How D2C brands can crack the general trade market and grow by 10x

Shamolie Oberoi   /    Content Marketing Specialist    /    2021-06-11


D2C brands can grow by 10x by cracking the $534 billion Indian General Trade market. The general trade market comprises more than 12-15 million retail stores across India and accounts for 93% of the total retail market. D2C brands can capture this market better by partnering with digital platforms that enable embedded credit. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how D2C brands can crack the general trade channel.

What is general trade and why is it important?

General trade covers 93% of the retail market

Modern trade accounts only for the rest 7%. While the market capitalization of modern trade is increasing every year, the annual growth of general trade in one year can surpass the entire modern trade market in terms of value. This makes the general trade market an important frontier for D2C brands to push their products.

General Trade is here to stay

Modern trade may be gaining in terms of overall market share, but retail stores are going nowhere. During the pandemic, local kirana retailers displayed a remarkable resilience that enabled them to fulfill the critical role they play in our economy. Shop owners changed tactics quickly with an evolving situation, switching distributors and brands to make up for shortfalls in regular stocks. They stayed in business and supplied essentials even when E-Commerce fell short or was restricted in its ability to service customers across the country.

Kirana stores are more convenient

Customers prefer the convenience of having a store within walking distance, where they can make purchases with no planning. Most of the time, Kirana stores are able to deliver without charging delivery fees. This is a strong moat for the general trade market. While retail stores may not be able to compete with the discounts offered by supermarkets, nothing beats the knowledge kirana stores have of the communities they serve.

Brands can connect with them digitally

Over a million kirana stores went digital in 2020 itself. Their payments, orders, and inventories are all managed online. This transformation is going to put them in competition with modern trade. 

How can D2C brands crack the general trade market?

Connect with retailers by partnering with digital platforms

D2C brands can now connect with these stores easily via digital platforms such as ShopKirana or Plantix. They can also leverage the data being generated to create better and more targeted sales and marketing strategies.

Offer their product catalogue to retailers

The first step is to connect with general trade stores. Partnering with MSME aggregator platforms gives brands visibility into multiple retail stores, and enables them to showcase their products catalogue to these retailers. Such platforms offer the DSaaS (Distribution as a service) model, through which retailers can access brand catalogs digitally and place orders.

Leverage the new-age supply chain created by such digital platforms to deliver to retailers

Bisleri recently launched their D2C offering, Bisleri@Doorstep, via an app and website, to sell one-time packs of water. However, it was all done through a network of 3,000 distributors. Each time Bisleri received an order from a particular PIN code, it passed it on to the nearest distributor who was meant to fulfill the order and even handle complaints.

This illustrates how crucial it is to have supply chain support. MSME aggregator platforms such as ShopKirana also offer supply chain services, fully managing pickup and delivery between stakeholders.

Push products strategically by leveraging platform data

Brands unlock an entirely new stream of business insights that map the best-selling products, best-performing geographical areas and even margin-based intelligence across the entire portfolio. They can arm their marketing and sales strategy with consumer insights to achieve a better top and bottom line.

Push new products by leveraging Embedded Finance on the digital platform

Retailers tend to be risk-averse and often only purchase new products (or products from new brands) on credit. Most D2C brands aren’t in a position to offer credit. Their lack of distribution infrastructure prevents them from relying on informal credit. Even if they do have relevant data, D2C brands don’t know how to assess a retailers’ credit worthiness. This creates an  artificial barrier for them, limiting their sales potential to only the retailers that can afford to pay in cash.

Expanding credit is the only solution and platforms such as ShopKirana offer embedded credit i.e.customized credit products to retailers on their platform. Retailers can purchase inventory on credit and choose their preferred repayment options.

By leveraging the embedded credit facility on these platforms, D2C brands can ensure that retailers have access to the right credit facility that can enable them to carry the said brand’s offerings

In this fireside chat between FinBox Founder and CEO Rajat Deshpande and Deepak Dhanotiya, Founder of ShopKirana, the two discuss the ways in which Embedded Finance impacts the latter’s business metrics. ShopKirana is a B2B E-Commerce platform that connects over 5,00,000 retailers across India with brands. Full transcript available here.  

Get an edge over your competitors by providing better credit terms

Provide better credit terms

Embedded finance enables better terms of credit such as larger loan amounts and flexible repayment periods.This makes retailers all the more likely to purchase from such platform brands over large FMCG brands that  are handicapped by their distributor’s ability to give credit.

How does embedded finance enable this?

Embedded finance providers work with financial institutions and digital platforms to:

Tailor credit products

Digital platforms understand their demographic deeply. They have data on aspects such as past transactions and order amounts. Embedded Finance technology leverages this data to provide sachetized (i.e. small-sized, short-term) loans with tailored terms perfectly suited for the heterogeneous retail sector.

Manage the loan lifecycle

Embedded Finance Infrastructure companies manage the entire loan lifecycle, from underwriting to collection. Brands therefore need not build this capability in-house.

Approve more customers

Embedded finance facilitates access to multiple lenders and leverages alternative data for underwriting. This results in higher approvals as compared to formal lenders and distributors.


D2C brands must leverage the reach and potential of India’s kirana store network - and embedded finance provides the digital highway to get there. Synergetic partnerships between embedded lenders, brands, and retailers can ensure higher order volumes, improved margins on the supply side and expansion of the customer-base. D2C brands have the opportunity of a lifetime to expand their footprint on the back of Embedded Finance. Indeed, the consumption story has just begun.

If you are a digital platform or a D2C brand looking to learn more about how FinBox can enable rapid expansion for you, please reach out to us here.