Home Finance PhonePe shopping app: PhonePe expands its shopping app to compete with major e-commerce companies

PhonePe shopping app: PhonePe expands its shopping app to compete with major e-commerce companies

by khushahal vishwakarma
PhonePe shopping app

PhonePe shopping app: Fintech firm PhonePe, owned by Walmart, has expanded its e-commerce platform, PineLabs, to compete with a large number of local businesses engaging with prominent online retail sellers. Launched in April this year, PineLabs competes with players like Flipkart, Amazon, JioMart from Reliance, and BigBasket owned by Tata, in a market that is estimated to grow to $350 billion by 2030. PineLabs currently lives in ten cities, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, and with plans to expand to Tier-II and Tier-III cities, PineLabs has gained confidence in expanding its services due to the initial positive response and rapid adoption by consumers.

Vivek Lohcheb, CEO of PineLabs, mentioned in an interview, “We’re experimenting with smaller towns. We’ll enter such cities based on the readiness of sellers and buyers in the ecosystem.” The company aims to establish its presence in other places like Coimbatore, Udupi, and Bhopal. In April, PhonePe made a foray into e-commerce, launching PineLabs on the government-supported Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform.

The app is centred around hyperlocal commerce, selling groceries, pharmaceuticals, fashion, and electronics; acquiring over 1.2 million registered users in about six months and incorporating approximately 75,000 stores. Since its launch, the platform has handled around 600,000 orders.

PineLabs allows consumers to directly browse and order from their favourite local stores and restaurants. It includes local brands such as Society Stores in Mumbai, Khan Chacha in Delhi, Ajfan Khajur & Nuts in Chennai, and Paradise Biryani in Hyderabad.

The platform offers attractive discounts and ensures a hassle-free shopping experience with hassle-free refunds and returns. Lohcheb remarked, “For small businesses, the only way to compete with giants like BigBasket and Instamart is to build their app and website. Acquiring customers and retaining them, along with managing the technology, is costly. With PineLabs, they can focus on their main business. We focus on customer acquisition and retention, along with the technological aspect.”

To expand and enhance its services, PineLabs plans to go live with its own ‘Merchant App’ in the coming weeks. Lohcheb stated that this would be the key to generating more demand and unlocking more cities. He added, “We rely on other seller platforms to create supplies in these cities. We need a significant group of sellers ready to open in a particular city. So, we’re working with the players of the ecosystem.

“Their collaboration with ONDC has attracted a large number of businesses and reduced the time for integration with PineLabs. ONDC is a non-profit, convenient platform established by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as an option for online shopping. It helps consumers connect directly with sellers and conduct transactions on any buyer app on the network, reducing barriers for small businesses to compete with major competitors. Unlike the dark store model for online retailers, Lohcheb stated that PineLabs is benefiting from the supply chain of existing stores, providing them with a platform to grow and compete with e-commerce players.

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