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Contxto – Latin America is filled with all sorts of quirks and practices that might catch an outsider’s eye. One such sighting is the little corner shops you’ll find throughout the region.
Running and keeping an inventory for these small businesses can be a tiresome task. So Colombian startup Chiper wants to help these entrepreneurs manage and thrive through technology.
Local corner shop charms
Depending on which part of Latam you find yourself in, these corner stores may be referred to as la tienda de la esquina, tienditas, bodegas, tiendas de barrio. However, the trendy term for these places is nanostores.
They’re small, usually family-owned businesses that sell consumer packaged goods. Offering examples include food in the form of chips and soda as well as other basic supplies such as toiletries.
Kids love them because they’re the best place to get junk food. While neighborhoods rely on these businesses to complete improvised purchases.
Meanwhile, entire families may depend on their store’s income.
Picturesque and useful as they are, many of these businesses struggle with inventory and accessing technology to stay relevant with the likes of major retailers in urban areas.
And in rural communities tech can be hard to come by, period.
That’s where Chiper comes in.
A digital vendor
Through the startup’s platform, a tiendita can access a large database of vendors and brands at favorable prices. And Chiper handles the logistics of delivering the order to the store.
José Bonilla, Oscar Sarria Guerrero, and Carolina Garica founded Chiper in 2018
Since then, the startup states to have over 3,000 partnering businesses but it hopes to reach 10,000 by year’s end. Besides helping corner stores in its native Colombia, Chiper also expanded into Mexico.
Technology to help the little guy
Chains like Walmart are gaining ground in what used to be nanostores’ typical turf, and shutting them down according to statistics by consulting firm Kantar Worldpanel. This institution correspondingly recommends that these small businesses invest and explore e-commerce and more innovative distribution channels to stay in the game.
There are startups like Cornershop that are booming in their partnerships with the likes of Costco and Walmart. However, it’d be interesting to find entrepreneurs interested in handling delivery and logistics for these littler players.