How is Amazon Transforming the Face of Offline Kirana Stores in Pandemic?

To accelerate its growth in the Indian retail tech sector, e-commerce giant Amazon has acquired the Bengaluru-based Prepule for Rs 107.7 crore.


Perpule is a customisable e-commerce platform with which retailers use to connect to internet-based retail solutions. The start-up’s acquisition will allow Amazon to offer new products to small retailers across the country using its existing network and newly acquired tech solutions. 

Founded in September 2016 by Saketh BSV, Yogesh Ghaturle and Abhinav Pathak, Perpule is a customised e-commerce platform that allows small retailers to enter the digital space. It used an indigenous cloud-based point of sale technology named Ultra POS, which small businesses can manage inventory, distribute orders and organise receipts from suppliers, among other everyday retail functionalities.

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Amazon's project for Indian retailers helps clients transform their local businesses into digital businesses by providing more functionality, faster delivery and other value-added services.

What is Amazon eyeing with Perpule’s acquisition?

Amazon launched its “Local Store” programme for India more than a year ago in January 2020. And this deal with Perpule will help it enter the offline retailers’ market to help them open up digital setups. The e-commerce giant will expand its local store programme from 50,000 offline retailers in March 2021 to 100,000 by the end of the year using the newly acquired technology.

Cloud-based sales systems are often used on mobile devices and are sometimes referred to as the point of sale (software) rather than just an element of SaaS. They are also called EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale), which reflects that the program works on electronic devices. Perpule’s cloud-based Ultra POS helps small businesses, retailers, and grocery stores automate retail functions like digital management and pricing. With this acquisition, Amazon could offer a new range of technological products to its partners as the retail sector’s digitalisation is underway.

Amazon’s increasing interest in Indian retail through Kirana and Local Stores

In January 2020, president, CEO and chairman of the board Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would invest $1.1 billion in India to support small and medium companies (SMBs, SMEs and MSMEs) going digital all the way. Bezos said the company would allow retailers to export more than products worth $10 billion across the world by 2025. The e-commerce giant relies heavily on the ‘Amazon Local Store’ programme to help strengthen local retailers and sales in line with digital solutions.

Amazon India- Jeff Bezos- Local Stores- KIrana Stores- India

Over the past six months, Amazon has launched a pilot programme with more than 5,000 local retailers and stores to make the benefits of online sales more accessible. The areas covered in the test programme include Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Surat, Indore Lucknow, Saharanpur, Faridabad, Kota, Varanasi, among others.

The layout includes sellers in various categories such as kitchen, home, furniture, clothing, automotive, beauty, electronics, sports, groceries, lawns and gardens, books, toys and jewellery. The project helps clients transform their local businesses into digital businesses by providing more functionality, faster delivery and other value-added services. Amazon has pledged Rs 10 crore to resellers and retailers who want to join the program to expand the reach of the test quickly.

The Way Ahead has a Significant Ground for SMBs, MSMEs and Small Retail Businesses

With the recent acquisition of Perpule, Amazon now has the opportunity to expand its presence to the vast network of Indian Kiranas. Following the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, all industries in the country have started to restructure and reorganise their activities, and the retail sector wants to accelerate its growth even more.

As the pandemic looms large, e-commerce companies are advised to deliver only essential items to consumers by de facto notices. Amazon has developed a personalised delivery app for consumers and local stores to provide accurate delivery updates. The lakhs of grocery and Kirana stores in thousands of cities and towns across India are the new target of Amazon. The giant is betting its billions on saving and growing the Indian retail and churning more enormous profits for itself.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alum of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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