After witnessing a sharp fall in business during the lockdown, Indian startups are exploring different ways to ramp up their use cases whether it’s e-commerce, grocery, edtech, fitness, weddings or payments.
One such startup is digital ledger or bookkeeping startup OkCredit which has quietly launched a ‘nearby store’ feature for its users, signalling its foray into the business-to-consumer segment.
The feature, reviewed by Entrackr, allows users to order grocery, medicine and other items from stores in their vicinity via WhatsApp. One can also find information such as distance of the store, working hours, list of goods available in stock, among others.
Currently the product is in closed beta or pilot mode and may go live soon for everyone.
The new feature by OkCredit is quite similar to Google Pay’s recently-launched Nearby Stores, which was expanded to 35 cities in India last month. The digital payments platform has also integrated hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo as a storefront to provide quick services such as grocery and medicine delivery, bike pool, and pickup-and-drop facilities.
Ordering of grocery and other essential items from hyperlocal stores via WhatsApp has now become common practice for several companies. Reliance-owned JioMart is also centred around WhatsApp to create an ecosystem for grocery and FMCG goods. It recently expanded this offering to around 200 cities.
Connecting buyers and sellers and creating an ecosystem around them is not easy and requires significant capital, focus and experience. Given that OkCredit has been focusing only on B2B products, building something for consumers may need a different thought process altogether.
While enabling businesses to get orders and interact with consumers is the first step, acquiring customers and keeping their stickiness high would involve a significant effort. OkCredit’s foray into online grocery also means it will have to compete with giants like Google Pay and JioMart to acquire both — merchants and consumers.
Backed by Tiger Global and Lightspeed, OkCredit simplifies credit account management for shop owners and their customers in tier II, tier III and beyond cities. The company competes with Khatabook, Vyapar, BharatPe, PhonePe, Paytm, Instamojo among others, which have also enabled a digital ledger feature on their platforms.