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Flipkart logistics unit ekart on expansion veils

Monday 9 January 2017 | 12:24 PM CET

ekart, the delivery arm of the Indian ecommerce business Snapdeal, is planning to expand its operations by tapping into food deliveries, for example, as well as aggressively cut costs and tie up with offline retailers and small neighbourhood stores.

ekart head Saikiran Krishnamurthy said the company would “relaunch the courier business” and tie up with offline retailers for drop-offs and pick-ups. Flipkart so far has alliances with Blue Dart, ECom Express and other operators of courier services, dealstreetasia.com reports.

“Our courier model has so far been an online pickup-centric model—which means you go to our website, you order a courier and someone comes to your home and picks it up. But the courier is a mature industry. The belly of the courier market is not in online pickup, but in offline drop-off,” said Krishnamurthy, the source cites.

Flipkart’s ekart arm is responsible for order fulfilment, post-delivery and seller services. It is employing more than 20,000 workers who deliver smartphones, clothes, shoes, TVs and other products to customers. Ekart started delivering orders for other online retailers and third-party merchants in 2016 and started handling logistics for Alibaba-backed Paytm.

Ekart’s Krishnamurthy said the company would continue to look for more ways to bring down costs, mainly through further use of existing company resources, investments in technology and automation. Functions such as supply chain and logistics are typically the two most resource-intensive areas in the ecommerce business and over the years companies such as Flipkart and Amazon have been trying to find newer ways of reducing costs for each delivery.

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