Pakistan is primarily a consumption-driven economy and has one of the fastest-growing retail markets. Coupled with one of the youngest population dynamics, and one of the most urbanized countries in the region, this has led to a huge increase in retailing, and by extension, the advent of convenience stores, supermarkets, and megastores.
In terms of production of goods and services, Pakistan’s retail and consumer market contribute approximately 18 percent to GDP every year – the single largest sector under the Services category, which in turn is about 62 percent of the economy, followed by Agriculture and Manufacturing each having 19 percent contribution.
A massive volume of customers is catered to by businesses across multiple segments. However, there is a limited focus on capturing data points of their spending pattern and interests. As a result, businesses resort to trial and error and generic promotions for increasing sales.
Customer behavior, including preferences, is continually evolving, and there is a pressing need to collect and organize a tremendous amount of scattered but immensely valuable and insightful data.
What is Big Data and why it is important for Pakistan’s Retail Sector?
The term ‘big data’ means information that is so large, fast, or complex that it is difficult or impossible to process using traditional methods.
Customers of a tuck shop, selling to 20 customers a day, will be able to manage the records of their sales with a pen and paper or a simple Excel file. Now imagine a supermarket operating in 10 cities, with 15 outlets in each city, making millions of sales every week to thousands of customers. This super market’s records of sales are big data.
Now as more layers of complications are added to this sales information, the more complicated it becomes to analyze and store this data. While the practice of accessing and storing large amounts of information for analytics has been around a long time, the concept of big data only became popular around two decades ago in the early 2000s. In today’s time, Big Data has several aspects of its own – more prominently – as analyst Doug Laney articulated – 3 Vs: Volume, Velocity, and Variety.
To put it in layman terms, data from a variety of sources (including business transactions, smart (IoT) devices, industrial equipment, videos, and social media, etc.), with quick accumulation speeds and a necessity of timely storage and reporting (such as with RFID tags, sensors, and smart meters); and in a wide variety of forms (such as numeric data, text documents, emails, videos, audios, stock data, and financial transactions, etc.) all put together make ‘Big Data’.
Pakistani Startups in the field
Retail aggregators is the processing and analysis of the big data as defined above but at a much smaller yet much wider scale.
Traditionally, bigger organizations have almost always had one form or the other technological devices available to maintain their business information. However, as mobile wallets gain momentum in Pakistan, coupled with rising regulations and requirements of reporting from tax and other financial authorities, even smaller businesses now need access to such technologies. That is where Hanker Technologies come in.
Hanker – Pakistan’s first end-to-end retail aggregator – provides an integrated solution to market players by collecting data at the point of sale terminals. It is a digital platform that provides businesses, merchants, and vendors with analytical and insightful solutions derived from Customer Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.
Hanker Technologies CEO, Omar, said, “Our USP and business model aims to bring brick and mortar businesses towards digitalization and provides an online consumer experience and connection with the brands for offline (brick and mortar) shoppers,” adding, “Simultaneously we are serving all brands’ e-commerce customers as well through our platform.”
Several startups, especially in developing economies, are now addressing this space. To a large extent, this new wave has also revolutionized the unorganized retail sector, or what may be referred to as ‘brick and mortar’ model’, into a more digitized manner of transactions, and how micro retailers source their merchandise.
Hanker collects customer buying and interest trends data through our integrated BIG data tool, build consumers data profile, apply machine learning and provide a targeted solution through their consumer-centric mobile app.
Hanker is one place to fulfill all needs of consumers, whether they want to buy offline or online, essentials to luxury, home stuff to fashion buying. It is one platform which is connecting them to all the consumer businesses through one click.
By using Hanker, the consumer will get the following benefits
- Ecommerce Market Place to connect for all their daily needs
- Electronic -Receipt against all their buying
- Rewards and value back against their buying
- Most Exclusive Discount and Offers based on customer profile
- Hanker Pay- wallet – an integrated payment solution
- Record Management for all their buying
- Latest Market Trends
How Hanker benefit Enterprises
It is offering a more systematic and scientific approach to resist, anticipating the possible impact of COVID 19 and saturation challenges on retail sales. Hanker Backend tool will help retailers to rebuild their customer retention strategy with the long term approach;
- Data Analytics for Organic sales growth and exposure to a larger customer base with cross-selling
- Operational Optimization of companies/Merchants through Customized services based on Business Intelligence for the structuring of the portfolio of Products/Merchandizing focused on customer’s needs and inclination
- Customer Insights and Statistics
- Facility to offer Customized & Exclusive targeted Discounts & Offers based on an individual customer profile. It has a Vendor Portal (for Brand Management and BI Dashboard)
- Secured and Hassle-Free digital payment solutions backed by approved Payment Gateways/E wallets
- Rewards Program (Robust program to retain customer base and to share value back with the customers)
More than 25 businesses, including across multiple segments, have signed up with Hanker within few months. These businesses have several outlets and have a physical presence in multiple cities throughout the country.
Therefore, the digital platform now has a presence in more than 250 locations across Pakistan and growing. Prominent businesses include Engine, an apparel store, and Chughtai Pharmacy, a leading pathology lab and pharmacy, among several others.
Digital Payment Solution
Hanker is a digital retail aggregator that offers a 360-degree fulfillment of all consumer and business needs via a single platform, providing huge comfort, ease and value to both consumers and vendors alike.
The interface and portal are user-friendly. Therefore, any business, irrespective of the segment, can easily adopt the platform. Segments include fashion & retail, pharmacies, restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, electronic stores, transport companies, educational institutions, and even professionals willing to provide online services.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, platforms like Hanker Technologies will facilitate digital payments. Hanker Technologies CEO told ProPakistani, “We are bringing up a new integrated payment solution (i.e., connecting directly with POS invoice generation system) with extreme convenience for the customers and will be focusing more on OTC (over the counter) payments.”
One thing that Omar feels is a service from their digital payments solution is their focus on OTC (over-the-counter) payments through digital payments and “includes redemption of loyalty points across different industries.”
This will not only facilitate transaction execution via the platform but open up further possibilities to give back to customers as well as allow businesses the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell to an integrated customer base.
Connection at both ends enables Hanker to enhance the user experience by delivering a personalized solution, where customers are presented with products that they are looking for and, as a result, businesses generate additional sales revenue from related-item and repeat purchases.