Indonesian startups help street vendors migrate to the digital era

Indonesia, known for its buoyant startup scene, has groomed a very special form of startups, namely such that make a business out of turning the country’s millions of street stalls, mom-and-pop shops and street vendors of any kind digital.

Those traditional family-owned street micro businesses, or “warungs,” oftentimes lack the knowledge and opportunity to modernize their sales strategies with digital tools.

For them, startups such as Bukalapak, BukuWarung, Khatabook, Warung Pintar or BukuKas have been launched. They address the country’s approximately 60 million small and micro businesses and help them to get on the digital bandwagon.

Bukalapak, for example, was founded in 2010 and is offering modern retail solutions with online services such as bill payments and phone top-ups. They also connect warungs to consumer goods distributors, narrowing their supply chain, lowering the wholesale cost of their wares and increasing the profit margins for those micro businesses, all for small commission.

Bukalapak recorded a 130 per cent surge in transactions in 2020 and now serves 13.5 million micro, small and medium enterprises and 100 million customers in Indonesia.

Digital sales and online bookkeeping for mom-and-pop shops

Other comparable startups including BukuWarung or Khatabook are working similarly, helping small businesses such as neighborhood stores that previously relied on paper ledgers transition to digital bookkeeping and online payments. BukuWarung recently launched Tokoko, a Shopify-like tool that lets merchants create online stores through an app, and says Tokoko has been used by 500,000 merchants so far.

BukuWarung now claims more than 3.5 million registered merchants in 750 Indonesian towns and cities and says it is recording over $15 billion worth of transactions across its platform and processing over $500 million in terms of volume.

Important contributors to GDP

Micro, small and medium enterprises in Indonesia contribute about 60 per cent to Indonesia’s gross domestic product and employ 97 per cent of its domestic workforce, but many have difficulty accessing financial services that can help them grow.

At the same time, e-commerce has been growing in importance in the country and is also one of the pandemic’s big winners. In 2020, the number of Indonesia’s digital consumers surged 37 per cent as lockdowns led more people to try new services online. In the same year, online spending rose 11 per cent to hit $44 billion. By 2025, that figure is expected to almost triple to $124 billion.

And this where the warung digitisers step in.



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Indonesia, known for its buoyant startup scene, has groomed a very special form of startups, namely such that make a business out of turning the country’s millions of street stalls, mom-and-pop shops and street vendors of any kind digital. Those traditional family-owned street micro businesses, or “warungs,” oftentimes lack the knowledge and opportunity to modernize their sales strategies with digital tools. For them, startups such as Bukalapak, BukuWarung, Khatabook, Warung Pintar or BukuKas have been launched. They address the country’s approximately 60 million small and micro businesses and help them to get on the digital bandwagon. Bukalapak, for example, was...

Indonesia, known for its buoyant startup scene, has groomed a very special form of startups, namely such that make a business out of turning the country’s millions of street stalls, mom-and-pop shops and street vendors of any kind digital.

Those traditional family-owned street micro businesses, or “warungs,” oftentimes lack the knowledge and opportunity to modernize their sales strategies with digital tools.

For them, startups such as Bukalapak, BukuWarung, Khatabook, Warung Pintar or BukuKas have been launched. They address the country’s approximately 60 million small and micro businesses and help them to get on the digital bandwagon.

Bukalapak, for example, was founded in 2010 and is offering modern retail solutions with online services such as bill payments and phone top-ups. They also connect warungs to consumer goods distributors, narrowing their supply chain, lowering the wholesale cost of their wares and increasing the profit margins for those micro businesses, all for small commission.

Bukalapak recorded a 130 per cent surge in transactions in 2020 and now serves 13.5 million micro, small and medium enterprises and 100 million customers in Indonesia.

Digital sales and online bookkeeping for mom-and-pop shops

Other comparable startups including BukuWarung or Khatabook are working similarly, helping small businesses such as neighborhood stores that previously relied on paper ledgers transition to digital bookkeeping and online payments. BukuWarung recently launched Tokoko, a Shopify-like tool that lets merchants create online stores through an app, and says Tokoko has been used by 500,000 merchants so far.

BukuWarung now claims more than 3.5 million registered merchants in 750 Indonesian towns and cities and says it is recording over $15 billion worth of transactions across its platform and processing over $500 million in terms of volume.

Important contributors to GDP

Micro, small and medium enterprises in Indonesia contribute about 60 per cent to Indonesia’s gross domestic product and employ 97 per cent of its domestic workforce, but many have difficulty accessing financial services that can help them grow.

At the same time, e-commerce has been growing in importance in the country and is also one of the pandemic’s big winners. In 2020, the number of Indonesia’s digital consumers surged 37 per cent as lockdowns led more people to try new services online. In the same year, online spending rose 11 per cent to hit $44 billion. By 2025, that figure is expected to almost triple to $124 billion.

And this where the warung digitisers step in.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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