This post is part of our new Future of Retail series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Prem Kumar, CEO and Founder at Snapbizz.
1. What’s the history of Snapbizz? Where and how did you begin?
PK: Snapbizz journey started off with a pilot by Qualcomm to impact and streamline the fragmented retail ecosystems leveraging wireless technology. In India, 90% of consumer off-take comes from traditional trade which is spread across 9 million retail outlets. Many other countries in the emerging markets have similar ecosystems where a large number of SMB retailers account for more than 50% of consumer offtake. So, the idea was to leverage the inherent strength of these traditional retailers in the hyperlocal environment. In such fragmented ecosystems, various stakeholders of the ecosystem including FMCG brands, cash and carry, research agencies and Fintech players lack the last mile connect with stores and consumers at the point of sale.
This is how the business model of Snapbizz was conceptualized. With Snapbizz as a solution, we aim to transform the traditional store into smart virtual supermarkets with virtual shelf space to merchandise and optimise their store operations and shopper experience to improve the profitability of these retailers. Snapbizz not just makes them competition ready but in fact gives them a competitive edge vs. e-commerce and modern trade by leveraging their core strengths.
For rest of the ecosystem stakeholders, it provides the much needed last mile connect with stores and consumers to deliver a new level of highly targeted consumer and store engagement, never before data, and supply chain optimisation.
The journey started off at a gross root level. We carried out extensive research and tested the waters before launching our solutions to a broader audience. Our product has been designed bottom-up. We enrolled retailers to help us develop the product. We worked very closely with some brands in the product design. It has been the most exciting part of our journey. Our product is not only a disruptive solution but also a business model innovation in the way the consumer goods ecosystem works in fragmented markets.
Snapbizz is the only solution which focuses exclusively on the consumer goods vertical with an emphasis to add value to the business process and business owner while most ERP solutions are built to satisfy accountants.
2. What specific problem does Snapbizz solve? How do you solve it?
PK: Pain point of retailer:
Kirana’s feel a threat from modern trade and e-commerce, additional pain points include lack of real estate to merchandise, lesser brand promotions and more importantly simpler means to manage business requirements, especially after the Goods and Service Tax (GST) announcement. Interestingly, Kirana's feel the need of image upliftment to keep up with the changing consumer and business environment. Moreover, the store's ownership and management is now passed on to the next generation who is more tech-savvy and keen on digital transformation.
Pain point of the brand:
From FMCG brand perspective, the key challenges include product visibility, contextual consumer engagement across large number of stores and lack of consumer/store data and insights coupled with the ability to drive outcomes out of the same, and expensive last-mile-order-management
Our end-to-end cloud-connected technology solution comprises a tablet, barcode scanner, printer and an intelligent external consumer-facing LED display for consumer engagement, transforming a traditional kirana into a virtual supermarket. This eases their day-to-today operations like billing, credit management, inventory management, multiple-billing, a display screen for merchandising, push offers and a customized store app for home delivery to build consumer engagement.
Brands on the other hand now have access to rich consumer data, product visibility, a real-time update on product, promotion and competition performance, and the much needed last mile connect with retailers and consumers. Our solutions throw light on 90% on the retail business.
Today, Snapbizz solutions have empowered more than 3000 traditional retailers across 15 key cities in the country. We have a proven track record of delivering value to more than 30 FMCG brands till date. Our strategic alliance with Nielsen would help us create next-gen solutions using high-quality data gathered from Snapbizz cloud-connected solution.
3. What’s the future of retail?
Prediction #1: Omni-channel strategies will drive consumption on growth for offline and online retail.
Prediction #2: Surge in e-commerce leveraging the Hyperlocal retail assets for inventory and logistics.
Prediction #3: Dynamic merchandise strategy to keep in line with hyperlocal customers and redefine product lifecycles.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you see in retail?
Trend #1: Digital transformation will drive Shopper experience and store management.
IoT will become a norm to streamline supply chain, assortment management and building relationships with each stakeholder.
Trend #2: AI will lead the way in customer service and marketing.
Trend #3: Power of data and analytics to manage the business and contextually engage consumers at point of sale.
The focus will be on establishing an emotional connection with consumers to build loyalty and trust.
5. Why is the retail industry ripe for disruption?
PK: Indian retail industry accounts for 10 % of country’s GDP and operates most haphazardly. With the retail market expected to touch a 100 billion by 2020, the digital transformation only seems like a natural progression to keep up with the pace at which modern trade and e-commerce are increasing their footprint.
Additionally, with Goods and Service Tax now a reality in India, kirana stores will have to transform themselves into virtual supermarkets to improve their financial viability and comply with tax laws.
- Key drivers to disruption in the most fragmented retail ecosystem
- Consumer engagement at POS (visual and contextual)
- The last mile connect to store and consumer for ecosystem players
- Digital inclusion offers data and targeted consumer engagement opportunity
- Supply chain redefinition
About Prem Kumar
Prem Kumar is the CEO and Founder at Snapbizz. Based in Bangalore, he focuses on organization-building, enabling the enterprise to scale greater heights through technology/ business model innovations & brand building. He has over 30 years of experience in retail, distribution and brand marketing both in telecom and FMCG segments across geographies.
Prem’s prior roles include being the CEO of Fly Mobile and President of Benckiser. He has built brands from scratch and was the founder of CISLink.com – a B2B platform connecting all stakeholders of the FMCG ecosystem in Russia that achieved market leadership and had a successful exit recently.