Amazon, the leading e-tailer is now in a mood to take on board our neighbourhood kirana stores online. Kirana Now, the India specific innovation, will be the delivery platform in partnership with mom-and-pop stores. The pilot run will first begin in Bengaluru. Later, Amazon intends to scale it on a national level.
Kirana Now is being structured especially to suit the local market and designed to be a by-India, for-India service, stated Amazon India's country head Amit Agarwal. "We want to provide maximum convenience to customers when shopping for their everyday needs and enable them to shop from the ecosystem of their local stores on their mobile phones and get things delivered when they really need it," Agarwal said.
Till now, only vertical players like Big Basket are into grocery e-tailing with the horizontal e-tailers focusing more on electronics and apparel. Hyper local delivery apps like Grofers, modelled on the likes of Instacart and Postmates, have tied up with grocery stores to facilitate in express deliveries.
Amazon, presently, operates on the marketplace model, by connecting merchants to buyers. It has introduced this service only on its mobile platform and plans to deliver within a span of two-four hours.
"These corner stores, which would be listed as sellers, will upload their catalogues online on our platform and we would help with the back-end and technology," Agarwal said. The deliveries would be taken care of by Amazon, the kiranas and third-party logistics.
Last year itself, Amazon had started using kiranas as pick-up and delivery points. This was an indigenous adaptation of the Amazon Lockers, which the company operates in the US and some other markets. The online commerce major competes fiercely with homegrown e-tailers Flipkart and Snapdeal. This plan was initiated in around 500 stores across 28 cities.
A retail consulting firm pointed out that food and grocery retail business is about $370 billion out of the overall $530-billion retail (merchandise) spending that was done in 2014-15. So major horizontal e-commerce players looking to amass gross merchandise values (GMVs) in double-digit billions of dollars have no other option than to enter the F&B segment in order to achieve these goals.
Arvind Singhal, chairman at retail consulting firm Technopak, said, "The food and grocery retail business is about $370 billion out of about the overall $530-billion retail (merchandise) spending that was done in 2014-15. Major horizontal e-commerce players chasing gross merchandise values (GMVs) in double-digit billions of dollars have no option but to enter the F&B segment in order to achieve these goals."
In the US, Amazon since 2007 has been operating AmazonFresh, an online grocery delivery service. The model of operation is home delivery of products on the same day or the next day. In this business, it competes with Google Express and one of the hottest San Francisco-based startups, Instacart.