Flipkart ready to step into online grocery again; Staples & dry products the starting point

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In celebration of its 10 successful years in ecommerce, Flipkart has decided to explore the online grocery scene once again. The etailer’s CEO confirmed that the platform will delve into online grocery soon. Following in rival Amazon’s and DMart’s footsteps, the online marketplace has decided that it is finally ready to test the waters of online grocery through the FMCG and consumables category.

Why is this category on Flipkart’s mind?

FMCG and consumables as a group ranks third on Amazon India. For Flipkart, the largest online retailer in the country, mobile devices, apparel and large appliances have been driving sales. By launching staples and FMCG plus promoting this group of products, the etailer intends to turn its mobile and high-value product buying shoppers into regular customers on its platform.

Its FMCG and consumable’s category will be launched in July, revealed a source aware of this plan.

How will the new category be promoted?

Flipkart will keep prices attractive to match DMart’s strategy. The platform will also offer incentives to frequent shoppers through programmes similar to the ones offered via Amazon Pantry. Cashbacks will also be provided like Amazon does through Amazon Pay.

With regards to this project, Flipkart’ Vice President, Adarsh Menon said, “Staples will be a different brand to be rolled out in July-end or August. The promise of staples is around freshness and good healthy food and that is how the brand identity will be set up.”

This will be the second time Flipkart tires out the on-demand grocery and consumables delivery space. A pilot of the service will be introduced in Bangalore. The main focus will lie on selling staples and dry products. This is mainly because the company is yet to put the final touches to its plans to supply and deliver fresh and perishable goods, said sources within the company.

Mirroring Amazon Pantry

Amazon Pantry ships staples, FMCG and personal care products. These are delivered in 15 Kg boxes at Rs.20. On the first and second of every month, shoppers using this service receive attractive deals as a part of the Super Value Days. This, in turn, has increased the number of repeat customers on the platform.

Flipkart wants to create something similar through its own FMCG and consumables category. Its venture will start off with branded products at discounted prices and some private labels as well. It will concentrate on selling directly to consumers where Flipkart delivery meets expectations, said experts following this space.

Sreedhar Prasad, partner ecommerce and startup at KPMG India, said, “Flipkart has focused on acquiring customers in the B2C space all these years and it is unlikely they will sell to hotels, restaurants, caterers (HoReCa) and kirana network to begin with. The way for the grocery sector to grow is through the hyperlocal-blended model, where people receive the supply directly from Flipkart in regions where they have a warehouse or from suppliers to the marketplace in absence of a hub nearby.”

Besides Amazon, Flipkart will also have to look at BigBasket’s strategies and performance in online grocery to make sure it makes few mistakes and relies on strategies that work in this field of online retail.

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