Homegrown ecommerce platform Flipkart, on Thursday (September 24), announced that it has expanded its recently launched wholesale unit to 12 new cities to support neighbourhood kirana stores and other MSMEs.
Flipkart Wholesale is a digital B2B marketplace launched in July after the ecommerce giant reverse acquired Walmart India’s B2B business. The company had officially launched services last month, carrying pilot operations for fashion categories.
With the festive season right around the corner, Flipkart Wholesale has decided to expand the services to other cities including Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Mysuru, Chandigarh Tricity, Meerut, Agra, Jaipur, Thane-Bhiwandi-Ulhasnagar, Greater Mumbai, Vasai-Virar-Mira-Bhayandar, Thane (Kalyan-Dombivli) and Thane (Navi Mumbai) in fashion category.
The company believes that such a platform can effectively digitally transform kiranas and MSMEs, while helping them grow faster, retain customers and also improve profitability. The customers will also have access to easy credit facilities in partnership with banks and NBFCs to manage cash flow.
Commenting on the same, Flipkart Wholesale head and senior vice president at Flipkart Adarsh Menon highlighted that the company has partnered with several leading brands and enabled ease of doing business digitally for small businesses and kirana stores by helping them leverage micro-market level B2B and B2C insights from the Flipkart ecosystem. By the end of 2020, the company plans to expand into home, kitchen and grocery categories.
Besides this, the ecommerce giant has also launched its own hyperlocal service, Flipkart Quick, in order to facilitate 90 minutes delivery. Flipkart Quick services will leverage Flipkart’s technology capabilities and supply chain infrastructure to deliver more than 2,000 products across several categories — grocery, fresh, dairy, meat, mobiles, electronics accessories, stationery items and home accessories — in the first phase.
The hyperlocal services, too, will be onboarding neighbourhood or kirana stores onto its network. The service is currently available in Bengaluru but will expand to six undisclosed cities in the coming six months.
As the festive season is right around the corner, the Indian ecommerce companies have once again started prepping up to clock in more sales. Flipkart’s rival Amazon has also ramped up its operations and launched another fulfillment center in Ahmedabad to enable sellers to offer a wider selection within the region and neighbouring states.
With this, the company has three fulfillment centers in Gujarat alone serving more than 80,000 sellers. “With this expansion, SMBs in Gujarat will benefit both in terms of economic growth and reach to a wider customer base,” Prakash Kumar Dutta, Director of Fulfilment Centres & Supply Chain at Amazon India, said.
Besides this, the company has also added Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu support to its website and apps to cater to an additional 200-300 Mn users. It was already catering to the North Indian belt with Hindi support.