Introducing perhaps one of the biggest addition to its e-commerce model yet (apart from Myntra, in terms of money), Flipkart has today announced the launch of new ‘Experience Zones’, allowing you to collect your products at your own convenient time.
As a part of its initial launch phase, such stores have currently been rolled out in 10 cities including Bangalore, Mysore, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Vellore, Gurgaon, Vadodora, Surat, with plans of expanding to over 100 such stores by March next year.
And it isn’t just product delivery which Flipkart offers through its experience zones. It will ultimately turn these zones into complete stores, offering value added services like spot trials, instant returns, open box deliveries, assisted buying, cash on returns and third party services like alternation, repair among others.
The project however isn’t altogether new, with Flipkart already piloting this model for past six months. And surprisingly, its analysis shows that over 80% of its shipments were collected via these offline stores. This is indeed surprising, considering the fact that a larger reason for people buying stuff online (apart from deep discounts) is the fact that their product is delivered at their doorsteps.
This project was launched in collaboration with Flipkart’s logistic arm eKart, and as the e-commerce poster boy itself mentions, could well be a milestone in its plans of expanding to rural, lesser developed areas. However, creating a brand name in such areas would be another task.
Amazon too, quietly launched a similar partnership last year, in a tie up with BPCL’s In & Out stores. However, we did not see much of a traction for this particular service, even though its presence has expanded to a gargantuan 800 stores in 45 cities across India.
In a related development, Flipkart also started testing a faster delivery option named ‘f qyk’, wherein it is partnering with local kirana stores to delivery items ‘within hours’ of ordering. The project however is currently under a test phase.