RIL at heels, Flipkart rushes to step up Reliance on local stores

RIL at heels, Flipkart rushes to step up Reliance on local stores

NEW DELHI: As Reliance Retail prepares to roll out its “new-commerce” multi-channel retail play by bringing millions of kiranas or small neighbourhood stores on board, Walmart-owned Flipkart is also courting them in a big way.

To begin with, Flipkart plans to make 15,000 small convenience stores, beauty salons, bakeries and pharmacies, among others, sell something they normally don’t stock: smartphones. It plans to push other products in future, and also use these stores as last-mile delivery agents.

The ecommerce giant is currently piloting a project in Telangana, where it has partnered with about 800 small shopkeepers to sell mobile phones through the Flipkart app. The company ships the phones to the stores from where the orders originate, and the kiranas in turn deliver them to the buyers, earning a retailer’s margin, said two people familiar with the development.

“The shops use a separate affiliate link in the Flipkart app to conduct business,” said one of the persons.

Though deep-pocketed ecommerce companies have made major inroads into India’s retail sector over the years and have cornered billions of dollars worth of business, more than 95% of retailing in the country still happens through brick-and-mortar stores.

Competition is expected to intensify in the Indian ecommerce space with RIL’s entry later this year. The Mumbai-based conglomerate is also trying to loop in small and big physical retailers for its platform.

Pilot Projec ..

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