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Exclusive: Udaan forays into B2C ecommerce through new app Pickily

Business-to-business e-commerce major Udaan has been testing waters in the consumer-facing business for two months through a new app called Pickily, according to two people familiar with the matter. The app that is live beta on the Play Store comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has forced startups to test new grounds, pivot to different business models or try out new offerings — all to keep their businesses afloat. 

Available on Android phones, Pickily app currently offers FMCG products across five locations in Bengaluru. While the app is in beta with a little over thousand downloads, sources say that a full-fledged launch is planned for July. 

Pickily has also been building a network of dark stores in Bengaluru and Hyderabad to facilitate quick fulfilment, said one of the sources cited above, on condition of anonymity. At present, Pickily offers next day delivery.

“Udaan has been planning for a B2C experiment since late last year and they launched Pickily around early April,” said the second source cited above, also requesting anonymity. “The food and grocery verticals of Udaan are looking after Pickily at the moment.” 

Entrackr queries sent to Udaan remained unanswered at the time of publishing this story. We will update when they respond. 

Udaan’s decision to launch Pickily aligns with the current scenario when its core business has been reduced by 70% since the last two-and-a-half months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the launch of Pickily in the B2C segment, the company is now positioned to directly compete with the likes of BigBasket, Amazon, Swiggy Stores, Dunzo and Flipkart.

Udaan was founded by former Flipkart executives Sujeet Kumar, Vaibhav Gupta and Amod Malviya, who bring e-commerce expertise and Flipkart experience with them. With Udaan’s foray into B2C, their Flipkart experience is bound to help them. In fact, sources say that Kumar, one of the early employees of Flipkart, is expected to manage operations for Pickily. 

While the two executives are armed with their experience, some experts in the space express uncertainty about the success of this move, especially since B2C e-commerce is a cash-guzzling business. 

“They [Udaan] will be getting into a costly game through this,” says an analyst in the consumer internet space, requesting anonymity. “I don’t know if their investors have signed up for another B2C platform.”

Udaan’s entry into this segment also comes at a time when Reliance’s JioMart has been making inroads into the grocery delivery space, which, many experts say could have a direct impact on B2B e-commerce firms like Udaan that cater to the kirana segment.  

As for the legal contours of Pickily, sources say that it will  be altogether a separate entity since FDI regulations for B2C business are different from B2B. “It’s not clear at the moment as to how Pickily will be structured and positioned legally,” added one of the sources.

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