Ekart takes a shot at serving third-party businesses, again
Flipkart's logistics arm Ekart is looking to offer end-to-end supply chain services to third-party businesses besides serving in-house demand from Flipkart and Myntra. It had rolled out a similar service back in 2014.
Ecommerce giant's in-house logistics arm Ekart has launched its warehousing-as-a-service for brands, manufacturers, and retailers across industries. The logistics provider will offer end-to-end supply chain solutions to businesses, including warehouse space, order management, integrated logistics, and inventory management.
Ekart launched the service for over 20 categories, onboarding brands and manufacturers from mobile phones and international and domestic apparel brands. It will also look to add categories besides the ones operated by Flipkart, said Mani Bhushan, Chief Business Officer (CBO) at Ekart.
Further, in March, it will open its logistics services to white goods companies. Now, Ekart handles logistics for 80-plus categories for its group companiesand .
“Same time last year, we wanted to open up Ekart’s services with some of the brands with last-mile services for ecommerce brands selling online. By June-July 2022, we realised the need of the industry was an integrated end-to-end service, and individual 3PL (third-party logistics) players will not be able to solve the problem of retailers,” Bhushan told YourStory.
Using Ekart’s logistics solution helps brands reduce inefficiencies in the supply chain, he said, adding that the company has been able to reduce the turnaround time (TAT) for brands by one to two days.
“With the launch of our independent Ekart brand in July 2022, we want to tell people that we are open for business,” added Bhushan.
Ekart has a pan-India supply chain network spread across 20 million square feet. As part of its latest offering to third-party businesses, the company will offer services across four dedicated sites, including Bilaspur (Haryana), Malur (Karnataka), Saidham (Mumbai), and Uluberia (West Bengal).
Besides, Ekart will offer 17 of its shared sites across India to third-party businesses.
Back in 2014, Ekart had piloted logistics delivery for third-party businesses with the last mile, introducing courier and hyperlocal services later in 2016. However, it pulled the plug on these services in 2017. Moreover, Ekart Logistics—a separate entity founded in 2009 by Flipkart—was rolled back into the parent company in 2015.
Ekart used to offer 3PL services to its competitors Paytm and ShopClues in 2016 but the business did not take off owing to concerns over sharing consumer data and analytics.
“Competing businesses had a concern back in the day as customer data was shared with the logistics arm for deliveries. Brands, too, were worried that their data would be used by the logistics arms of larger ecommerce entities to create private labels in high-demand categories,” said a third-party logistics company owner who has worked with Ekart Logistics and Amazon Transportation Services.
He added that getting into non-competing categories, such as paints and chemicals, would also require Ekart to register for relevant licenses and can be a challenge to scale the business.
Nonetheless, third-party logistics companies, including XpressBees, Delhivery, and Ecom Express, provide specialised offerings to tap into the growing market of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in India, especially those selling online.
This was also done to ward off the competition from logistics aggregation platforms like ShipRocket, which count large D2C brands among its top customers. Ekart will have to compete on pricing and services with these players for its third-party business.
(Infographics and feature image by Chetan Singh)
Edited by Suman Singh