Any business, be it small or big, has its share of challenges and hardships. But when we talk about a small Kirana store, their daily struggles to thrive in the competition are endless.
Do you know that there are over 6.65 million Kirana stores in India? Plus, its general trade culture forms around 90% of the total country’s trade. That’s not all; Kirana stores control a whopping 98% of the total grocery market in India.
The numbers are impressive, but the real picture is quite different, rather alarming. Despite being one of the prominent grocery suppliers in the country, Kirana store owners face a lot of challenges in every walk of life. One of the prominent issues is how to overcome the loss in business.
So, let us today understand the daily issues a Kirana store owner faces in running his business. We will conclude the blog with some tips for small business owners and frequently asked questions.
Daily Struggles of a Small Kirana Store Owner
1. Financial Challenges
- Finance is the backbone of a small scale business like a Kirana store. These stores usually work on extremely tight budgets.
- Any small business owner generally comes from the lower-middle and middle-class group. Therefore, they hardly have any assets in their names.
- This situation acts as a big hindrance in getting business loans as they do not have anything to pledge as collateral.
- Even if the Kirana store owners manage to arrange for collateral, they are discouraged by the higher interest rates on business loans.
- Kirana store owners who think that the government is turning a blind eye to this issue are incorrect.
- The government of India has introduced several financial schemes for the upliftment of small-scale business industries. But the lack of education and knowledge is preventing the Kirana owners from taking advantage of this facility.
2. Lack of Trained Staff
- Do you know what the reason for the rising popularity of high-end departmental stores is? According to recent studies, consumers prefer to shop for groceries from stores that have trained staff, a staff that can help them locate and sort items according to the list, a staff that is proactive and aware of the latest brands and varieties in the market.
- As far as Kirana stores are concerned, they have to manage everything on their own. Unlike departmental stores, they do not get any franchises and dealerships. This puts a brake on their profits, keeping them to minimal.
- Moreover, the majority of Kirana stores are located in rural and backward areas. The people residing in these areas are less educated and limit themselves to traditional occupations. Therefore, having a qualified and trained staff is impossible for Kirana stores.
- Even if the store owners hire sales professionals, they can hardly offer them any job security. They cannot give them any perks apart from the basic salary. The absence of employee facilities like PF, ESIC, and gratuity also demotivate the people to join Kirana stores.
3. No Attraction for Customers
- Are you a Kirana store owner? If yes, what efforts do you make to attract customers? You see, this is the biggest challenge that Kirana store owners face every day. They have no idea how to attract more customers and expand their consumer base.
- They are happy with their old customers and cease to think big. This approach is acting as a roadblock in the development of this sector.
- Unlike departmental stores, Kirana store owners do not roll out attractive offers for the clients. Moreover, poor consumer reception, absence of refund or replacement policies, and fresh offers are adding to the woes of this sector.
- Kirana store owners hardly bother about impressing the consumers with their latest product range, complimentary gifts, and season-end sale.
- Modern-day consumers have a lot of brands to choose from and are volatile in their buying behaviour. They look forward to the brands that make efforts to entice them and swiftly switch to them. And Kirana stores lag in this race. The result is low sales, conversion rate, and profit margin.
4. Not Much Scope for Expansion
- It is one of the biggest issues that Kirana store owners face in their daily life? You see, the majority of the Kirana shops are built in a very small space. This space crunch is snatching away every possibility of business expansion.
- They cannot increase their window display, diversify their product range, or create a sitting area for the customers.
- That’s not all; many FMCG brands roll out lucrative franchise offers to Kirana shops. But the owners who do not have enough physical space fail to avail the benefits of these offers.
- Customers also refrain from purchasing goods from such compact stores. All these hindrances have further narrowed down the possibilities of business expansion.
5. Poor Business Management
- Kirana shops are generally family-run businesses in rural areas. The shops are passed on to the new generation from the old ones.
- Billing system, accounting methods, and delivery processes remain more or less the same for years.
- The poor payment system, supply chain management, and low business acumen further narrow down the development options of these stores.
6. Marketing Challenges
- Kirana stores work on a very tight budget. Therefore, they hardly have enough funds to invest in marketing and product promotion initiatives.
- And this is costing them dearly in terms of customers and profit margins. The worst part is, many Kirana store owners are not even aware of the latest marketing trends and tools.
- Lack of technical knowledge can also be blamed for this issue. Kirana store owners are not that tech-savvy. They hardly know how the internet and social media can take their sales and profits to another level.
- This issue is pulling them back from stepping into the competition.
How to Overcome These Challenges?
Here are some simple tips for small business to overcome these problems.
1. Avail Government Schemes
The Indian government has launched several schemes to offer financial security and assistance to small business owners. You can also avail of these schemes to develop, expand, and flourish your business.
2. Train the Staff
Store owners who are unable to find trained staff should consider offering on-job training to their existing employees. It will not only motivate the employees but will also foster long-term relationships with them.
3. Attracting Customers
Kirana store owners should roll out attractive offers to attract customers. It is one of the best business tips for all Kirana owners. Contests, gift coupons, and consolation prizes are some cost-effective ways to entice grocery buyers.
4. Business Management
The modern-day Kirana store owners need to think out-of-box. They also need to learn about modern business management practices. A simple online course on business management can prove to be a wise decision here.
5. Expansion of Business
Vertical storage can help in solving the storage issue to a greater extent. All they need to do is, connect with an interior designer and understand how that can create space in their compact store. Apart from this, collaborating with bigger FMCG players is also a great idea to expand the business.
Do you wish to upgrade your marketing skills? If yes, then you should consider these tips for businesses for better scalability. You should invest some time and efforts in learning about social media and the internet. There are many free marketing tools available online that can boost your sales and conversion rate. You can also publish interesting articles and ads in local magazines and newspapers to attract maximum customers.
So, this was all about the daily problems of a small Kirana store owner and some helpful small business tips to overcome them. Whatever the situation is, Kirana store owners should constantly focus on improvising their sales strategies.
They should also refer to the internet to get some small business management tips. Apart from this, they can connect with a market expert to understand the facilities offered by the government for the upliftment of small-scale businesses in India.
Q. What are the best financial schemes offered by the government of India?
Ans. The best financial schemes offered by the government of India are:
- National small industries corporation subsidy
- MUDRA business loan
- Credit link capital subsidy scheme
Q. What should Kirana store owners do to overcome the space crunch?
Ans. The most cost-effective way to solve this issue is by going for a vertical storage system. If they have funds in hand, they can also consider constructing a new floor.
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