Flipkart setting up 'dark stores' for deliveries to take on Reliance JioMart

Flipkart setting up 'dark stores' for deliveries to take on Reliance JioMart

These stores will cater to Flipkart's hyperlocal delivery plans, a segment that has been booming since the coronavirus lockdown

Flipkart is bolstering its warehousing capacity across various Indian cities in face of competition from Reliance JioMart, BigBasket and recent entrants Swiggy and Zomato. The Walmart-owned e-commerce major is reportedly setting-up "dark stores", or outlets exclusively used for making deliveries to nearby locations, The Economic Times reported.

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 cities including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and others, the daily reported. FMCG items will be supplied frequently to these storage spaces from fulfilment centres outside the city, it quoted an anonymous source as saying.

Flipkart announced the launch of its hyperlocal services, Flipkart Quick in Bengaluru last week. Under this facility, buyers can get 2,000 items like grocery, fresh, dairy, meat, mobiles, electronics accessories, stationery items and home accessories within 90 minutes. Flipkart Quick will debut in select locations in Bengaluru including Whitefield, Panathur, HSR Layout, BTM Layout, Banashankari, KR Puram and Indiranagar.

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

Demand for hyperlocal delivery services has soared since the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak. Dunzo has been offering hyperlocal services, delivering goods from local shops, for some time now. Since lockdown, Zomato and Swiggy have also entered the segment in a major way.

Jio Platforms is expected to roll out an online service for Indian grocers and small businesses, while Amazon is adding small Indian shops as sellers on its platform to provide them broader online exposure.