Meghna Maiti, Financial Chronicle
Mumbai, 2 August 2012
If you are worried about the long queues at your neighbourhood Big Bazaar during the much-awaited Independence Day sale, help is at hand. For the first time the supermarket chain, is now coming to a computer screen across the commercial capital of Mumbai with the Biyani-led venture starting an e-tailing offering bigbazaar.com.
Customers who purchase goods through the site are promised delivery at their homes within three business days for a convenience charge of Rs 50 per order if the value is under Rs 500. “We just launched the e-tailing venture and are experimenting with what products to offer through the portal and how much to charge etc. It’s still in the experimentation stage and learning’s will be gleaned before we scale this beyond the city,” a top Future group official who requested anonymity told Financial Chronicle.
The e-tailing venture that promises home delivery of its merchandise across Mumbai could potentially do away with the drudgery of shopping on weekends and take care of the issue of long queues at billing counters on holidays and weekends. It will also allow the Biyani franchise to boost sales without adding real estate and salary costs, said industry experts. “Adding an online interface is the smartest thing to do at a time most retailers are going multi-channel,” said Saloni Nangia, senior vice-president at retail consultancy Technopak Advisors.
The biggest constituent of Kishore Biyani-owned Future Group will offer potential customers buy non-perishable products right from food and grocery to apparel save for fresh, dairy and frozen products, oil pouches, jams and sauces and loose cereals etc. The e-tailing venture has gone live just before the crucial Independence Day sale, which is one of the biggest revenue earners of Big Bazaar in the year. Big Bazaar will also offer cash on delivery option for this service, which is likely to give serious competition to kirana stores. For orders above Rs 500 in value, there is no delivery charge.
“When any company treats its online venture as just an add-on, it does not run very well. The company has to treat it as a different business environment with a clear model to succeed,” said Devangshu Dutta, CEO at consultancy firm Third Eyesight.
While the company’s online retail arm, futurebazaar.com is already operational; it has launched new initiatives in the e-commerce space such as SMS short codes, teleshopping proximity marketing through mobile phones. The initiative has helped Future Group, one of the first modern retailers to move into digital commerce in a big way. It will compete with portals such as eBay.com, Indiatimes.com and rediff.com as well as with websites of Shoppers Stop and Landmark, on the internet.