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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

How Latam startups are saving local corner shops

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – No neighborhood in Latin America is complete without at least one corner store. Or tienditas, as we call them in Mexico or tiendas de barrio or bodegas in other parts of the region. For kids, they’re the perfect place to grab a snack after school. For households, it’s a strategic place to obtain basic goods like milk and bread.

But fierce competition from supermarkets, digitization, and Covid-19, have put many of these locales in a pinch. So it’s sad to imagine these communities without these family-run businesses. Likewise, it’s a problem startups are well-aware of and want to help solve in various ways. 

Simple electronic payments

Startups offering electronic payments are at the forefront of enabling these small businesses’ to expand their revenue streams.

But rather than offering costly payment terminals, fintechs like Clip (Mexico) and Billpocket (Mexico) work with more accessible models that connect with the vendor’s cell phone and rely on a WiFi connection. 

On occasion, the purchase of the terminal itself comes with a data plan to spare tiendita managers the expense of paying for internet services.

Other POS terminals include cool features like a product catalog as well as a management system to help shop owners keep track of their stock.

Lending to the little guy

Some fintechs are helping local corner shops but through lending solutions. 

For example, Grupo Modelo (a brewery owned by AB InBev) launched a startup spin-off, Z-Tech, in Mexico recently. Through its partnership with fintechs Tienda Pago (Peru) and Konfío (Mexico), they’re providing financing solutions to these small shops.

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Recently accepted into 500 Startups LatAm, is YoFio from Mexico. This fintech is paving the way towards micro-lending within corner stores. A shopper just needs the YoFio e-wallet to start purchasing goods at the tienda de barrio.

After which, they can pay the amount charged to their account in weekly installments.

Logistics for everyone in Latin America

When it comes to logistics startups helping corner shops stay supplied, Latin America has a few participants.

Peruvian Abaxto connects shops with suppliers so they can find the best prices. It also emphasizes transparency in the supply chain process and lets these businesses track their orders.

From Colombia, Chiper and Dedo provide small businesses with a platform to optimize their operations and merchandising, just as big retailers do. Shop owners can search for everything they need from their platforms and compare and contrast options.

iBasto (Mexico) also offers a platform for corner shops to find suppliers and refill their stock. But it’s also recently launched CrediBasto, a financing solution for these beloved tienditas.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Mexico!

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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