Flipkart getting festive season ready by partnering 27,000 'kirana' stores

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Flipkart is seen on the company's office in Bengaluru | Photo: Reuters
On an overdrive to ensure a blockbuster festive season, Flipkart on Monday announced onboarding 27,000 kiranas across 700 cities to its pan-Indian supply chain. 

The company believes that this would help it reach out to its 160 million users as well as new consumers during its upcoming ‘The Big Billion Days’ sale. At the moment, it is working with over 12,000 kiranas would help it massively improve last mile logistics and access to 100 per cent of the pin codes. 

“The nation-wide kirana partners,” the company said.

Flipkart started with a customised training programme to onboard these kirana partners, with soft skills and the know-how to deal with customer queries or requests on the spot. 

Flipkart already has a large supply chain network, currently delivering over a million shipments everyday across 100 per cent of the pin codes in the country. “After digital payments, the next big revolution in kirana stores as convenience stores from an e-commerce perspective while offering them a new source of revenue, making it a win-win situation for all,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group said.

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group
With the 27,000 additional kirana stores, Flipkart will be able to scale up its reach, especially in tier-II and tier-III cities. To seamlessly facilitate the onboarding process and their inclusion in the delivery model, Flipkart is leveraging its in-house tech solution called the ‘Allocation Engine’. 

This helps automate allocation of shipments to delivery agents and partners, including kiranas. “This has become important as there is a huge spike in demand during the festive season and deploying tech becomes essential to provide high-speed deliveries to consumers,” the company said. By evenly spreading the shipments across various delivery models, the Allocation Engine helps increase efficiency of deliveries, offering a better consumer experience. 

Largescale inclusion of kirana stores in one of the largest e-commerce supply chain networks in the country will prove to be a game-changer in alternative delivery models. The MENSA network programme from Myntra was the first to tap the kirana network, working with 12,000 such stores across metros and tier-II cities. 

In the run-up to the festive season, the Walmart-owned online marketplace has massively expanded reach of its pick-up operations to more than 800 cities and towns over the last six months. 

The company has taken a massive logistics operation to bring in thousands of new sellers, micro, small & medium enterprises, domestic manufacturers and artisans into the e-commerce fold. According to the company, its expanded logistics base is going to help more than 60,000 sellers from states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Tripura.  

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