The Covid pandemic led to irreparable disruption and dislocation for many businesses. While the damage and loss it inflicted will take some years to recover and recoup, it also forced industries, including retail, to reinvent, reboot, and reimagine the way of doing things.
For one, it brought about a swift acceleration in the adoption of technology. Grocery retailers, in particular, upgraded themselves to become omni-channel and serve customers remotely. In this issue, we bring you a case study (Pages 33 – 35) on how technology integration and interoperability can help retailers to quickly adapt to the changing needs of the market – from digital payments, connected banking, compliance to government regulations for GST, e-invoicing, e-way bills, among others.
The other notable change as the fallout of the pandemic has been the gold rush witnessed in grocery retailing. Even those with a casual eye could not have failed to notice how there has been a scramble by a lot of digital, e-commerce and quick commerce players who are trying to grab a share of the grocery retail market.
We bring you the story of one newbie retailer — Star Localmart — which debuted in October 2020 but has since gone out to launch 76 new stores in the smaller towns of Maharashtra and Karnataka (Pages 24 – 32). The retailer believes in playing by the “sustainable business” playbook and serving the needs and demands of the new-age consumers in these markets. With the increasing levels of education and awareness among today’s consumers even in mofussil towns and backwaters, there is a visible demand for change, and that perhaps also explains why many new players like Star Localmart are entering the fray.