After having acquired Walmart’s India wholesale business earlier in July, Flipkart has today formally launched a new ecommerce platform, targeted at the mammoth wholesale opportunity in India. Dubbed ‘Flipkart Wholesale’, the marketplace is an attempt from Flipkart to go full steam into B2B, and perhaps woo India’s Kirana stores, largely considered the backbone of India’s retail economy.
The company made the announcement in a press release, announcing that the marketplace will be available as an app on any smartphone.
“Flipkart Wholesale, the digital B2B marketplace of India’s homegrown Flipkart Group, today launched its operations with an aim to connect local manufacturers with retailers and bring the entire wholesale marketplace at their fingertips using technology,” the company said.
For now, the platform is operational in just select areas of the country, including Gurugram, Delhi and Bengaluru, with plans to expand to Mumbai as well, and offers just apparel. However, by the end of 2020, Flipkart hopes to include groceries in its list of offerings as well, as well as provide services in 20 more cities.
The company also hopes to rope in over 300 strategic partners and have over 2 lakh listings in 2 months. Moreover, it claims that in just a few days, it will have 50 brands and over 250 local manufacturers on the B2B platform.
“Flipkart Wholesale is a one-stop solution for the retail ecosystem which will offer Indian businesses a wide selection of products at significant value, powered by technology and with an aim to grow their business,” the company said.
With this announcement, Flipkart became the latest e-commerce giant to turn to India’s offline retail space as it looks to expand business. Amazon and Mukesh Ambani led JioMart have already tapped what is hailed as the ‘backbone’ of the Indian economy, and have formed relationships in the sector. Ironically, both Amazon and Flipkart have been usually at the wrong end, in several lawsuits filed against them by numerous retail associations across India.
“With the strong capability within the group in B2B, we will focus on meeting the needs of kiranas and MSMEs by providing these small businesses a wide selection at significant value, powered by technology to make their lives easier. Whether in grocery, general merchandise or fashion, these businesses will have one-stop access to an extensive selection of products with attractive schemes and incentives, supplemented with data-driven recommendations for stock selection, delivered through a fast and reliable network to drive greater efficiencies,” said Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President and Head – Flipkart Wholesale.
Among features offered to partners include an easy credit facility to manage cash flow, a wide range of Flipkart assured quality products, simple and convenient order returns and speedy product delivery directly to their shops with an easy order tracking facility. Moreover, they will also be able to leverage insights from the Flipkart ecosystem to better understand customer demands specific to their area
so that they can buy and sell the right products.
“Flipkart Wholesale will draw on the strong merchandising experience of the Best Price team, its strong relationships with brands, deep DNA of servicing kiranas and 12+ years of experience in operating Best Price stores. This will provide invaluable insights and on-ground expertise to further develop and nurture a model that puts the needs of kiranas and MSMEs at the centre of Flipkart Wholesale’s business,” Flipkart says.
That being said, it’s not like Flipkart has done nothing to expand its presence in retail. The Walmart backed giant acquired all of its parent’s wholesale business in India in July, which was the first step towards setting up today’s announcement. It has also tried to take another shot at hyperlocal delivery under the namesake “Flipkart Quick.”