“There’s definitely room to build a profitable grocery business, but it’s hard. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but it’s hard.”
True to his word, the Indian ecommerce leader has started the groundwork for its grocery segment. Flipkart recently rehired two of its ex-employees, Manish Kumar and Nitin Rajput to spearhead this ecommerce vertical.
Flipkart’s big plans for grocery
“We did not sell ‘churan’, ‘hing’, detergent, products of daily-need and virtual memberships. We sold products that people love to buy during the festival season such as smartphones, LED and apparel.”
Bansal had to eat his own words as Flipkart is now getting ready to sell the very same churan, hing and detergent. Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who replaced Binny Bansal as Flipkart’s CEO is keen on building a profitable grocery business through innovation. And it was Krishnamurthy who rehired Kumar and Rajput. This is new because many Flipkart’s top managers left the company after Krishnamurthy’s appointment.
Late last year, Krishnamurthy had said,
“We will do pilots (in grocery).But we are very serious about the category and have a long-term view on it. We believe we are now at a scale where it can be built in a sustainable way, which is through innovation. It’s easy to build it by burning a lot of capital.”
Manish Kumar had left Flipkart in May 2015 and Nitin Rajput has quit in August 2014. After leaving Flipkart, both were working together in a subscription based ecommerce start-up.
Now, Kumar is back in Flipkart as VP of Business Development and Rajput as a Director. Both would be responsible to make grocery a money-making category for Flipkart, which would be a very tough task due to wafer-thin margins.
Top managers are still quitting, though
Don’t let the above two recent joiners fool you. Managers are still leaving the Indian ecommerce unicorn. This time it is from Flipkart’s fashion offspring, Myntra.
Myntra’s co-founder Ashutosh Lawania has quit to company to start his own venture. In the recent management reshuffle:
- Myntra’s CMO Gunjan Soni has been appointed as head of Jabong
- Naresh Krishnaswamy has been promoted from VP – Head of Growth & Revenue to Head of Sales
- Head for New initiatives, Manpreet Ratia is in now charge of Supply Chain and Consumer Experience
Commenting on the top-level restructuring, Myntra’s CEO Ananth Narayanan said,
“As we continue on our journey to build a long-lasting and innovative fashion and lifestyle destination, we have made some strategic management changes to help drive continued growth.”
With Lawania’s exit, all the three original co-founders of Myntra have left the company. The other two co-founders were Mukesh Bansal and Vineet Saxena.