Flipkart Wholesale, digital B2B (business-to-business) marketplace unit of Walmart-owned Flipkart Group, on Wednesday said it has started operations in three Indian cities and will connect local manufacturers with retailers.
The move will allow the company to compete more aggressively against rivals like Udaan and Amazon, which operate wholesale business in the country.
"We are starting with fashion (including apparel, footwear and accessories) in Gurugram, Delhi and Bengaluru, and we will expand to 20 more cities by year-end and in categories such as home and kitchen, and grocery," Flipkart Wholesale Senior Vice President and Head Adarsh Menon told PTI.
He added that Flipkart Wholesale is a one-stop solution for the retail ecosystem that will offer Indian businesses a wide selection of products at significant value, powered by technology.
The aim is to help kiranas grow their business using technology, Menon said.
In July, the Flipkart Group had announced launch of Flipkart Wholesale and acquisition of 100 per cent interest in Walmart India that operated the 'Best Price cash-and-carry' business.
Menon said the 'Best Price cash-and-carry' outlets, which support more than 1.5 million members, including kiranas and other MSMEs, continue to operate separately.
The B2B market for finished goods is estimated to be worth USD 650 billion.
Flipkart Wholesale had previously said that to start with, it will focus on USD 140 billion of that USD 650 billion, which is largely the categories of fashion, grocery, general merchandise, large and small electronics.
Foreign e-commerce companies have often faced criticism from the trader community in the country and have been accused of anti-competitive tactics and in turn, hurting business of other smaller sellers.
Both Flipkart and Amazon are focussing on bringing kirana stores onto their platforms.
Earlier this year, Amazon had announced an additional investment of USD 1 billion to digitally enable 10 million micro, small, and medium businesses in the country by 2025, including artisans, manufacturers, retailers, and local shops.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's JioMart is also working towards linking local kirana stores and consumers over the highly popular chat service WhatsApp, as part of its strategy to tap into the burgeoning e-commerce market in India.
Flipkart Wholesale platform will be available to retailers via the app on Google Play Store. The company aims to rope in over 300 strategic partners and have over 2 lakh listings in 2 months.
Additionally, the platform will enable onboarding of 50 brands and over 250 local manufacturers in the coming days.
"Whether in grocery, general merchandise or fashion, these businesses will have one-stop access to an extensive selection of products with attractive schemes and incentives, supplemented with data-driven recommendations for stock selection, delivered through a fast and reliable network to drive greater efficiencies," Menon said.
He added that the company will also be open to making available its private label products if it sees demand.