US-based giant, Walmart is gearing up to scale its “Mera Kirana Programme” and make it part of its main business in India while opening up new fulfilment centre to expand its foothold in the country.
Notably, the e-retailer has been piloting the Mera Kirana Programme from last four years and now wants to include it in its mainstream business. The programme helps small grocery stores modernise. Moreover, as per the sources, the company is also looking forward to opening a “dark store” or warehouse, in Lucknow over the next month or so.
Mera Kirana is focused on creating zones in the Best Price Wholesale stores which resemble a modern kirana store. It is a kind of model for mom-and-pop (kirana) store owners to replicate when it comes to assortment and placement.
Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs officer at Walmart India said,
We’ve seen a lot of loyalty from Kirana stores because they understand that we are not just selling to them we are also helping them become modern. We’ve seen healthy double-digit growth in our membership base year-on-year.
Walmart currently runs 21 Best Price Stores in India and has 1 million active customer base, 70% of which constitutes Kirana stores.
Another strategy that Walmart is devising for India is fulfilment centres. It had opened its first fulfilment centre last year in Bhiwandi near Mumbai. These centres are housed as warehouses operated by third-party logistics firms and will be used by Walmart to service kirana stores in the vicinity.
Kumar further added that the time frame required to seek necessary permits and approvals for setting up Kirana stores is quite tedious. Hence, it is working on its complimentary approach that allows Walmart to go to market faster.
Walmart had last month sealed one of the biggest e-commerce acquisitions in the world by purchasing a 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 billion. And now, it is actively eyeing to grasp its hold in the booming Indian market which is at the current valuation of $30 billion and is expected to reach $202 billion by 2028, as cited by Citi Research Report.