Flipkart set to start hyperlocal delivery services

Walmart-owned Flipkart will begin testing its hyperlocal delivery service in Bengaluru in the next few weeks, starting with groceries.

Walmart-owned Flipkart will soon launch a new hyperlocal delivery service that will enable customers to receive items from nearby stores, according to sources.

Flipkart is looking to start testing the service in Bengaluru in the next few weeks, beginning with grocery deliveries, sources close to the development said.

One of the sources said Flipkart will utilise the last-mile capabilities of logistics firm Shadowfax to facilitate the deliveries. Last year, Flipkart had led a $60 million funding round in Shadowfax, which offers an on-demand, last-mile logistics network.

Flipkart did not respond to e-mailed queries.

The service will be available via the Flipkart app, and initially, deliveries will be done from local warehouses and select shops.

Online grocery delivery has gained significant traction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the entry of Reliance-owned JioMart in the segment, the competition is set to intensify further. Offline retailers, who have taken a major hit on account of the lockdown, are also keen on partnering with digital platforms to facilitate delivery of goods.

In the past few months, Flipkart has partnered with retail chains like Spencer's and Vishal Mega Mart to enable hyperlocal deliveries of groceries and essentials in various cities.

Recently, Flipkart introduced voice technology to help consumers discover and buy products easily using commands in Hindi and English.

Called the 'Voice Assistant', the feature is being rolled out on Flipkart's grocery platform first. More languages can be expected in due course.

"Our indigenously developed and AI-enabled Voice Assistant, which is first introduced for grocery, will make shopping simpler for consumers by assisting them in an easy basket-building experience," said Manish Kumar, Senior Vice President of grocery and general merchandise and furniture at Flipkart.

The company said it undertook a detailed ethnographic study for over five months, in multiple towns and cities, to gather insights and opportunities, which led to the development of Voice Assistant for grocery.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)