Tuesday, January 21, 2020


“Technology addresses inefficiencies in logistics,” say Jumbotail founders
Tuesday, 03 September, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Jumbotail, a b2b (business-to-business) e-commerce marketplace for food and grocery items, offering retail as a service (RaaS) to brands and kirana store owners to address massive inefficiencies in distribution, stocking and dynamic pricing.

Since the food and grocery as a segment comes with a variety of challenges in quality, pricing, procurement among others, the Bengaluru-based company, founded by  Karthik V and Ashish Jhina, has built a channel between farm producer organisations (FPOs) and brands with end retail outlets for a seamless supply chain model.

As a tech-driven company with AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) tools, and a team of 120 professionals, it is operating a 24x7x365 supply chain.

“The kirana stores have massively adopted Jumbotail, and online wholesale platforms. Their behaviours have been changed to value convenience and trust by online procurement of their supplies instead of having to visit Mandis, and rely on their distributors,” they told Nandita Vijay in an e-mail interaction.

How does Jumbotail address the challenges of kirana stores?
Over 95 per cent of India’s food and grocery consumption flows through nearly 10 million kirana stores. Therefore, any large scale solution in this sector must start by putting kirana stores at the very centre.

From Day 1, we have been laser-focussed on solving the problems of the kirana store owner - lack of price and quality transparency, a constant daily struggle to maintain stock availability that results in having to deal with over a hundred different suppliers across staples and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), each with their own inefficiencies and constraints, all in the face of space and capital constraints and ever changing customer preferences.
One of the biggest challenges that small kirana stores face is stock-outs while serving critical catchment of about 150-200 families who depend on the kiranas for grocery purchases.

Sixty per cent of the kirana store’s basket is staples, and the remaining 40 per cent is FMCG. For staples, the kirana store owner actually has to go to the mandi, which (now because of big cities) is 2.5-3 hours away.

They give the reins of the store to an employee or their wife, spend those 2-3 hours hopping from merchant-to-merchant, buying one commodity after other and then arrange for own transportation. This system is not scalable.

Jumbotail’s marketplace platform provides kirana stores a convenient, trustworthy way of procuring their supplies. It is a one-stop shop for all their staples and FMCG needs. Kirana stores can order 24x7 from the comfort of their stores/house, and get a 24-/48-hour storefront delivery, excellent customer service and great product quality.

Jumbotail brings tech driven innovation to address massive inefficiencies in product discovery, logistics and distribution, stock outs, and pricing.

Our marketplace platforms eliminate information asymmetry, aggregate previously unavailable demand and supply data, and significantly improve economic outcomes for manufacturers, brands and kirana owners.

Through better use of insights based on data generated on our platform, we are able to better understand and respond to customer requirements and drive higher sales for brands.

Through our marketplace and our in-house supply chain powered by our technology, on-ground execution capabilities and deep customer intimacy powered by our data and insights, we help kirana stores to avoid the daily challenges of procurement, transportation, credit and stock-outs.

Jumbotail believes that a full-stack platform with tightly controlled logistics is critical to ensuring the high service levels that customers expect and deserve.

We have built a cutting edge supply chain technology platform to solve food and grocery supply chain problems within India’s highly distributed, chaotic and unstructured environment.

It provides the most responsive and reliable food and grocery supply chain available to our customers, who value our supply chain capabilities as a key differentiator.
Kirana stores who use Jumbotail are able to serve their customers better by maintaining a more relevant selection of products with fewer stock-outs while deploying less capital.

They are able to spend more time with their families and explore new business opportunities with confidence because they are now plugged into a modern technology-based platform like Jumbotail.

What is the name of software solution provided for the kiranas?
It is called the Jumbotail app. All the services we provide to kirana stores are available within the Jumbotail app, which is downloadable from Android play store.
What has been the response from the kiranas?
It is crucial in any business, and more so in the grocery business, to build trust. A small retailer cares about the quality of his supplies and reliability of deliveries.

We provide both, along with the ease of ordering, availability of credit, technologies to help modernise businesses like billing and PoS (point-of-sale) integration, product tracking and merchandising.

Forty per cent of our customers come via referrals, because our customers are very happy with our service, and they recommend customers to use Jumbotail to their friends and network. We have a customer delight team that quickly solves customers’ problems. This is a first in the industry.

We have built a culture of customer fanaticism within the employees. Providing superior customer service and building customer intimacy by spending time with the customers has worked very well for us.

We have great support from women shop owners, who have found Jumbotail’s service liberating. They can now run their business smoothly without enduring hardships in visiting Mandis and dealing with transportation.

Typically how much investment is required to install your solution for a kirana store?  Has Jumbotail received funding to start its operations? How receptive are VCs (venture capitalists) and PEs (private equity firms) to you business model?
Retail store owners can install the app for free from Android app store. We do not charge anything to the customer for installation or ordering.

We have raised a total of $23 million so far over three funding rounds - Seed, Series A, and Series B.

VC/PEs are highly receptive about our model. We are leading the next big transformation in India - B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce for kirana stores.

How do you view the landscape of RaaS in India?
The RaaS (retail as a service) landscape is ripe for innovation and disruption in India. The kiranas have all along played a vital role in the food and grocery value chain.

With 95 per cent of market flowing through them, kirana stores are the economic engine of our country. They have survived the onslaught of modern retail and that too without much help.

Over the last couple of years, Jumbotail has aggregated the kirana stores in Bangalore under a single platform and plugged them into a modern, cutting-edge supply chain custom-built from scratch for wholesale e-commerce.

We are now seeing a growing number of kirana stores who are looking to upgrade their stores with tech, backed by a reliable supply chain.

We also see new entrepreneurs who seek our help to setup convenience stores in a more modern, tech-enabled way powered by a Jumbotail supply chain.
Jumbotail is innovating a new format of organised neighbourhood convenience store called the modern convenience retail (MCR) channel.

The Jumbotail Retail-as-a-Service platform with full-stack tech and supply chain helps entrepreneurs open modern convenience retail (MCR) stores or convert their existing stores to MCR stores.

Jumbotail provides a retail operating system with PoS integrated with its marketplace and supply chain.

We also improve their store revenues by AI driven merchandising, higher in-stock driven by auto replenishment, and serve omni-channel orders.

We are seeing very good traction and we are very confident that this trend is likely to stay and only grow stronger.

Jumbotail is well positioned to capitalise on this new opportunity to transform kiranas to MCR stores.

What are the visible trends?
The kirana stores have massively adopted Jumbotail, and online wholesale platforms. Their behaviours have been changed to value convenience and trust by online procurement of their supplies instead of having to visit Mandis, and rely on their distributors.

Kiranas have begun to value Jumbotail’s transparency of prices and policies, and offers/schemes running in the market.

They are now expecting similar levels of trust, and customer service from other channels. These are very visible trends from the Kirana side.
From brands/producers, they are warming up to the new world of high quality, real time data availability that helps them deeply understanding about their customers, and prevent revenue leakage by highly targeted merchandising.

New brands have also begun to see the potential of a platform like Jumbotail, and this helps them build brands faster with very low cost, without needing to set up a physical distribution network.
Our lending partners are now able to access kirana stores that they could not have accessed due to high fragmentation. Lending to these kirana stores is now a possibility.

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