India-based Flipkart said its new wholesale operation, a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, has surged in popularity as the pandemic has pushed more sales online.
Flipkart Wholesale has seen a “75 percent month-on-month growth in customer base” since it was launched in September, Flipkart said in a press release emailed to PYMNTS. In addition, Flipkart Wholesale has “seen runaway success with 90 percent month-on-month growth in transactions on its platform since its launch.”
Initially, use of the related wholesale app was available in such large Indian cities as Bengaluru, Gurugram and Delhi. Flipkart is majority-owned by Walmart, which under Indian regulations can’t sell directly to shoppers via its websites or supercenters.
Recent growth, Flipkart said, has included smaller Indian cities. Flipkart said that “over 95 percent of overall sales at Best Price cash-and-carry stores” were due to growth in smaller cities. The company has 29 Best Price wholesale stores.
In part, the app is pitched to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), including what are called kiranas, typically mom-and-pop stores that sell groceries and other home goods.
“At Best Price, during the lockdown, we encouraged members to place orders on our e-commerce platform and have products delivered to them,” said Adarsh Menon, senior vice-president and head of Flipkart Wholesale and Walmart India. His company’s business customers “adapted very quickly to ordering online, and we believe this trend will continue going forward,” said Menon.
This month, talk has swirled around Flipkart having an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Reportedly, Walmart has been working with Goldman Sachs on having a U.S. offering; the goal would be raising $10 billion.
In October, Flipkart put $204 million toward buying a 7.8 percent stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. ABFRL has been building up its emerging fashion categories — athleisure, casual wear and ethnic wear. The company has also been focused on a large-scale digital transformation strategy.
This summer, Flipkart raised $1.2 billion in a funding round led by Walmart. The investment put Flipkart’s valuation at $24.9 billion.