Big Bazaar, the retail chain owned by the Kishore Biyanis' Future Group, is going full steam ahead with its 'virtual franchisee' programme under the Big Bazaar Direct label. Big Bazaar has completed a pilot project for this in Nagpur, is set to go ahead with its virtual franchisee across the country.
"This is a hybrid model, which has benefit of both e-commerce and physical retail," said Vivek Biyani, director of Big Bazaar Direct, in New Delhi today.
Under this model, the franchisees could be a local kiranawala (small grocery shop), an individual businessman or even a housewife. The agent will take orders from customers and send them to Big Bazaar, which will deliver the goods at the buyer's doorstep. ''This business model does not require the franchisee or the agent to have an inventory," Biyani pointed out.
The company has set a target of 10,000 franchisees by the end of 2015, and 50,000 franchisees in three to four years.
"Through this model we tried to provide a human interface of e-commerce. Every agent has a joining fee of Rs1 lakh and we provide them with a tablet with the help of which they can place order with us and track the order. They need to pay another Rs2 lakh towards security deposit and advance account each," Biyani said.
Advance account is the money deposited with the Big Bazaar group against which an agent places order.
The company already has 150 agents in Nagpur. "Now, we will focus on Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Gujarat and by March we expect to have 1,000 agents," he said.
"We cannot put up a Big Bazaar everywhere. But this model will help us reach many more new customers," Biyani added.
At present, Big Bazaar has 240 stores across the country.
About the amount of business this model would generate, Biyani said, "In future we expect every agent to get Rs4-5 lakh worth of business every month."