Big Bazaar aims for 10,000 virtual franchisees in two years
Future Group-owned Big Bazaar is set to go ahead with its virtual franchisee programme — Big Bazaar Direct. The retail chain has completed a pilot project for this in Nagpur, a company official said.
“This is a hybrid model, which has benefit of both e-commerce and physical retail,” said Vivek Biyani, director of Big Bazaar Direct.
The company will be looking at building franchisees or agents across the country and has set a target of 10,000 franchisees by the end of 2015 or 50,000 franchisees in three to four years.
Through this model, the Rs. 9,000-crore Big Bazaar chain will look at making agents who could be a kiranawala (mom-and-pop stores), an individual businessman or even a housewife. The agent will take orders from customers and send it to the Big Bazaar who in turn will deliver the goods at the doorsteps. This business model does not require the franchisee or the agent to have an inventory.”
“Through this model we tried to provide a human interface of e-commerce. Every agent has a joining fee of Rs.1 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 Rs.2 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 now has 150 agents in Nagpur.
“Now, we will focus in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Gujarat and by March we expect to make 1,000 agents,” he said.
Asked about the rationale behind this model, Biyani said there were many aspirant customers to whom the product cannot reach. “We cannot put up a Big Bazaar everywhere. But this model will help us reach to many more new customers.”
At present, Big Bazaar has 240 stores across the country. With this model the company expects to go to Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Pune and Indore to achieve the targeted numbers of agents.
About the amount of business this model would generate, Biyani said: “In future we expect every agent to get Rs.4-Rs.5 lakh business every month.”