India’s ecommerce space has grown rapidly in the last few years. Gone are the days when the buyers use to get product delivered in 7 working days. Now, major online retail giants like Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal — offer same-day delivery in big cities for a fee. They deliver the next day for free in the big cities but deliveries can take longer outside these areas.
Amid high competition environment, e-retailers are finding new ways to attract more and more buyers. Ecommerce firms are experimenting new things and open to other innovative ideas related to product delivery.
With the rise of online retail market, the customers’ expectations are also rising day by day. They are ready to shell out extra bucks but demands better and faster services. Faster delivery could, therefore, prove to be a game-changer in the country’s fiercely competitive ecommerce space.
Moving on the same path, India’s largest online retailer, Flipkart now plans to set up 500-1,000 sq ft pickup or collection centres in smaller cities with a population of up to 50,000. This will help company to fasten its delivery model to tap into the growing demand in these markets. Initially, the company may start with 20 cities in the first half of the year and expand it to 250 more cities if the response is good.
Speaking on this new development, Sujeet Kumar, head of WS Retail and ekart Logistics said, “So we can have a lot of people from tier-4 or tier-5 cities coming and collecting their stuff if we set up pickup centres.”
“You cannot develop a hub network for such areas. Pickup centres will work for such areas. We may start with 20 cities in the first half of the year. Scaling up is very fast. In a year and half I can open centres in 250 more cities if the response is good,” he added.
WS Retail is the largest seller on Flipkart and ekart is the logistics and delivery arm that delivers 85% of Flipkart’s goods to buyers in nearly 300 cities across the country.
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As per the new delivery model, company will send goods to a collection centre — the buyer will be informed through a text message sent on the mobile number – now buyer can collect the package from the collection centre.
Not just Flipkart, rivals are also working overtime to execute new plans. Another ecommerce giant, Amazon India is also looking for other ways to tempt customers and capture the market to earn maximum revenue in coming future.
With this aim in mind, Amazon India said that it may soon extend its online payment gateway to offline sellers listing on its price comparison website Junglee. This move will help to bring small sellers and kiranas to the online platform.
Recently, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said, it is necessary to get small offline businesses in India into the digital economy. Amazon currently offers its payment gateway in Junglee only to online sellers — more than 250 shopping sites use it.
Offline sellers can put their business listing on the website, which shows up when a consumer searches for a product but any transaction is only conducted offline. This is currently available only in seven cities — New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Chennai.
According to the company’s new strategy, it is evaluating how consumers can undertake an online transaction with the offline sellers at Junglee.com and then either pick up the product from their store or the seller ships it to them. This may initially be rolled out in the cities where it has already started listing offline shops.
Mahendra Nerurkar, general manager at Junglee.com said, “the company wants to involve offline sellers more actively on the platform, which will be possible once they see the value of listing with it and amplify their business. The potential is huge and plans are evolving right now.”
Recently, Flipkart, has raised $700 Mn from new investors Baillie Gifford, Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates and Qatar Investment Authority. Recently, the company has also stated that it is figuring out how it can get goods to the customer’s doorstep in as little as three hours.
In July last year, Amazon India had also announced to invest $2 Bn in Indian market to expand its business. The moves come just after the rival Flipkart raised $1 Bn in funding.