As online retailers such as Paytm Mall and Amazon have strengthened presence in B2C food retail, global wholesaler Metro Cash and Carry has also observed the opportunity in the B2B e-commerce space and announced that it will allow its customers to place orders online by the end of December
As online retailers such as Paytm Mall and Amazon have strengthened presence in B2C food retail, global wholesaler Metro Cash and Carry has also observed the opportunity in the B2B e-commerce space and announced that it will allow its customers to place orders online by the end of December. Under the current regime, sales executives of Metro Cash and Carry collect orders from sellers. “Our sales teams go to the customer, punch in the order and it goes to the store concerned where the order is assembled. As soon as we receive the payment from sellers, the merchandise is dispatched and will be delivered to the customer within 24 hours,” Arvind Mediratta, CEO and MD, Metro Cash and Carry India, told FE.
Walmart India, Metro’s competitor in the B2B space, has also extended an e-commerce platform for its B2B players. Its Best Price store allows customers to browse and place orders via the online portal. In FY16, Metro Cash and Carry reported a net loss of `91 crore and sales of `4,629 crore, up 16.5% over FY15, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies. After more than 15 years of operations in India, the Germany-based wholesaler continues to post losses, while its rival Walmart India’s losses declined 65% to `232.2 crore in the 15-month period ended March 2016. Sales of the company grew 33.6% to `3,996 crore in the same time frame, compared with `2,991 crore for the 12 months ended March 2015. However, Mediratta claims that the business will turn profitable in a few years. As Metro strengthens its focus on technology, it has also installed point-of-sale machines at local kirana stores, which will help sellers manage daily sales, track profitability and cash-flows and also link inventory management to the wholesaler’s ordering systems. Currently, the company has more than 100 sellers under this programme to modernise retail.
“Our sales team has been given tablets, which give online information on pricing and availability of stocks in every store. By the end of this year, we will allow our customers to place orders on their own,” he added. Metro Cash and Carry has a 700-people sales team and it seeks to increase the number of stores from 24 to 50 by 2020. The company will be adding 30-40 sales personnel with each additional store. For the additional 25 stores, the company will be looking at large-format stores with an average area of 53,000 square feet. The company services three segments – small traders or kirana stores, HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and caterers) and services companies or enterprises. Currently, Metro garners about 40-45% of its total orders from Kirana and enterprises each and 15-20% from HoReCa. However, the company eyes huge opportunity in the HoReCa businesses, which is responsible for over 50% business in its foreign markets.