“With Flipkart Wholesale, our goal is to digitally transform kiranas and MSMEs in India”

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In this Q&A with Flipkart Stories, Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President and Head - Flipkart Wholesale, envisions how the new digital marketplace will enable growth and prosperity for small retail businesses in India. On September 2, Flipkart Wholesale launched operations in three cities -- Delhi, Gurugram and Bengaluru.

Flipkart Wholesale head Adarsh K Menon envisions the future of the digital platform for kiranas and MSMEs in India

On July 23, 2020, the Flipkart Group announced the launch of Flipkart Wholesale, a new one-stop digital marketplace aimed at transforming the kirana retail ecosystem in India by leveraging cutting-edge and locally developed technology. As part of this launch, the Group also announced the acquisition of 100% interest in Wal-Mart India Private Limited, which operates the Best Price cash-and-carry business, to leverage the strong wholesale capabilities of the company and enable growth and prosperity for kiranas and MSMEs.

Kiranas (neighbourhood general merchandise stories) and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) are the nerve centre of India’s retail ecosystem. Flipkart Wholesale focuses on meeting the needs of these small businesses by providing them with a wide selection at significant value, powered by technology, to bring convenience and ease to their operations. With Flipkart Wholesale, these small businesses in grocery, general merchandise or fashion will have one-stop access to an extensive selection of products. Among the key offerings are attractive incentives, supplemented with data-driven recommendations for stock selection, delivered through a fast and reliable network to drive greater efficiencies and better margins.

Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President and Head – Flipkart Wholesale, has a long track record with multiple leadership roles at Flipkart. He is excited to be part of this new initiative that leverages the synergies between Flipkart and Walmart India as the Flipkart Group deepens its focus on transforming the wholesale experience for kiranas and MSMEs.

Excerpts from a Q&A

What is the need gap that Flipkart Wholesale aims to address?

We are witnessing the coming of age of the retail space in India, and technology will be at the core of enabling growth and innovation — both in B2C and B2B. The Indian B2B market is large but with an antiquated distribution model. Today, 90% of commerce in India flows inefficiently through kiranas.

The current retail model proves to be a challenge, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. They have limited access to credit, inadequate product selection, and they withstand high leakages in margins. These MSMEs comprise approximately 85% of stores in our country. Neither current ways of working nor existing B2B companies can address their needs effectively at scale. With the strong capability within the Flipkart Group in B2B, we will focus on meeting the needs of kiranas and MSMEs by providing these small businesses a wide selection at significant value, powered by technology to make their lives easier.

How will Flipkart Wholesale empower MSMEs and kiranas?

As a one-stop digital marketplace solution for the retail ecosystem, Flipkart Wholesale offers small businesses a wide selection of products at significant value. Our goal is to digitally transform kiranas and MSMEs by helping them grow faster, retain their customers, and improve their profitability.

We will achieve this in a number of ways. One is to enable ease of procurement. Flipkart Wholesale will help small businesses procure goods in varied categories, starting with Fashion. This will be accompanied by attractive schemes and incentives, supplemented with data-driven recommendations for stock selection, which will be delivered through a fast and reliable network aimed at driving greater efficiencies and better margins.

Financial empowerment eases entry barriers and other hurdles to doing business. Flipkart Wholesale customers will have access to an easy credit facility to manage cash flow, a wide range of Flipkart Assured quality products, simple and convenient order returns, and speedy product delivery directly to their shops with an easy order-tracking facility.

In addition, our customers will have access to micro-market level B2B and B2C insights from the Flipkart ecosystem to better understand customer demands specific to their area so that they can buy and sell the right products.

What strengths is the new digital marketplace bringing to the current retail scenario in India?

The distribution model that serves India’s MSMEs and kiranas remains largely outdated. Combining the expertise of Flipkart and Best Price, we have the opportunity to transform the B2B ecosystem with technology. Flipkart Wholesale will leverage Flipkart’s strong homegrown technology capabilities, extensive leadership in the consumer e-commerce segment, and unique understanding of the industry in India. The business will also utilise the Flipkart Group’s vast supply chain infrastructure to reach kiranas and MSMEs across the country.

Flipkart Wholesale will draw on the strong merchandising experience of the Best Price team, its strong relationships with brands, deep DNA of servicing kiranas and 12+ years of experience in operating Best Price stores. This will provide invaluable insights and on-ground expertise to further develop and nurture a model that puts the needs of kiranas and MSMEs at the centre of Flipkart Wholesale’s business.One of India’s largest cash-and-carry businesses, Best Price currently supports more than 1.5 million members, including kiranas and other small businesses.

How can kiranas and MSMEs become part of Flipkart Wholesale?

Flipkart Wholesale is starting operations with the Fashion category where 95% of products will be sourced locally. The platform is currently available for fashion retailers, especially footwear and apparel, in Gurugram, Delhi and Bengaluru, and soon to Mumbai as well. By the end of 2020, Flipkart Wholesale will have three categories — fashion (apparel, footwear and accessories), home furnishing, and grocery — and we will expand to another 20 cities.

For kiranas and MSMEs, the onboarding process is quite easy and hassle-free. Business-owners can register through our website and download the Android app from Google PlayStore to follow a simple process to be onboarded where they will need to submit a few details and a proof of business — GSTIN, trade licence, shop and establishment licence, FSSAI registration, drug licence, Udhyog Aadhaar, etc.

Visit the official Flipkart Wholesale website to know more

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