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This is Walmart’s first such plunge into launching the wholesale cash and carry business online. Globally, Walmart has operations in 11,000 retail units under 71 banners in 27 countries. Through its e-commerce pilot Walmart is targeting over 30,000 people to switch to the online platform in India. The company is targeting local kirana shops and other merchants within a radius of 40-50 km from the store compared to the current reach of about 20-30 km.
E-commerce represents an additional channel for us to serve our members better with the added convenience of ordering online, door-step delivery within 24 hours and several payment solutions, observed Krish Iyer, president and chief executive, Walmart India on the launch. On the other hand, local retailers and kirana shop owners affiliated with Confederation of All India Traders which has lobbied hard with the government to keep away FDI in multi-brand retail claimed they were not aware of the development. Even though there is the strong opposition to FDI and the companies such as Walmart should ensure that its only business consumers who are served and e-commerce is not a back channel for selling to non business consumers, claimed a local retailer from Lucknow.
This year, Walmart might see a 30% jump in its e-commerce revenue through global operations, according to firm’s projections. The company will sell its 5,000 SKUs available in stores through the online portal barring fresh and frozen products such as vegetables, fruits, meat, and ice-creams and start a e-commerce operations across all its twenty stores in India by January 2015.
Prior to the launch, Wal-Mart India organised workshops with members in the two cities to generate awareness about the initiative and to create a better understanding about website navigation, benefits and registration processes, the company said in a statement. The platform, www.bestpricewholesale.co.in, is for registered members of Best Price Modern Wholesale stores. At present, Wal-Mart is engaged in cash-and-carry business in India. It called off a six-year partnership with Bharti Enterprises in October last year and decided to operate stores independently in India.