While ecommerce has witnessed significant growth in recent years in India, it still falls behind when compared to the overall retail market of the country which is dominated by offline stores. To increase the offline presence for increasing sales, many ecommerce companies are now experimenting with unique models and the latest to join them is Walmart-owned Flipkart.
Ecommerce major Flipkart is now partnering with local stores to offer its users an offline experience of the product which they would like to order from the online platform.
These ‘buy zones’ are physical stores that have similar products that Flipkart sells on the online platform. While Users can simply walk in the store to use a product, they still need to order it from the online platform to own the same.
Prior to officially announcing these stores, Flipkart had run a pilot project in Hyderabad. Chief corporate affairs officer of Flipkart Rajneesh Kumar said that the pilot project was successful with mobiles where the company had partnered with local kirana stores for providing users with an offline experience of the product. “Flipkart is planning to expand this localised partnerships in other parts of the country,” he was quoted as saying by Moneycontrol.
Besides mobiles, Flipkart has also partnered with local tailors for fashion. According to the company, this tie-up has helped the company to reduce the number of overall returns in this category.
Kumar further added that online market accounts for only 3% of the total retail market in the country. This idea of coming close to the customers via offline stores has been a success for companies operating in the grocery delivery space.
While Grofers was one of the companies which started tapping offline stores, the recently launched grocery delivery platform of Mukesh Ambani — JioMart has also followed the same approach.
Recently, Grofers has said that the company is planning to bring 50K offline stores onboard in the next two or three years. Under the programme, the startup is converting local Kirana stores into Grofers-branded stores, which will showcase the company’s private label products that are priced 30-40% lesser.
On the other hand, JioMart has also recently shared its plans of adding a new network of branded grocery stores. The company has recently said that it is setting up small retail outlets named Reliance Smart Points, which will help the company to enable the last-mile delivery of groceries.
In a bid to remain competitive, the Flipkart has recently also ramped up its grocery plans on priority, starting with a pilot in Hyderabad. Partnering with local Kirana stores, the company claims to have onboarded over 27K stores across 700 cities.
With all these players launching or tying up with offline stores, it can be predicted that having an offline presence as well is becoming a new trend in the online grocery segment.