Domestic e-commerce major Flipkart is opening collection centres, which will allow customers receive the goods ordered on its site. The move is aimed at making online purchases more convenient, besides finding a solution to "costly problem of failed package deliveries."
The Bengaluru-based online retailer has opened 20 such centres named as 'experience zones' in 10 cities and plans to increase their number to 100 by March next year.
The collection centres will be of great significance for Flipkart to scale up its operations in small towns and villages, as the success in such markets is highly dependent on these facilities.
Flipkart is setting up these centres in partnership with its logistics division Ekart.
"We believe this model is a resolution to customer unavailability issues, as it offers consumers a choice to adjust the delivery time and location according to their convenience," Neeraj Aggarwal, senior director of delivery operations at Flipkart, told The Economic Times.
"It also provides a solution to restrictions on delivery agents at tech parks, gated communities and universities," Aggarwal said.
A main challenge faced by domestic e-commerce firms is customers' absence at the time of delivery. Delivery failures result in increased costs for both the online retailers and their vendors.
Collection centres are expected to offer solution to delivery failures and "last-mile delivery costs", which constitute nearly 28 percent of total cost involved in transporting goods to the customers.
Flipkart saw 80 percent of orders collected at 'experience zones', which are opened to study their effectiveness, on a pilot basis.
The company also plans to roll out other value-added services at the stores, Aggarwal said. The services include spot trials, instant returns, cash on return, open box deliveries, product demos, and other third-party repair services.