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Walmart likely to advance its pan-Indian e-commerce plans

July 21, 2014 09:14 IST

Walmart likely to advance its pan-Indian e-commerce plans

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Anusha Soni

If the online plans of some of the biggest retailers are anything to go by, this year's Diwali is going to be a bright one for India's e-commerce market.

The world's largest retail chain Walmart, which began its two-city e-commerce pilot earlier this month, for instance, plans to roll out pan-Indian operations of its wholesale online venture around October.  

Besides, leading Indian retailer Future Group is planning to take the e-commerce plunge - its second attempt - around the same time.

Other key retailers like Reliance Retail and Aditya Birla group are also expected to launch their ambitious e-retail services close to the festival time of Dussehra and Diwali.

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Image: The world's largest retail chain Walmart, which began its two-city e-commerce pilot earlier this month, for instance, plans to roll out pan-Indian operations of its wholesale online venture around October.
Photographs: Reuters

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Walmart likely to advance its pan-Indian e-commerce plans

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According to its original road map, Walmart wanted to roll out e-commerce services in all cities where it has brick-and-mortar presence sometime in 2015.

But the American giant has advanced its plan; it is likely to offer e-commerce in the 19 Indian cities across which it has 20 stores (Bhopal has two stores) by October. 

E-TAIL BANDWAGON  

    * Direct competition to leading e-commerce players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon

    * Reliance to debut with perishable commodities like vegetables, meat in Mumbai

    * Future to offer perishable commodities in select cities

    * E-commerce share in overall retail market expected to grow from 0.4% to 3% by 2020

    * The total market size likely to expand to $32 billion by 2020

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Image: Walmart is bullish on Indian market.
Photographs: Jacob Slaton/Reuters

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Walmart likely to advance its pan-Indian e-commerce plans

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"Our pilot project for the cash-and-carry, or wholesale, e-commerce initiative in the two markets (Hyderabad and Lucknow) has received a very encouraging response from members.

We hope to extend this virtual shopping opportunity to our members across stores over the next few months," said a Walmart spokesperson in response to an emailed query from Business Standard.

He, however, refused to mention the month for launch of pan-Indian operations.

With about 15,000 unique registered users in each store, Walmart's focus in the e-commerce pilot was to tap a new customer base.

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Image: With about 15,000 unique registered users in each store, Walmart's focus in the e-commerce pilot was to tap a new customer base.
Photographs: Reuters

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Walmart likely to advance its pan-Indian e-commerce plans

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Walmart globally competes with online major Amazon in e-commerce. In India, foreign investment is not permitted in e-commerce - except in wholesale or the marketplace format.  

Marketplace is about hosting retailers on a site, and companies like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart and Snapdeal follow this model.  

Kishore Biyani-controlled Future Group, which directly competes with Reliance, will launch e-commerce in a phased manner beginning October.

"By the year-end, the entire Big Bazaar store will be online across India," Biyani had earlier told Business Standard.

Reliance will begin its e-commerce pilot in Mumbai, starting with the grocery segment.

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Image: Marketplace is about hosting retailers on a site, and companies like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart and Snapdeal follow this model.
Photographs: Reuters

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Walmart likely to advance its pan-Indian e-commerce plans

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With the brick-and-mortar giants' entry in e-commerce, a space earlier dominated by the likes of Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal is set to see change in the dynamics of competition.  

Though e-tailing is still a small contributor to the overall retail - accounting for only 0.4 per cent - it is expected to grow significantly.  

Compared with the current size of about $3 billion in 2014, the e-tailing market is expected to grow to over $30 billion by 2020.


Image: E-commerce a space earlier dominated by the likes of Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal is set to see change in the dynamics of competition.
Photographs: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

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