In pre-COVID times, neighborhood stores were all about personal experience. Such stores were frequented by people living in a locality, and interactions with store owners were warm and friendly. Customers often bought products recommended by their neighborhood store owner. The pandemic threw a spanner in the works, not just for these stores but also for other small stores across the country.
Retail in India was undergoing a transformation even before the pandemic broke out. The launch of big retail, along with e-commerce proliferation, changed the retail landscape in the country. The heydays of small stores were nearly over, and it was widely argued that these micro-entrepreneurs (small store owners) would not have a fighting chance against well-established retail or e-commerce players. While many of these small shops held their own, others redesigned their offerings and services to compete with larger players. On the other hand, a …