Metro Cash & Carry to take ecom­merce route

Business Standard - - OPINION - KARAN CHOUDHURY More on busi­ness-stan­

From launch­ing an ecom­merce por­tal to han­dling the back­end op­er­a­tions of more than three mil­lion mom-and­pops and gro­cery stores, Ger­man whole­saler re­tailer Metro Cash and Carry is plan­ning to take ma­jor steps in the dig­i­tal space to take on the ris­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the bur­geon­ing B2B whole­sale re­tail space.

Over the last six months, the com­pany has changed its strat­egy to digi­tise the op­er­a­tions of its cus­tomer base. This will help Metro gain a bet­ter grip on the back­end op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing in­ven­tory man­age­ment, of all ki­rana store own­ers who are its clients and ward off com­pe­ti­tion from Wal­mart In­dia, Ama­zon In­dia, Alibaba and lat­est en­trant Lots Whole­sale.

Arvind Medi­ratta, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Metro Cash and Carry In­dia, said the com­pany is the leader in the seg­ment and the change in the strat­egy would help it gain more ground.

The com­pany has also come up with a host of store so­lu­tions from pro­vid­ing point of sale (POS) de­vices, digi­tis­ing cat­a­logues, to even back­end in­ven­tory man­age­ment so­lu­tion which it plans to launch soon. The com­pany as a pi­lot has also ‘mod­ernised’100 ki­rana stores and changed ev­ery­thing from the fa­cade of the stores, mod­ern fit­tings and fix­tures that would help own­ers serve cus­tomers bet­ter to mak­ing the whole re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence dig­i­tal.

“The stores that want to in­crease their busi­ness need to be­come more invit­ing and be­come dig­i­tal so that they can ser­vice cus­tomers faster. The changes we are do­ing to the store would cost them any­where be­tween ~50,000 to ~200,000 but the re­turn on in­vest­ment would be much higher. We ex­pect the rev­enues to in­crease by 40 per cent. If they sell more they will buy more from us as well,” said Medi­ratta.

While the com­pany is aiming to re­vamp and digi­tise all the three mil­lion stores it has as cus­tomers, it does not see it as a sep­a­rate rev­enue gen­er­a­tor but as a means to get­ting more busi­ness. Metro has part­nered with EasyPay for POS de­vices but plans to part­ner with other play­ers as well.

The com­pany is also plan­ning to launch an ecom­merce por­tal within the next few weeks. It said ecom­merce would help it get re­peat busi­ness from cus­tomers who are not able to make it to the store with greater fre­quency.

Ger­man whole­saler re­tailer Metro will be us­ing its store net­work for logistics, and han­dle prod­uct-de­liv­ery on its own

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