Flipkart unveils 'dark stores' to ramp up local deliveries

(Image credit: Flipkart)

Flipkart's battle competition with its competitors is getting interesting.

The Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce biggie has come up with a slew of measures to face up to the challenge thrown up by JioMart, Amazon, BigBasket, and the new entrant Swiggy. And as part of it, Flipkart is rolling out 'dark stores', which are essentially shops or outlets operated to service customers in nearby localities, across several cities in India. These dark stores are quintessentially warehouses.  In the case of JioMart, it will also use its own Reliance Retail stores. 

The Economic Times reports that Flipkart is planning to enhance its food and grocery-specific warehouses by setting up small storage spaces measuring 3,000-4,000 square feet in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and other pivotal cities.

Flipkart in addition to its plans to use kirana stores, is creating its own independent network of such storage facilities in various cities.

FMCG items will be supplied frequently to these storage spaces from fulfillment centres outside the city.

Flipkart's fulfillment centres are  also large warehouses that are the final destination for last-mile delivery of merchandises such as consumer electronics, sports and other stuff. Now, Flipkart's dark stores will be the last port of call for food, groceries, and FMCGs for faster delivery as they are located within the city.

Flipkart moves into top gear

The fact that Flipkart is unveiling a plethora of activities makes its clear that it is all ready to take on the competition, which is getting intense. 

Flipkart last week announced the launch of its hyperlocal services, Flipkart Quick, in Bengaluru. It promises consumers delivery of around 2,000 items like grocery, fresh, dairy, meat, mobiles, electronics accessories, stationery items and home accessories within 90 minutes. 

Flipkart also recently acquired Walmart's local cash-and-carry business to strengthen its wholesale offerings to mom-and-pop stores.

Flipkart recently secured an additional $1.2 billion in funding.

Stung by cancellations and returns that cash on delivery option sometimes, unfortunately ends up in, Flipkart has also come with a via media plan: part payment option.

Ever since the lockdown, demand for hyperlocal services has skyrocketed. Since lockdown, Zomato, Dunzo and Swiggy have also entered the segment in a major way. While Amazon has been at it, JioMart has also entered the fray in 200 cities across India since May.

Source: Economic Times.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.