After ecommerce giant Amazon, homegrown rival Flipkart is planning its entry into the alcohol delivery segment in India. The Walmart-owned company has reportedly partnered with alcohol delivery startup Hipbar to deliver liquor in West Bengal and Odisha, according to the government letter seen by Reuters.
The letter also notes that Flipkart’s customers will be allowed to access HipBar’s application on Flipkart. Under the arrangement, Flipkart customers will be able to place orders for their favourite tipple, which HipBar will then deliver after collecting products from retail outlets.
Chennai-based Hipbar was founded in 2015 by Prasanna Natarajan, and operates out of Bengaluru, Goa and Mahe in Puducherry. HipBar enables age verified consumers to browse and order a range of alcoholic beverages and get them delivered at their doorstep, where permitted, or pick it up from a retail store at their convenience.
HipBar has developed a stringent age verification process as well as highly compliant standard operating procedures to ensure that the company’s delivery service fosters a safe drinking environment in India. Besides the last-mile alcohol delivery platform, the platform also offers a SaaS-based e-governance module for use by Governments, HipBar Point-of-Sale (POS) for standalone licensed retail stores and HipBar Pay for government-controlled retail stores.
The company is backed by beverage alcohol company Diageo India, which owns 26% stake in the company. Diageo India, a subsidiary of global leader Diageo plc manufactures, sells and distributes premium alcohol beverage brands such as Johnnie Walker, Black Dog, Black & White, VAT 69, Antiquity, Signature, Royal Challenge, McDowell’s No.1, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Four Seasons.
Meanwhile, other ecommerce and online delivery giants Amazon, Zomato, Swiggy and BigBasket have also made a segway in this segment during the global pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions. In June, West Bengal State Beverages Corp authorised Amazon and BigBasket, along with few other companies, to carry out online retail of liquor trade in the state.
Whereas, Zomato and Swiggy started their alcohol delivery operations from Jharkhand in May 2020. Both companies leveraged on their existing technology, nationwide presence and logistics infrastructure. Besides West Bengal and Jharkhand, even Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Odisha have started alcohol delivery.
Meanwhile, Delhi and Pune have started issuing e-tokens that allow users to save their spot in the alcohol outlet queues. Kerala has stated a system where customers can book their order online and collect it from the shop later.