Deva Rao is a Kirana store owner in Jamshedpur. Deva Store has stood in this place in the residential area of Agrico for two decades.
Deva has been running this store since he was 17. He is proud of the relationship, trust and reputation he has built with his customers.
“Maintaining a good relationship with your customers and suppliers is the key. My business thrives on the trust they put in me.”
Deva’s business runs on credit
Deva has 4 key suppliers he depends on for his goods. They usually extend him a 30-day credit.
He has a bunch of loyal customers who buy their monthly groceries from him. He collects payments from them at the end of each month.
Hence, one can say that his business runs on credit.
Pandemic hit Deva hard
When the pandemic hit, his suppliers panicked. They started demanding cash from him up-front.
However, given his long relationship with his customers, he could not demand the same from them. He had to keep extending them credit, especially in these tough times.
“These are people who have been my source of income for years. I can’t just ask them to start paying in cash. Customer is king and their convenience matters.”
Deva turned to a private lender to manage his working capital.
Familiarity breeds Trust
Even though Deva accepts digital payments, he did not consider them for the loan. He seems to hold a certain skepticism about the ‘faceless large corporation’. In his hour of need, Deva trusted the familiar private lender even at a higher interest rate.
“I do business with people I meet and trust. If I borrow from a payments company and something goes wrong I will have to keep going to their office. It’s too complicated.”
He does, however, have no problem accepting money through digital payments as he can see it hitting his bank account directly and not a virtual wallet.
Resistance to change
He believes e-commerce is not for people like him as the uptake is still pretty slow in tier III cities like Jamshedpur.
Despite not knowing about the onboarding process with e-commerce companies, Deva already assumes that it must be complicated. That’s why he hasn’t considered getting on any of the platforms.
“If the process is easy and it makes me extra money, yes I will get on them.”
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