on Nov. 8, 2016 and flooding of markets with the range of consumer goods not exactly within the ambit of kiraana trading. Mercifully, the sweeping changes in the market scene witnessing the exit of tiny traders are yet to be witnessed in rural parts of the country. The sector of kiraana trading threatened by the demonic internet in urban spaces is about to witness a revival with tailwind in the form of the same technology that hurt the sector to the point of extinction.

The traditional retailer, namely kiraana trader is required to stock previously unheard of products with new features. A start-up, based in Bengaluru, has come up to re-connect them with their captive customers across 10 States by using a newly developed app (computer application) available in six languages including Kannada. We may also witness technology-driven kiraana trade in urban spaces, sooner than later.

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