Storeking: Nurturing the voice of 'Rural India' with its techno-innovative Retail Distribution platform
Innovation and change go hand in hand to broaden human scope and vision in this universe. With a motive of delivering innovation and channelizing technology towards the Rural India, Mr. Sridhar Gundaiah opened doors to a new vision with an invincible and indispensable approach; Storeking in 2012. In a wide-ranging interview with The CEO Magazine, Storeking's founder Sridhar, a seasoned entrepreneur with enticing character and an angelic soul talked about a host of affairs pursuant to Storeking. Here are the excerpts:
When everyone was going for digitalization in the already updated technology, why did you ventured out your journey from Rural India, from rural India?
It was during my initial stages of an important rural project work where we were working in a village. We came across to see the lively trust factor between village people and their retailers. The demands for products were immense and even lacked the courier hugely in the last mile service. All these actually triggered this novel concept. It was painful to see a farmer being awake every night to know whether the water is released from the canal & what time it reaches his field. To resolve this problem, I formed a team under my leadership, executed a project. The project actually triggered me to start a mobile-based technology to help retailers to place for a product on mobile.
How would you discrete Storeking from others?
StoreKing is a revolutionary platform, technology-based, rural retail Distribution, innovation-driven and launched by motivated, educated and high- energy founders transforming the rural Retail Business by leveraging with the advanced digital Technology. We enable retailers to sell over 100,000 products along with various other digital services to empower technology; offering with multilingual content, customized kiosks equipped with smartphones/tablets. We aim to be the digital touchpoint for rural India by Leveraging on a valuable network of existing rural retail stores in small-town consumers in a growing e-commerce market. We are determined to reach out to the Rural India by connecting brands with consumers and enable small town consumers to access Technology.
How does Storeking's model work?
StoreKing has combined e-commerce with traditional retail distributors and small shopkeepers to reach the rural hinterland. Store King Sets up a small Kiosk(each comprising a tablet and an internet connection) at neighborhood shops where shopkeepers can assist customers select products from the StoreKing Online Shopping platform, and get them delivered to the shop within 48 hours; customers simply pick up their deliveries from the shop. We have our warehouse in Bengaluru and products are further shipped through reliable Logistic providers and delivered to our Logistic Master Franchisee. The LMF then delivers it to trusted StoreKing Retailers. Later, customers are informed about the arrival of the products by our Tech-driven system via SMS and the products are delivered using a reliable distribution channel. It is definitely a challenge to penetrate into 70 % of India, which is rural. We have built a Hybrid Model where the catalog is the selling machine. This is a 100% prepaid Model.
How well is Storeking connected with 'Rural India'?
Our Rural Retailers are our esteem customers who are contributing majorly to the digital transformation of Rural India and we definitely want the Rural entrepreneurs to grow and enhance their livelihoods, we have ensured that they don't need a capital investment to grow with us, No inventory stocking and with us they gain the ability to sell new products and services, earn commission on all transaction , and benefits of customer loyalty, with all this in mind currently we have 40000+ retailers associated with us. We have also collaborated with esteem clientele like Xiaomi, Amazon, Patanjali, HUL, P&G, Indo Nissin, Himalaya, Lenovo, Samsung, Google, and much more adding onto the list. To keep our communication lively, we always keep ourselves in touch with them with communicating over WhatsApp, Running banners in our APP, Town Hall meetings and Feet on the street who meet the retailers every 15 days once and understand the requirement and challenges and ensure the same is resolved.
How big is the Storeking's team? What array of work culture nestles in Storeking's headquarters at Bangalore Rural – Kumbalgodu?
We are a big and happy joint family of 400 at present. We have always focused on cultivating best company culture by embracing transparency, recognizing and rewarding valuable contributions, cultivating strong coworker relationships. We have an open and flexible work culture and it has helped us to embrace and inspire employee autonomy, practice flexibility and communicate purpose and passion, promote the team atmosphere, give and solicit regular feedback and above all stay true to the core values.
What has been the cherishing moments of Storeking's business voyage till date?
There have been many milestones which make us proud of, one being our contribution in making the Rural entrepreneurs because we believe Entrepreneurship as an economic force in rural development. Entrepreneurship stands as a vehicle to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities and to sustain a healthy economy and environment. We enable them realize their dreams and enhance their livelihoods.
What's in for Storeking'sfuture plan?
We want to position StoreKing away from being 'one more ecommerce company'! StoreKing is a Platform , we connect and empower entrepreneurs in rural to sell more products/services without having to worry about working capital.
We now have our presence over 10 geographical boundaries of India and we are continuously putting over sweat and bone to become India's largest retail company reaching out to 70% of India's population by 2020". We want to become the final frontier; expanding from the state to the district, district to taluk, taluk to Hobli and Hobli to Village. Building a Customer Value Analytics whichis about turning data into insights, into decisions, into business value,understanding the demand driven products; fulfilling unmet demands;developing products especially for these rural consumers etc. will enable us to establish our thought leadership. I hope to reach 500 Million people by the end of the next couple of years . We would like to connect consumer finance for purchasing high aspiration products in rural India by using retailer as a bridge. Globally we have also launched in Indonesia
Thanks for the wonderful session. Few words from you as a piece of advice would be great.
Thank you for the same. Well, being an entrepreneur is an opportunity to learn every day for me; manifest as creating change for the world, contributing something larger than yourself. Always believe you can do it, If you have a dream, don't just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality. Don't be afraid to think big, and a clear vision will give you direction. Focus, Focus, Focus- When you focus on what you want everything else falls into the right place.
The man behind Storeking
Founder & CEO
A man possessing seasoned experience of a decade, Sridhar holds Masters in Internet Technologies and E-Commerce from the University of Greenwich. He has been Technology driven Entrepreneur for last 12 years, very ambitious and disruptive thinker whose philosophy in life is "Logic will get you from A to B, but Imagination will take you everywhere."
Founded with a vision of digitizing the rural customers with 200 stores, Mangrove seed invested
Storeking launched in Tamilnadu, kerala, Andhra Pradesh with 800+ stores covering 500 towns and villages with 800+ stores
Launch of StoreKing APP, 2000+ kiosk Installed with 500 brands on platform. Mangrove followed up investment of $4Mn.
Partnered with PAYTM, Shopclues, Delight Foods, Baby Oye and many other online partners with 8000+ stores covering GOA , Maharashtra & Telangana.
Partnered with Amazon , Launched in Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh increasing the store numbers to 18000+. Axiata investment of $16Mn in 2016.