Monday, December 11, 2006

Keeperless Shops in Rural India – Still workable?

If someone told you to keep a vegetable shop open 24 by 7 next to the busy bypass roads of Delhi, without a soul to guard it, and a tray kept for collections, even having change inside for the convenience of the customers, would you be interested? :)

In all probability, you would mock at the idea itself or discard it as pure rubbish! Well, Delhi might be an extreme case, but most parts of the country would never function with a business model, that is based on unmanned shops for purchases.

Surprisingly, such a model IS functioning in India currently, in the state of Mizoram, on the Aizawl-Champhai Highway. And not only is it working, it is expanding and scaling up, too! Just found this nice piece in the Hindustan TimesKeeperless shops. Interesting read – an interesting business model in Rural India there!

Read the article to gain an insight into this business. Why and how is it possible to run this model, considering that poverty and honest means are perceived to be too difficult to co-exist in the same environment and instigate mutual discomfort?

For one, the commodities/products on sale are vegetables, poultry and eggs – something that the poor farmers produce in-house. So, chances of them wanting to go and get these purchases are almost zilch. Then, The clientele is the passers by, who are generally traders, traveling to the Indonesia-Myanmar border for trade. Thus, cash is not a problem. More so, since it is vegetables, and the intent of the shop is trust, most of the customers reinforce this trust with honest purchases (that doesn’t mean that there are NO thefts there!)

Must say, the initiative is commendable. However, it is slightly difficult to digest this as a “workable” and “replicable” business model. Unless you have vending machines, which have a control and a security mechanism, such a concept might not work on its own.

Want to try? ;)

3 comments:

Almost Unreal said...

shows that this man is an honest man....so I guess honesty pays. Had he been an unhonest one, I am sure he wont dare run this kind of business.

Anyway, I am from Mizoram and I am happy to hear about this. :)

Anonymous said...

personally i think its actually feasible...i dont know..maybe its stupid of me but i think if you actually show complete trust in people they tend to not disappoint u (well not as often as they would otherwise!). my own household is an example! if only we could induce more people to try this concept!

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