Walmart-owned Flipkart has begun to deliver wholesale grocery items to Kirana stores and other small retailers in India.
Pilot in Gurugram and service will be rolled out to the rest of India later
Flipkart Wholesale, which connects manufacturers with retailers in 23 cities, started with clothing and footwear. With the addition of grocery products in its inventory, Kirana stores and small retailers are now able to select from over 350 brands of packaged food, home and personal care items, and other staples. Gurugram is the first to have this service, as the company has set up a 100,000 sq ft fulfillment centre in this city. This service will also be available later in other parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) and subsequently in other cities over the next few months. Once this initiative is expanded to other regions, Flipkart Wholesale will establish new fulfillment centres.
Intent is to strengthen grocery partnership with Kiranas and create jobs
Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President and Head of Flipkart Wholesale, commented, “There are 12 to 14 million Kirana stores in the country which are under-served, and face several pain points in terms of distribution, service. It’s an obvious market to serve better. B2B is a huge opportunity, and digitisation of Kiranas will boost consumption hugely.” In addition, Flipkart Wholesale supports over 6,500 employment opportunities across India since it was launched in September 2020. It will continue to create jobs in 2021 as this grocery delivery service expands.
COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of B2B platforms
The launch of grocery on Flipkart Wholesale comes at a time when online B2B platforms have witnessed rapid growth. The COVID-19 crisis has made Kiranas and other small retailers move online, where they can order merchandise regardless of lockdowns, and be assured that these will be delivered. Local startups Udaan and Jumbotail, which are popular names in online B2B in the country, have seen an increase in food and grocery sales contribution last year. Udaan has cited that transaction volumes of its food and grocery business crossed 8,000 tonnes a day. Reliance Retail (through its e-commerce platform JioMart) is also using Kirana stores as franchise partners to deliver non-perishable grocery items.