Flipkart Wholesale, the business-to-business arm of the Walmart-owned e-commerce firm, has launched operations starting with the fashion segment, focusing on footwear and apparel, two months after acquiring Walmart’s India business.
In July, Flipkart Wholesale acquired Walmart India’s loss-ridden cash-and-carry business that owns the Best Price brand, consolidating Walmart’s entire retail portfolio under the Flipkart Group.
In its fashion business, the company said it aims to onboard 50 brands and over 250 local manufacturers in the first phase, across Gurugram, Delhi and Bengaluru.
Flipkart Wholesale will compete with other deep-pocketed players like JioMart, Udaan, Metro Cash & Carry, and Amazon’s B2B division.
Differentiating Flipkart from its wider competitors, the online retailer’s wholesale unit plans to use insights from its parent’s business-to-consumer segment.
“Because of all the data that we have of customers on Flipkart and Myntra, we understand what customers are buying specific to the catchment in which the kirana (corner store) is located. So, if you are a kirana in Koramangala in Bengaluru or in Patel Nagar in Delhi, Flipkart Wholesale will serve you a curated assortment based on what customers in the same catchment are shopping and browsing for,” Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice-President and Head of Flipkart Wholesale said.
Menon added that historically manufacturers and distributors used to push the assortment that these shops were offered, and it was not based on data-led insights.
“Smart selection is a very big proposition from our end,” he said.
Flipkart is the dominant player in the online fashion retail segment. By year-end, Flipkart Wholesale also plans to expand to 20 more cities including Mumbai and across categories such as home and kitchen as well as grocery, Menon said.
Flipkart Wholesale customers will also have access to credit facilities, order returns, and speedy delivery with tracking facilities. Logistics will be taken care of by the company’s own unit, Ekart.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the willingness of small businesses to use technology to scale up operations, opening up a market that had in the past viewed technology companies as competitors.
According to a report by Redseer Consulting, three out of four of India’s mom-and-pop stores have no exposure to technology platforms for any service including payments or procurement.