America is built on small business. This belief made Vishal open his convenience store in Jersey City. Vishal’s local store was busy. The business was booming. Vishal knew his customers intimately well. He sourced products for them, generating a healthy profit. Invested back into the local community – hired local staff, paid local taxes, and bought services from local providers. An ecosystem that worked like a well-oiled machine.
One day the well-oiled machine started showing cracks. Customers came in less frequently and bought fewer items. Products didn’t move as fast. Vishal had to lay off staff. The business was no longer booming. Many neighboring merchants shut their doors. For Vishal, it became a trap. Can’t shut it down, can’t operate with these margins.
What turned Vishal’s beautiful world upside down? Did he get comfortable? Below average customer service? Was it the economy? Or did Vishal find himself on an unlevel playing field?
The big e-commerce (Amazon) and quick commerce (GoPuff) use data, technology, extensive funding, and tax incentives at scale to deliver unmatched convenience and lower prices, which secures unparalleled customer loyalty. Merchants like Vishal, however, continue to use the same traditional model of relying on salespeople for new product discovery, wholesale purchasing, and retail pricing. So yes, Vishal is pushed to play in an unlevel field.
It’s not that a merchant, like Vishal, never asked for the field to be leveled. However, the tech startup community grossly underestimated whether small merchants needed technology and can the entrepreneur be rewarded for solving the problem.
Do independent offline merchants need technology? The answer is yes. Now more than ever. Adoption of cloud-based point-of-sale systems (POS) vs. traditional on-premises machines is 4x higher among independent merchants vs. enterprise retail*. More than half of independent retailers are currently using or will use third-party apps available in their cloud-based POS to improve operations and profitability**. At the macro level, outdated models of product selection, wholesale purchasing, and retail pricing cost merchants $152bn a year***. So, this uneven playing field turns out to be quite expensive for merchants. Merchants are starting to realize this and are now turning to technology for help. The new NACS Chairman recently called on small operators to digitize offers.
Innovation for Vishal benefits a wide range of stakeholders. Over 250k independent merchants do $585bn in annual sales. Block Inc. / Square (NYSC: SQ), which provides cloud-based POS to independent merchants, has a market capitalization of $35bn. Innovation for Vishal means a win for investors, who can participate in the upside of Vishal’s success. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies spend $70bn in advertising every year. These same CPG companies spend 8X of their advertising budget or $560bn on retail trade. With the majority of the trade budget goes to Amazon, Walmart, and other large enterprise retailers. Independent merchants receive nearly no revenue from retail trade, despite selling 40% of total CPG products – 4x Amazon. Why is this happening? Fragmentation of independent merchants. Innovation for Vishal means a win for CPG brands, which can diversify their trade budget.
At Evidnt, we’re on a mission to level the playing field in favor of independent retailers so they can compete better and win. We believe 250k united merchants equipped with the right technology and a level playing field will outcompete any Goliath and restore prosperity back to their local communities.
Evidnt’s smart marketplace empowers independent retailers to buy smarter so they can compete and sell more.
Evidnt modernizes Vishal’s access with a platform that searches wholesalers to offer the most competitive wholesale price. Competitive pricing for the customer, and better margins for Vishal.
Evidnt empowers Vishal to easily discover new products based on strong performance in similar stores. Now Vishal is no longer at the mercy of a few providers and their agenda.
Evidnt informs Vishal about products based on profit margin and deals from manufacturers. Vishal is now empowered to run discounts and promotions to attract lapsed customers and increase order size.
It warms our hearts to see hundreds of merchants get real value from the platform. We also realize we’re just scratching the surface and are early in this ambitious journey. Our merchants’ needs, and our features, and products will evolve. Our belief that the future is local, our obsession with the merchants’ pains of today and success of tomorrow, and our mantra to execute well and fast, will never change. We’re committed to this journey long enough to help 250k merchants like Vishal restore the well-oiled machine. Only better, this time.