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Flipkart Wholesale said it has also launched short-term collateral-free credit solutions to its members for working capital needs in partnership with banks and fintech lenders. (Reuters photo)

The business-to-business marketplace of IPO-bound Flipkart – Flipkart Wholesale, which was launched in September last year with the acquisition of the wholesale business of Walmart in India that operated 29 Best Price cash-and-carry wholesale stores, on Monday reported a threefold increase in e-commerce adoption among its kirana members. Serving more than 1.5 million members including kiranas, hotels, restaurants & cafeterias, and offices and institutions, Flipkart Wholesale along with Best Price cash-and-carry business said that the growth has come among small kiranas in Tier-II and Tier III cities between January 2021 and June 2021. Flipkart Wholesale added one in every three customers is now transacting online through the Best Price app and website.

Kiranas and neighbourhood convenience stores have become the battleground for e-commerce and grocery platforms including Flipkart, Amazon, BigBasket, Grofers, JioMart, etc., particularly during the Covid period. The shift in consumer behaviour towards online shopping from traditional offline channels has pushed these platforms to strengthen their capabilities in getting the majority kiranas onboard. Currently, Bigbasket, Grofers, and JioMart are among the leading platforms, which compete with Flipkart Supermart, in grocery and/or daily essentials vertical.

“Flipkart Wholesale is built on the core value proposition of bringing prosperity to Indian kiranas by making their business easier using technology. All our efforts are aimed at helping small businesses which have emerged as self-starters in adopting e-commerce to make purchases,” said Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President and Head – Flipkart Wholesale in a statement. The company claimed a 2x growth in the number of members in dairy and fresh produce categories at Best Price while the membership base for stationery items and electronic appliances categories also doubled.

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Flipkart Wholesale had last month introduced Cash on delivery payment mode to all Best Price members who order through the Best Price app. The company said that it has also launched short-term collateral-free credit solutions to its members for working capital needs in partnership with banks and fintech lenders. Kiranas can get up to 14 days of interest-free credit from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25 lakh.

Grocery and wholesale businesses are among the key areas for Flipkart. At the Deutsche Bank’s virtual DbAccess Global Consumer Conference 2021 recently, Walmart International’s President and CEO Judith McKenna had said that “One of the investment areas, though, that we’re making against that is in the wholesale business, which is serving the small, medium sized businesses…but then also you have a nascent grocery business. Grocery penetration in India is massively low, accelerated through Covid. We’re just expanding our office there and it’s one of the few areas where Walmart can really help and support in terms of the learning for working with that.”

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