Retail giant Wal-Mart will roll out the online e-commerce platform to members of its Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in Guntur and Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh beginning October 1, and eventually extend e-commerce operations to all existing stores and maybe even to new stores.
The facility, which allows registered members to shop and book orders online, is already available in Lucknow and Hyderabad.Since Wal-Mart India’s cash and carry business is a business-to-business format, only registered members of the Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in these cities will be eligible to transact online.
The government doesn’t currently allow foreign direct investment in e-commerce.
“Given the tremendous support from our members for this initiative (e-commerce channel), we will continue to extend this in a phased manner to our other stores as well,” said Krish Iyer, president and CEO of Wal-Mart India. “Members have particularly appreciated our transparency and consistency of prices, availability of products and assortment besides the convenient payment options and efficient delivery solutions.”
Wal-Mart currently runs 20 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in India.
The company had inked a deal with the Bharti Group to eventually expand into retail, but that partnership was called off last year in the wake of policy uncertainties in multi-brand retail.
Wal-Mart is going solo for now and concentrating on the wholesale business in India, after having put the brakes on expansion for about a year.
Iyer had said last week that the company has restarted its expansion process and plans to open 50 more stores, taking its total strength to 70 outlets by 2020.
Wal-Mart’s wholesale push comes on the back of its expectations that the wholesale market in India could swell to about $700 billion by 2020 from $300 billion now.
Wal-Mart is not the only one bullish on wholesale.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail is rapidly expanding its cash-and-carry business under the Reliance Market brand, and has also announced plans to expand its retail business to e-commerce this year. E-commerce giant Amazon, which runs an online marketplace in India, is also reportedly looking to set up an online portal for wholesellers in India.