Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has tied-up with omni-commerce technology solutions provider hybris software, a SAP company, to converge its digital and physical channels, reports Business Standard. Following this tie-up all Future Group brands are expected to be available online from March 2015. Future Retail joint managing director Rakesh Biyani told the publication that Future Group will invest Rs 100 crore over the next 18 months on the omni-commerce platform.
Last month Future Group had launched a B2C e-commerce portal for its direct selling service Big Bazaar Direct. The BS report claims that the portal hasn’t performed as well as expected and will be integrated into the omni-channel strategy.
Once omni-channel retail operations are fully functional consumers will, apparently, be able to view the inventory and order products online and pick-up the ordered products from the nearest Future Group store or get it home delivered. In case the products ordered are out of stock at the store it will be delivered to the consumer’s home when new stocks arrive. The company claims that consumers will be able to pick from over 250,000 items available across its stores or website on this new platform. In comparison a Big Bazaar outlet has a capacity of storing 40,000-60,000 items.
What happened to earlier e-commerce plans?
Earlier this year, in July Kishore Biyani had said that Future Group plans to launch an e-commerce platform in October. He had also said that they were currently running an e-commerce pilot in Akola, Amravati and Bhilwara and would be launching it in a phased manner starting with the electronics category in October and followed by sports. In fact, the company also revealed that Hong Kong-based Li & Fung will be taking care of supply chain management for the e-commerce venture. What happened to this plan?
And then there’s FutureBazaar.com
The Future Group was one of the first entrants into the e-commerce space in India, with FutureBazaar.com, and was one of the dominant e-commerce players in the Indian market in 2008-09. The platform was relaunched in October 2010 after a period of consolidation. However, it never took off.
The last we heard about FutureBazaar.com was when Vivek Biyani took over the reins of the online portal in March 2013, after Kashyap Deorah quit the company to start his new venture Just Chalo.