Hyderabad: Telangana has become the focus of select assisted commerce companies with the latter trying to cater to Tier II and III cities of the State.
Companies such as Hesa and 1Bridge have big plans to recruit agents in Telangana for last-mile connectivity and logistics. Assisted commerce players are a bridge between consumers and brands. They allow consumers choice and convenience and access to new age products and services. They help companies and brands reach customers in smaller cities without having to set up their own logistics and infra. Hesa had this year announced to recruit about 10,000 agents or Hesathis in Telangana. “Hiring is in progress and we have already hired more than 3,000 Hesathis,” said Vamsi Udayagiri, co-founder and CEO.
Another company, 1Bridge, too has plans to recruit about 5,000 people in the next eight to ten months. The second Covid wave has slowed the recruitment a bit but things are again on track. Telangana is a key State for our expansion in the next six to nine months,” said Madan Padaki, founder and CEO, 1Bridge. “Assisted commerce platforms help in income augmenting and creation of micro-enterprises,” said Udayagiri. It is building AI/ML tools for customer insights and integration with other platforms.
For instance, rural customers can buy or sell a range of products, avail banking facilities and pay utility bills, mobile recharges, PAN services, two-wheeler insurance and direct money transfers among others. A farmer can know about financial products available, avail loan, get soil testing done, buy solar powered equipment or irrigation systems, order seeds and fertilizers, sell farm produce and receive instant payment all on one platform, said Udayagiri about the platform. Its vernacular approach is able to reach a larger customer base. Indian rural market potential is 10 times bigger than all the 20 unicorns of India put together. The Telangana rural market is growing year on year.
However, businesses continue to struggle on multiple accounts — awareness, availability, visibility, delivery, and sales. “The challenge in remote rural locations is to have a feasible and sustainable unit economic model as there is a steep difference in the cost of doing business versus the revenues generated. The same situation is faced by rural entrepreneurs including farmers wishing to sell their products. Hence, there is an acute shortage of an integrated marketplace in rural Telangana,” he said.
Currently, the agents are earning about Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 additional by offering products and services through such platforms, he said. “We are focused on agri-tech services that aid in increasing production of agricultural products. We have plans to bring teleconsulting and also supply medical products. Education is an important area. All transactions are digitised and this will give insights on customers needs,” said Padaki of 1Bridge.
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