“I considered digital companies as competition, learning to collaborate now”

Kiran Communication, a small internet cafe, enjoyed their glory years before 4G internet and a wifi connection became commonplace in the small city of Jamshedpur. The owner of the shop, Kiran Kumar and his wife Rewati manage the shop.

“I love gaming and hence I started this internet cafe & gaming parlor in 2010. It took some time to establish the business but I started making good money once it took off.”

Technology disrupting business

Kiran Kumar provided services like mobile phone recharge, bill payment and internet gaming at his shop. First few years were great for the business and the small shop was enough to sustain their family. As time passed, the demand for these services started declining as people started using smartphones and mobile wallets. Kiran says that initially he didn’t make much of these apps as he thought that small town people will be late adopters. However, instant services and easy-to-use interface made them successful in a short period of time.

“It was a nightmare for someone like me. With mobile internet and the likes of Paytm taking over, my business would become obsolete.”

Lower margins and reduced order volumes made Kiran rethink his business strategy. He sold off some inventory to make room for services like photocopy, printing and lamination of documents at his shop. He also learnt how to repair smartphones and proudly states that it contributes 40–50% of what he makes today.

From Competitor to Collaborator

The lockdown was harsh for Kiran and since then he has also started delivering packages for e-commerce companies to make some money on the side. His wife supports him by manning the shop during the 4–5 hours that he is out delivering packages.

“Working part-time apart from running my business has really helped us survive the pandemic. This has been a challenging year for everyone.”

For Kiran and Rewati, things are looking much better from what they were during the lockdown. They hope this recovery continues and their business becomes stable again.

Merchants of India is an Insights Series from IDfy to help India discover its merchants.

IDfy helps e-commerce, payments, wallets, and consumer goods companies onboard merchants from anywhere, anytime, with any document. For more information, please write to shivani@idfy.co

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