Demonetisation: How StoreKing is Proving Itself The Amazon of Rural India

  • ManjunathGoankar, a farmer from Karnataka was left with just Rs 200 in cash because rest of his savings in Rs 500 and Rs1000 denomination was rendered useless due to the demonetisation of currency. A neighbourhood kirana store came to his rescue and gave him Rs 7000, helped him surf Amazon India and buy a smartphone.
  • This luxury is a defining trait of retailers affiliated to an e-commerce start-up named StoreKing, focused only on India’s rural markets.
  • Its business model is based on the belief that ecommerce in rural India requires assistance. So StoreKing provides local retailers with internet powered tablets, with which they help customers, browse the collection of goods on online marketplaces.
  • Retailers affiliated to StoreKing also pay bills, recharge mobiles and deposit insurance premium online for customers. It oversees over 55,000 transactions in a day and its gross merchandise value has reached $100 million a year.
  • The start-up happens to be one of the unintended beneficiaries of the shortage of cash triggered by demonetisation. Cash strapped villagers are buying goods through StoreKing retailers, promising to pay them, once they have the new currency.
  • Poor smartphone penetration and erratic mobile internet in rural India add to the problems. Nonetheless, investors believe that StoreKing’s business model is well suited to beat the complexities of rural India.