How Flipkart Wholesale is Meeting the Needs of Kiranas and MSMEs

How Flipkart Wholesale is Meeting the Needs of Kiranas and MSMEs
The business'primary goal is to transform India's kirana retail ecosystem by leveraging its homegrown technology and innovation capabilities.

By Vaishnavi gupta , Sr Correspondent

26 Sep 2022 | 9 min read

Flipkart Wholesale started its business in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With a core objective of making business simpler and more accessible for small businesses and merchants, the brand’s ability to continue operations irrespective of disruptions certainly aided businesses to return to normal. Through its homegrown technology, wide pan-India network, and robust supply chain, the brand successfully met the needs of Kirana members and ensured business prosperity.

Enabling one-stop access to an extensive selection of products, Flipkart Wholesale provides them with data-driven recommendations for relevant stock selection, thereby increasing member’s retention and higher profits. “Our focus on – better visibility for companies and retailers, regional selection, growth of feet on street business, and credit services – were the critical factors of our growth. Being part of the Flipkart group gives us an edge as we can leverage the group's strong technology and supply chain infrastructure to reach Kiranas and MSMEs across the length and breadth of the country and help build a business model (the low-cost model in B2B) that can drive sustainable growth in the future,” Koteshwar LN, Business Head, Flipkart Wholesale said.

Omnichannel Approach

Flipkart Wholesale takes a three-pronged approach: in-store, where members can walk in to take advantage of exciting offers and its large selection of products; e-commerce channel, where the same array of products and services are available through its online channel; and assisted format, where its sales associates help members with their business needs. Through this omnichannel approach, the company is able to focus on both, topline and bottom-line growth.

The company currently has 28 stores and fulfillment centers, over 555 regional brands, and a significant online presence. Over 1.2 million Kiranas and MSME members have enhanced their reach using Flipkart Wholesale’s robust platform, which eases supply chain challenges and offers various value-based products.

“In order to nurture our relationships with members and make their shopping more rewarding, we have launched various offerings like 'E-Save Easy,' a first-of-its-kind exclusive and invite-only loyalty program where members can enjoy significant benefits over and above our every day exciting offers,” he asserted. The loyalty programs available for members across in-store and e-commerce channels are another step towards adding further value to its Kirana community and building a robust omnichannel platform.

A Technology Enabler

To overcome obstacles arising in B2B e-commerce, Flipkart Wholesale has come to the forefront of utilizing technology and innovation. The business' primary goal is to transform India's Kirana retail ecosystem by leveraging its homegrown technology and innovation capabilities.  

The brand recently introduced the 'Voice Search' feature on the app to make interactions easier on the platform by assisting Kiranas and retailers and using the search function better. The voice search technology helps members with the preference for Hindi and English guidance in the application. Another technology accessibility is ‘Scan2Buy’, which enables members to scan the item’s barcode and quickly access the product details. It helps streamline the otherwise manual process of cart making and checking out by enabling retailers to directly create a digital cart.

One of the significant challenges that MSMEs are still facing is easy access to financial services. The traditional payment market has been upended, and credit tools such as ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ have become a fitting substitute. The company has collaborated with several fintech players to help small retailers expand their inventory through larger purchases even when they lack the requisite funds.

“Our core value proposition lies in offering a hassle-free shopping experience on the app and digitalizing businesses of small retailers. As a technology enabler, we will continue to create innovations that will make digital commerce more inclusive, accessible, and convenient for existing and new members,” Koteshwar stated.

Changing Consumer Behavior

Koteshwar said consumers have shown a significant shift towards regional brands, unlike earlier when they were inclined to very few established brands. Owing to this, over the last six months, several regional brands have scaled their sales by 5x-10x with Flipkart Wholesale.

“We have also witnessed a soaring demand for regional brands, especially in categories like refined oils, packaged tea, atta, etc. This is mainly seen in General Trade, which contributes 80 percent of retail space and is also our core customer/ member base,” he added.

 As a result, the consumers are looking for affordable alternatives resulting in an increased inclination towards regional brands with significant demand for essentials (staples and home care). Parallelly, the price sensitivity and convenience of having everything under one roof have led modern trade and e-commerce channels to grow significantly.

Helping Kiranas Grow

The primary focus is to address the needs of its members, spanning credit facilities, language barriers, and so on. For instance, shopping through an online application has resolved the issue of going to stores, thereby reducing the waiting period and enhancing the member’s experience. Additionally, to help address the credit requirement of Kiranas, Flipkart Wholesale has partnered with several organizations to give its members access to buy now, pay later. Through these collaborations, the brand has been able to help its 1.5 lakh members, who can choose to receive instant credit.

Flipkart Wholesale’s strong focus is on meeting the needs of Kiranas and MSMEs by providing them with a wide selection at significant value, powered by technology to make their lives easier. Whether in grocery or general merchandise, 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 and better margins.

“Our assisted and unassisted channels help with the business journey of our members, creating increased ease of doing business. By unlocking the true potential of technology and innovation, Flipkart Wholesale today serves millions of MSMEs and Kiranas across India, where they can benefit from the entire spectrum of benefits/ features ranging from easy credit access, a wide selection of products, simple and convenient order returns, several cost saving schemes, and an option to choose from an expansive range of products that they can trust,” Koteshwar concluded.

Flipkart Wholesale started its business in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With a core objective of making business simpler and more accessible for small businesses and merchants, the brand’s ability to continue operations irrespective of disruptions certainly aided businesses to return to normal. Through its homegrown technology, wide pan-India network, and robust supply chain, the brand successfully met the needs of Kirana members and ensured business prosperity.

Enabling one-stop access to an extensive selection of products, Flipkart Wholesale provides them with data-driven recommendations for relevant stock selection, thereby increasing member’s retention and higher profits. “Our focus on – better visibility for companies and retailers, regional selection, growth of feet on street business, and credit services – were the critical factors of our growth. Being part of the Flipkart group gives us an edge as we can leverage the group's strong technology and supply chain infrastructure to reach Kiranas and MSMEs across the length and breadth of the country and help build a business model (the low-cost model in B2B) that can drive sustainable growth in the future,” Koteshwar LN, Business Head, Flipkart Wholesale said.

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