The Warung has been the quintessentially Indonesian place to buy essentials, but most importantly, for a local community to gather.
Traditionally micro-businesses, Warung’s are kiosks that make minimarts look like supermarkets.
They’ve generally been considered too “micro” to be inducted into the data collecting world of the modern small-medium size businesses.
Enter Warung Pintar (meaning “Smart Warung”).
Complete with surveillance cameras, an LCD TV, stove and dispenser, refrigerator, digital system, charging station, digitised bookkeeping and warehousing – the Warung Pintar would have been unimaginable just 2 years ago.
With a Rp.100,000 (US$7) per month subscription, Warung Pintar adopters are installed with an Android tablet that has sales and inventory tracking apps, as well as benefiting from Wi-fi, making them popular with Go-Jek and Grab drivers.
By collecting data on customers, such as their approximate age and sex, the company can improve marketing, distribution and engagement.
They have transformed over 1,000 Warung’s in Jakarta and other Indonesian cities. 22,000 have signed up in total.
According to Warung Pintar co-founder Harya Putra:
“We realised there was a data blind spot in warung. A lot of things were happening there that we didn’t know about. There’s a lot of opportunities in warung because the community and the economy are there, but there was no technology that empowered them.”
Take Junaidi Salad, the proud owner of a 1.5 meter-wide Warung, who was approached by Warung Pintar to be the first ever smart Warung.
Junaidi was worried the flash yellow colour scheme and high tech paraphernalia would attracted unwanted attention to his illegally placed Warung.
The tech-start up helped Junaidi gain legal status and moved him to the car park of one of it’s co-founders co-working spaces, where he doesn’t have to pay for rent or electricity.
The change has rocketed Junaidi’s daily profits from Rp.70,000 to Rp.4 million. That’s a US$274 a day! A 5,714% increase!
He now owns a car, two more Warung’s and can pay for the his three daughter’s education.
By using data collection to help modernise the Warung, it is giving the 57 million micro businesses in Indonesia the chance to tap into the the internet economy.
An economy that will reach US$27 billion in 2018, with an expected year-on-year rise of 49%.
Sure, digital literacy and lack of trust – particularly with old school Warung owners – are the biggest challenges facing making Warung’s “Smart.”
But this digitisation will give the beloved Warung the chance to stay relevant in the 21st Century.
Sources: SCMP | Straits Times