E-retail companies have been trying to expand their footprint in India given the opportunity posed by COVID-19 pandemic. We have already seen some examples of diversification from e-commerce companies across the spectrum. Earlier, food delivery companies Swiggy and Zomato started testing liquor delivery in select Indian states. Then recently, Amazon started online medicine delivery in Bengaluru through Amazon Pharmacy.
And this time, after Amazon, Walmart owned Flipkart explores alcohol delivery in its platform. Walmart owned company Flipkart has partnered with Hipbar to deliver alcohol in West Bengal and Odisha shows government letters. Flipkart has partnered with a startup backed by Spirits Giant Diageo. Customers will be allowed to access Hipbar’s application on Flipkart to order alcohol online.
The state government of West Bengal and Odisha have mentioned that Flipkart can be associated as a technology service provider of Diageo -backed HipBar, an Indian alcohol home delivery mobile application. According to the state government letter, Customers will be permitted to place orders for drinks and alcohol directly through the Flipkart app. Then, HipBar will collect the contents from retail outlets, and deliver it directly to the end customer. “Flipkart wants to make sure that whatever customer wants, they get it. The margins (on liquor deliveries) may be low, but for Flipkart, it is about stickiness, so the customer doesn’t have to anywhere else,” said a source close to Flipkart. According to the estimates by WSR Drinks Market, the Alcohol market in India is worth more than $27.2 billion. Hipbar has developed a stringent age verification process as well as highly compliant standard operating procedures to ensure that the company’s delivery service fosters a safe drinking environment in India. Other online platforms like Amazon, Bigbasket, Zomato, and Swiggy have also ventured into this segment due to its market growth and have also started delivering liquor in some cities, as companies look to the demand for liquor during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this customer don’t have to go outside to buy alcohol. Jharkhand was the first state to allow the delivery of liquors by online platforms. In some states like Gujarat, Alcohol retail is prohibited. Since then, because of the COVID-19, some states have allowed the delivery of alcohol by online platforms.