As Competition Intensifies, Hemant Badri to Lead Flipkart’s Q-Commerce Operations

Walmart-owned retail giant Flipkart is doubling down on its quick commerce ambitions amidst escalating competition in the sector. In a strategic move, Hemant Badri, Flipkart’s Senior Vice President and Group Head of Supply Chain, has been entrusted with additional responsibilities to spearhead the company’s foray into quick commerce, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The decision comes at a crucial juncture as the quick commerce landscape witnesses fierce battles for market dominance. Characterized by lightning-fast deliveries ranging from 10 to 29 minutes, in India, the sector has swiftly transformed from a luxury to a necessity in just over three years.

Badri, who has been associated with Flipkart for over 3 years, brings a wealth of experience to the table. With a robust background spanning over a decade at Unilever and more than 8 years at Colgate Palmolive, Badri’s expertise in supply chain management positions him as a pivotal figure in Flipkart’s quick commerce strategy.

While competitors like Zomato’s Blinkit, Swiggy Instamart, and Zepto rely on extensive networks of dark stores to fulfill orders, Flipkart is charting a distinctive course. Sources indicate that Flipkart intends to leverage existing kirana stores for its quick commerce operations.

According to an industry executive familiar with Flipkart’s plans, the company believes in the strategic advantage of partnering with neighborhood kirana stores instead of establishing new dark stores. This approach minimizes costs and bypasses regulatory hurdles associated with setting up new facilities.

Well-place sources reveal that Flipkart will equip these kirana stores with technology to help them improvise and eventually meet demands quickly. However, the company is still fine-tuning delivery timelines with potential dark store partners.

It was also reported recently that discussions between Flipkart and Zepto for a potential deal have reportedly fallen through. Despite Flipkart’s offer valuing Zepto at under USD 2 billion, the deal failed to materialize, with Zepto opting for a financial round over a strategic sale.

Flipkart’s strategic pivot towards kirana stores aligns with broader market trends. Analysts foresee a shift from unorganized retail to quick commerce in India, driven by the latter’s convenience and accessibility. HSBC analysts assert, “India is likely to graduate directly from unorganized retail (kirana stores) to quick commerce…this is driven by the fact that quick commerce imitates most attributes of unorganized retail in India.”

The burgeoning significance of quick commerce is underscored by its meteoric rise, with annual sales estimated at USD 5 billion within three years, according to Goldman Sachs. Moreover, quick commerce already constitutes around 8% of the e-commerce industry and is poised to capture 20% market share by FY29, as per UBS analysts.

Notably, while quick-commerce ventures have faltered in other markets, the Indian ecosystem continues to thrive. Experts attribute this resilience to Indian consumers’ preference for frequent, smaller purchases over bulk shopping, aligning with the convenience offered by quick commerce.

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