The Secret Recipe to Bake a Successful Hyperlocal Startup

This is a guest post by Neeraj Jain, CEO of Zopper

The startup ecosystem in India has witnessed major growth and development in these past few years. Being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India has laid forth a high-yielding and productive foundation for budding entrepreneurs to realise diverse business goals and maximise their reach to the masses. It is this, in confluence with the latest technological advances and constant innovation, which has hyperlocal startups steadily emerging as serious market players in the e-commerce sector. But what does it take to create a successful hyperlocal venture?

HyperlocalKYCC: Know Your Customer and Challenges

People today have hectic lifestyles, led by demanding professional commitments and their constant yearning for success. This leaves them with little to no time for indulging in leisure activities like spending time with loved ones, relaxing, or shopping. This is where the e-commerce industry boomed, encouraging consumers to shop online at convenience without even being physically present. But despite its benefits, the e-commerce sector faced several challenges with Indian consumers – delayed consumer order fulfilment was a big issue, as was a lack of trust for online shopping portals.

The hyperlocal industry addressed these concerns by marrying the benefits of the online medium with the trust, swiftness and convenience of the offline approach. Not only were the hyperlocal players boosting neighbourhood businesses by connecting service providers with a larger base of end-consumers, but were also more efficient and often offered doorstep delivery of services.

It was an understanding of the challenges faced by the online industry that led to the rise of hyperlocal segment. Therefore, the priority of any new players looking to venture into the hyperlocal space must be to understand the market dynamics on a macro as well as at a micro level. What does the consumer want? What are the challenges? How can these be addressed? What is the competition like and how is your service differentiated from the others? – These are the questions hyperlocal service providers need to assess before kick-starting their operations.

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Identifying novel market gaps and adopting a fresh approach

India is a developing country, with a high opportunity-to-risk ratio. However, budding hyperlocal entrepreneurs must look to identify newer market gaps to establish their brand proposition instead of just being a part of the crowd for two reasons – lower competition and greater traction with businesses and consumers.

Take, for example, the Indian retail industry. According to some reports, around 95% of the $600 billion Indian retail industry does not have digital presence. Despite widespread acceptance of e-commerce in the Indian market, the trust factor drives many consumers to opt for the familiarity and comfort of local shops over online shopping.

As such, the segment is ripe for disruption, and any hyperlocal player that ventures into the retail space is bound to reap rich dividends later on if the strategy is optimally implemented. Many retail businesses, irrespective of their operational size, are also considering tie-ups with hyperlocal startups to gain a virtual presence to augment their business model and in the process reach out to a wider audience.

Planning, implementation and the benefits of a strong team

Take your time on the drawing board to create the perfect product, and take even more time to ensure that it is seamlessly fulfilling the requirement for which it is designed. Hyperlocal start-ups have to stay up to date with latest pricing and inventories of local vendors on a real-time basis, and have to effectively communicate any changes to the consumer without delay to ensure the highest standards of service. Delivering effective solutions and seamless usage experience to businesses and consumers will help boost your service adoption, and can only be done if the product and technologies used are built on a robust and efficient platform.

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Startups of a hyperlocal nature also require competent and skilled professionals who can help expand the business further. Be it the rider making the delivery or the tech guy designing your product or your marketing person, you have to ensure that your team is made up of capable individuals proficient in not just their own areas of expertise, but are also capable of making positive contributions in other aspects of your business.

The chain that must not break – the Supply Chain

Another important factor that requires serious consideration in hyperlocal ventures is the delivery system – the final step of the entire supply process and the consumer-facing aspect of your business. As such, well-trained local delivery personnel are extremely necessary for hyperlocal startups to survive in the market, since they, by ensuring quality service, increase the customer satisfaction quotient as well as the value of the brand they are associated with.

Despite the challenges and risks, hyperlocal startups are being touted by industry experts as the next big players in the market. The flexibility and lower operational costs are also grabbing the attention of potential investors, who are willing to affiliate with such ambitious ventures and assist in furthering their growth manifold. Hyperlocal startups are also emerging as an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to embark on a committed and potentially successful adventure, providing an improved and upgraded environment for vendors and consumers alike!

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