E-Commerce giant Flipkart, which recently touched the 100-million registered user mark, is looking forward to open Brick and Mortar stores. The company is planning to open these stores in small cities as part of so-called-online to offline strategy to magnetize more customers.
The idea, known internally as assisted commerce, is one of several the company is working on. Said and executive who requested to not to mention his name. Flipkart is looking to double its current user base at the time when the Indian e-commerce market faces stagnation.
The aim of the company mainly to target the remote area of the company where people hardly aware about e-commerce and users have limited access to the Internet.
Flipkart’s engineering chief Ravi Garikpati confirmed that the company is working on the assisted commerce initiative. He further said the plan is still in very early stage. The O2o strategy could take a shape within the coming months.
Basically, we want to have some kind of a connect with the offline world as well and this is one of our upcoming initiatives, but this is not something that is out there yet. We are looking ahead aiming to win over the next 3-5 years and trying to grow the market, but there are the things that we need to do yet,” said Garikpati.
E-commerce companies in India have widely struggled to expand the market this year, and investors who were betting that India would create the world’s next Alibaba have had to temper expectation amid valuation markdowns and a slowdown in funding.
According to a research and advisory firm RedSeer Management Consulting’s estimate, the online retail sales fell to an annualized $12 billion in June compared with $15million in December
“If you look at it, e-commerce in the last year or so hasn’t grown extensively but we are the only one who pioneered and grew the market in India. Fortunately, we hung on to it and I feel we should have grown and taken more market from others and this is something that we will focus on for the future” said Garikpati. The company recently forged an association with e-commerce start-up StoreKing viewing of its o2o strategy.
Flipkart in not only the company who is betting on o2o as Amazon India has already launched its offline shopping initiative called Udaan in late 2014. Under this plan, the company selected trains, local entrepreneurs, to showcase its products in smaller cities and towns including the pockets of the metro where Internet connectivity is poor. Amazon has also signed a partnership with StoreKing, which has a presence in more the ten thousand outlets across south India.