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  • Rural e-commerce startups tapping the untapped market

    Published on July 30, 2021

    The Indian rural segment constitutes about 70% of the Indian population, which is still struggling for financial inclusion. Research indicated that most borrowers depend on mobile devices while they are on-the-go, but the industry has not been able to optimize debt collection policies in tandem with this growing trend. The rural population is fully aware of current trends and what is happening across the world thanks to devices and technology. The advent of ecommerce has made it easy for rural Indians to enjoy online shopping in the same way that urban residents do.

    India has the third largest space for start-up ecosystems in the world and while the government continues to focus on creating a digital infrastructure at the grassroot level with the Digital Bharat, here are the startups which are trying to build significant and better businesses by tapping the rural market in India.

    StoreKing

    StoreKing was conceived with a simple yet powerful idea in mind – to power rural consumption and redraw the distribution capabilities for both products and services using Kirana as an Anchor. It is the only rural retail ecosystem that connects both retail suppliers and financial institutions to the vast rural population. Through end-to-end technology management, StoreKing powers the local kirana stores to meet all the retail needs of their rural buyers. StoreKing offers a user-friendly technology platform that connects each rural kirana directly with the brand seeking to supply its products, enabling the brand and the kirana to work together to devise data-guided product and sales strategies. A clean and simple interface, enables rural retailers to procure products and services for their customers through the StoreKing app as needed, rather than having to repeatedly travel and pick up stocks themselves.

    NextDoorHub Launched in 2017, Next Door Hub is an online marketplace with core focus on kiosk-based assisted e-commerce and last mile delivery for semi-urban and rural India. Started from Kolkata, presently, Nextdoorhub has more than 5,000+ rural centres in India, majority of them are in the Eastern and North western parts of the country, providing banking support and financial services to over 1 crore customers. The startup sets itself apart by its ‘assisted ecommerce’ model and last-mile delivery solutions for both urban and rural areas in India. In addition to providing assistance in the shopping experience, through their eshop they reach out to the many MSMEs in the rural areas and offer to be a seller for them in both the domestic market and the international market.

    InThree
    Inthree Access consumer-facing, omni-channel Boonbox is a technology platform providing products and services to consumers who live in Tier III and IV towns and villages and currently have little to no access. The company’s network enables reach to the farthest towns and villages in the country’s hinterlands, and serves as a potent channel to distribute products and services to the vast rural market. The company also extends regular follow-up and after-sales services to its customers. Inthree directly partners with brands. Boonbox™ offers all the product categories and SKUs to the rural customer that they aspire for, at their doorsteps.

    Hesa

    Hesa is a Rural Tech start-up connecting Bharat with India phygitally is redefining rural commerce by providing Last Mile Physical and Digital Connect to Rural India. Hesa’s integrated B2B marketplace aggregates and connects both the ends and enables buying and selling with an almost ‘doorstep access’. For the rural population, Hesa is providing access, enablement and employment opportunities at scale, leading to empowerment. Rural customers can buy or sell a range of products, avail banking and other financial facilities and also pay utility bills from the comfort of their village.