Flipkart to offer 'touch and feel' experience in tie-up with kirana stores

Topics Flipkart | ecommerce

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Flipkart is seen on the company's office in Bengaluru | Photo: Reuters

E-commerce major Flipkart is contemplating to go for partnership with local stores offering its customers a "touch and feel" experience, at least for some products, as online commerce continues to be minuscule in the overall Indian retail industry. The move comes close on the heels of Reliance planning grocery foray taking local kirana stores onboard.

Walmart-owned Flipkart has already established a delivery model using local kirana stores and onboarded some 27,000 stores across 700 cities.

Now, Flipkart proposes to have authorised "buy zones" where a customer can walk in and check a product but he or she has to order it online, a company official said on Thursday.

"Our pilot project was successful in Hyderabad with mobiles where we partnered with local kirana stores for a touch and feel experience. But the order has to be taken online from a kiosk installed there," Flipkart chief corporate affairs officer Rajneesh Kumar said.

Now, the e-commerce major plans to expand this localised partnerships in other parts of the country, he said. Flipkart and Amazon now faces the heat of the Competition Commission of India's probe against them for alleged malpractices including deep discounting and tie-up with preferred sellers.

"Online market accounts for only 3 per cent of the total retail market in the country," Kumar said.

In fashion, tie-ups with local tailors had offered huge benefit to e-commerce company in a sharp reduction in the number of returns. In the mobile category, pure online brands had moved to offline brick and mortar stores to expand its base and protect their margins.

On Thursday, Flipkart organised a workshop for MSMEs in Kolkata, a part of a series of programmes to help the enterprises leverage e-commerce to grow their business. Kumar said the move will help deepen base of products on the marketplace platform.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel