E-commerce giant Flipkart on Tuesday said it plans to offer 90-minute deliveries of groceries and home accessories sold on its platform. The new scheme is known as Flipkart Quick and the service will be offered in the Bengaluru city.
The hyperlocal service, Flipkart Quick, will also offer mobile phones, electronics, and stationery items. By extra services company is taking the delivery service a step ahead of traditional groceries.
The move comes amid an aggressive approach by Reliance JioMart to become a solo player in online commerce. Flipkart will offer its new business verticals through its new partners such as Ninjacart.
The newly announced service will put the Walmart-owned company in direct competition with existing players such as Alibaba-backed BigBasket and Amazon who offer similar services. JioMart will be the real competition for Flipkart, which is also a new player.
During the lockdown, delivery-based companies such as Dunzo, Swiggy etc also offered services where a delivery person collected groceries from local Kirana stores and delivered it to the customers. This gave a push to more Indians who are now trusting the online grocery delivery model.
The company has started a pilot program in Bengaluru where customers can order the items and choose delivery in the next 90 minutes or book a 2-hour slot with a minimum delivery fee starting at Rs 29. For now, Flipkart has partnered with Shadowfax as its delivery partner.
However, the company will soon take over the hyper-local delivery model by leveraging local Kirana stores and its own logistics arm Ekart to conduct delivery operations. Soon, the operation will expand into six big Indian cities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a swift transformation of local Kirana stores from offline to online. Now traditional businesses’ collaboration with online channels is increasing and this is seen as a start to the long term plan of digital revolution of the stores.
India has a strong presence in the Kirana store network in the country. Nearly 15 million stores in the country, located mainly near localities, have now become prominent players. Many start-ups and big companies are working hard to digitize these shops which can create a big hyperlocal delivery model in return for them.
Last week, Flipkart Group acquired Walmart India’s Best Price and announced the launch of Flipkart Wholesale. Through the deal, the company plans to leverage the wholesale capabilities of Walmart India in order to build its business-to-business service and develop India’s Kirana retail ecosystem.
Flipkart Wholesale is in plans to work with retailers in the NCR region and later plans to expand all over the country. While the bigger picture of Flipkart is similar to that of Reliance Retail, it is not yet clear if the company is in plans to bypass traditional distributors and buy products directly from Flipkart Wholesale or offer a new route of buying and selling the products.
“The value we bring to them will be in terms of how we make them successful and prosperous,” said Rajneesh Kumar to ET, cleared about the company’s motive. However, many believe the main aim of the big giants is to acquire consumers using Kirana stores.
Though the Coronavirus pandemic has increased the use of the online delivery model to continue operations by the Kirana store. Many doubt the trend will attract big retailers who run their operations on cash.
Flipkart wants to offer a platform for small manufacturers and sellers, along with farmers. Meanwhile, Jio is in plans to develop a digital payment system to allow customers to order through WhatsApp, for which Facebook has agreed. Jio ran a pilot program in some parts of Mumbai where people were able to order groceries through WhatsApp by sending a list of items to local stores.
Offering a digital platform for Kirana stores is seen as the next revolution in the Indian digital sector. Every big giant wants a piece of it as the reach of the internet and mobile phones in the hands of Indians can help build the digital Kirana world.