Over the years, Walmart India has built a solid foundation in the country, with the mission of enabling small businesses to prosper. Since opening its first Cash and Carry store in 2009, Walmart India has served more than a million members, with a keen focus on kiranas and other small businesses.
One key driver for the business has been creating value for members, small farmers, local and regional suppliers, associates, and women-owned businesses. Now, as a result of the announced Walmart and Flipkart partnership, these efforts can reach new heights, enabling the businesses to grow alongside, within its many local communities and contributing to significant national initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, Skilling India and ‘Digital India’
India is experiencing transformative change across society, which makes the timing of this partnership important. The country is growing at a phenomenal pace, with eCommerce growing at an even faster rate. Flipkart brings a passion for customers, combined with an ability to innovate and solve the challenges that can get in the way of a great customer experience. By working together, Walmart and Flipkart will accelerate their commitments to drive job creation, small business growth, expand markets for rural farmers and continue to lead the way in creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
At the same time, Walmart’s stakeholders — including its Cash and Carry members — are watching the company they spend their time and money with more closely than ever. And through the Flipkart investment, Walmart has underscored its vision of a shared future in India. Together with Flipkart, we’re committed to helping support kiranas as they modernize their businesses through an expanded supply chain, sharing best practices in retail and technological advances. At the same time, the partnership along with increased focus on agri supply chain investment will help rural farms generate more income – particularly for small farmers – mainly due to improvement in farming techniques, increased access to markets and less food waste in the value chain from farm to fork.
Meanwhile, these stronger supply chains will be an essential part of driving economic growth. Through investments to make the supply chain safer and to improve food storage capabilities, we can make a meaningful impact in the reduction of food waste. Additionally, these investments will also help elevate India’s global presence in the export market. With improvements in storage capabilities and supply chain, combined with the Walmart and Flipkart partnership, the opportunity to export Indian-made merchandise to the Walmart markets across the globe will increase dramatically.
There are multiple examples of how this concept of “creating shared value” has contributed significantly to growth of various partner members at Walmart India. A case in point is of a new entrepreneur Vinay Kotra in Hyderbad, who in March 2017 was venturing into retail through “SKS Daily Needs” a Modern retail, for the first time. Walmart Best Price store team got involved helping Vinay with the design concept/ store layout/margin benefits/payment solutions/customer service, delivery solutions, assortment mix and other retail operations nuances. Now he plans to open more of such stores on the basis of his success in the first.
Similar is success story of Deepti Chauhan from Lucknow who after quitting her job in a city two years back went back to her farm at Bassi Ka Talaab, 30 km away from the Best Price store in Lucknow. Walmart onboarded her as its supplier in 2016 and started sourcing exotic vegetables. Gauging her potential and willingness to scale up and experiment, Walmart strengthened her understanding of food safety compliance guidelines for packed produce. They guided her through various methods of packaging and supported her in extending her supply chain so that she could cater to stores in Meerut and Agra.
On the vendor development front the case of Annkoot Agro Food, a papad manufacturer from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, stands out. In 2008 it began supplying to three of Walmart India’s Best Price Stores with a turnover of Rs 3 lakh per month. Annkoot has now grown to be multi crores enterprise employing over 150 people today, 40 per cent of whom are women.
Ultimately, Walmart India and Flipkart firmly embrace the concept of `Shared Value’, which means working together with a business model designed to benefit everyone: members, associates, farmers, suppliers, communities and society in general. Without question, India’s future is filled with excitement and possibilities. Through this partnership, both Walmart and Flipkart have made it clear they share the same vision and are committed to standing with India as it grows into the future.
(The writer is senior vice president, Walmart)