Meet the young guns who are empowering the unorganized retail segment with India’s first of its kind retail tech platform, Pay1
Following the rules and staying inside the lines don’t often make for businesses’ flying colours. Ideas and opportunities don’t just appear out of thin air; you have to look straight into the faces of failures, doubters and crunches while keeping your drive alive. Few luminaries have been there, dealt that. They have shown others what is possible- a belief that in order to address a problem, a solution is something which the consumer wants. And it starts with nothing but just plain conviction. And this was the belief that got metamorphosed into India’s first and only ‘Dukaandaronkanetwork’ with hard work, passion and persistence of four young Turks. Empowering unorganized retailers and translating into a differentiated value proposition, Pay1 is providing a cutting edge to the unorganized Indian retail network.
With cherishing strong penetration across Indian geography with its presence in 200+ cities and treasure to more than 2 lacsretailers and 1500 + distributors, it looks like the pioneer has been there for centuries. What has been the secret formula behind this retail-tech magnet’s endeavour?
To allay our inquiring minds, we spoke to two ChiruthaDalal, Co-founder, COO and AlakhGargiya, CEO, who are busy in empowering their people and the unorganized retail network to highlight visionary thinking and are bringing a confident change in the Indian retail landscape with Pay1.
The secret of Phenomenal Success- aiming for the Right Opportunity
Proverbial as India’s fastest growing retail-tech platform, Pay1 is empowering the unlooked segment of the retail industry by adding revenue streams on its platform, furnishing them the access to credit and applying technology to uplift their business. Engendering a unique digital network of the retailers with a vision to architecture a sustainable and prosperous economy, the platform also deploys a distribution channel to products and services companies. What an automated engine cultivates for the e-commerce retailers, Pay1 delivers the same by assisting in cross-selling, advertising and promotion of the products and services for offline retail sector via an extensive network of retailers.
Alakh sheds light on the current entrepreneurial landscape, “Despite mounting start-ups coming up, the unorganized retail sector sits droughty. It’s the field that has never been a centre of attraction for any tech entrepreneur and aggregator. The focus has always been laid on gaining attraction, funds and customers. We sailed out with a fresh approach; to address the needs of the merchants.”
Stepping into the entrepreneurial world with SMS Tadka, the founding team faced hurdles in mainstream offline distribution. This rough patch chaperoned them to focus on the bigger picture of this iceberg- it’s always worse than it seems. This fishing expedition turned out to be a good catch. The team actualized a huge untapped opportunity waiting to create a platform for offline retailers. The retail industry in India today stands highly fragmented and unorganized with 97% of its business being run by the unorganized retailers like the traditional family run stores and corner stores. Struggling with ailments like inefficient supply-chain management issues, crippled infrastructure & distribution channel, unseemly market research procedures & guidance for manufacturers and distributors, growth & prosperity stood far away from the unorganized retail community, especially the micro-entrepreneurs.
“We saw a huge untapped opportunity here- the growth of the entire ecosystem, from manufacturers to consumers and finally landing on successful employment generation. And the story of Pay1 was born in this way, nurturing it as a brand evangelist and deliver quality service(s) without any external support.” Chirutha asserts.
Alakh concludes, “We have always tried to focus on our product to become a platform for micro-entrepreneurs. Further, we are proud to be associated with leading companies to provide the access to a variety of services to the retailers and micro-entrepreneurs. There is a need to look out at the unlooked sector and empower them. A digital revolution could be sensed and the current landscape of the unorganized retail segment is getting competitive for nearby retailers. Hence, there is a requisite to transform and update the current scenario and that’s where we shoulder the responsibility.”
Empowering the team
Every year an R&R program is organized to recognize and reward the efforts of the employees who have been adorning the success of the organization with their sincere efforts and expertise. Words simple fell short to write about the work environment of an organization where employee retention rate is almost 100 per cent!
Pragati Capital- Empowering the retail ecosystem
“Our platform develops as our retailer network develops-it is a symbiotic relationship that we thrive on.”
An initiative of Pay1, Pragati Capital delivers peerless financial services to the retailers under its network. Pragati Capital not only provides loans to the retailers but also gives them opportunities to become a loan agent, sell Insurances and Mutual funds to their customers and earn profits on every sale. This step has provided immense opportunities to retailers alike by giving them a hand and encouraging them to dream big by pushing their boundaries and catering services that ensures a considerable growth in their profitability.
Adding more endeavours while increasing the earning potential of its retailers.
Pay1 has recently put in motion it’s another service, Pay1 Travel, exclusively sketched for the organization’s network to address their booking requisite-Flight tickets, Train tickets and Hotel Booking at a competitive price. Further, each booking will cater to profitable commissions for Pay1’s retailers. Currently, Travel offers Domestic flight and Hotel booking and International flight booking with IRCTC right around the corner. The firm will also add additional travel services like tour packages in near future.
Having hit several milestones in its journey towards success, Pay1 has been doing a lot of groundwork for upgrading its expertise towards all aspects of the digital payment processes. Besides, taking initiatives towards the improved retail network, retailers’ growth has always remained Pay1’s key focus area. While consistently maintaining growth rate for the past 7 years, this indigenous leader is further strengthening companies to advertise, brand themselves through offline channels and enhance their network to these corner shops and help them unfold new opportunities and an outstretched reach.
Pay1 already has an anchored footprint in the digital payments market.With Pay1 Digi the company was able to expand its operations into the tier 2 and tier 3 sectors. Digi has given opportunities to its merchants to provide basic banking facilities to their customers in the form AePS and mPOS. There are many other service and technology updates that are planned under Digi and those extensive updates are only going to strengthen the product giving merchants and customers range of options to transact digitally.The future is definitely sunny for the pioneer who has established landmarks in taking care of the loopholes through its “retail tech platform for the Non-Digital segment and powering a huge rural ecosystem for unorganized retailers.
“We envision having 8-10 more services on our platform.” Alakh wraps the conversation.
“The journey has been amazing. I always wanted to do something of my own. I have learned a lot at every turn of this journey. And it feels good to have a sound sleep at night after fullfilingall my responsibilities for the day.”
Pay1 owes much of its exceptional success to the progressive values and business ethics of Chirutha. Chirutha’s exceptional leadership skills and adeptness to manage, control and supervise all the vital ingredients of the organization has led Pay1 to cruise smoothly on the realm. Her expertise in conceptualizing, planning and execution and the ability to build highly efficient, functional and motivated team have developed her into a business veteran. At heart, she has always been a creative business leader, with an inherent ability to spot opportunities and shaping them into reality. Few of her notable products include flora2000, yo4ya, remindo and start-up product SMS-tadka.Chirutha is also an HFI Certified Usability Analyst.
Piece of advice
“Trust in your employees and your colleagues since it is the core of any professional relationship.Trust is what endorses ownership amongst our peers. It’s what I foster personally and what everyone in Pay1 abet.”
An alumnus of IIT-Bombay, Alakh has a seasoned experience of more than 10 years within the investment banking space, Alakh is known for his dexterity in building businesses and managing global clients. Harnessing his astute foresight, he has enriched the voyage of the brand with his knack in business direction, growth strategy and new product development.
He keeps close to his heart educating, developing and empowering the under-serviced workforce.Alakh is an avid reader and a frequent flyer.Books, travel and food include some of his many passions.
Words of Wisdom
“The entire start-up ecosystem in India is buzzing and a lot of capital is being injected. Despite this, many start-ups germinate and die at the initial stage. The reason is businesses – following the western trend. Hence I would advise the aspirants to look at the context of their idea from an Indian perspective because you need to deliver an Indian production/solution for the Indian problem.”