Bengaluru: In a bid to strengthen its last mile delivery ahead of the festive season, e-commerce major Flipkart has onboarded nearly 27,000 kirana stores across 700 cities to its pan-India supply chain in a span of six months.
With this partnership, the person delivering your everyday grocery items may also come to your doorstep with a Flipkart packet.
Flipkart said the move will add to its existing supply chain capabilities and help it reach out to millions of new consumers during the upcoming festive event, The Big Billion Days, while also helping kirana stores significantly increase their income.
This is expected to help Flipkart personalise the e-commerce experience for its existing 160 million customers, help deepen its reach to newer geographies and consumers and support kiranas.
"Kiranas are the oldest and most widely spread retail format in India which exhibit the modernness of the supply chain and deliver a successful customer experience management model," said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group.
"Our approach to inclusivity for last-mile partners is guided by the synergies we share. After digital payments, the next big revolution in kirana is going to be ushered in conjunction with e-commerce," Krishnamurthy said.
The nation-wide kirana onboarding started about six months ago, undertaken keeping in mind the massive scale of the upcoming festive season, which witnesses heightened demand from customers from across the country and also grow the business of its kirana partners.
"It will re-position and re-invent 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," Krishnamurthy 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 one million shipments everyday across almost all of the pincodes in the country.
With the 27,000 additional kirana stores in its fold, Flipkart will now be able to elevate the consumer experience, specially in tier-2 and tier-3 towns.
To seamlessly facilitate the onboarding process and their inclusion in the delivery process, Flipkart is leveraging its in-house tech solution called the "Allocation Engine", which helps automate allocation of shipments to delivery agents and partners including kirana stores.
By evenly spreading the shipments across various delivery models, "Allocation Engine" helps in increasing the efficiency of deliveries and offering better consumer experiences.
This large-scale inclusion of kirana stores in one of the largest e-commerce supply chain networks in the country may prove to be a game-changer in alternative delivery models.