Jan 8, 2007

Gati forays into retail

The retail industry’s got another player. Logistics major Gati company opened its first store in Hyderabad on January 5 2007. Named as Café Deliver, the store retails a range of services, like Zip, courier, cargo and express, along with mass-market products like Zipp, mass market courier offer anywhere in India.

Manoj Agarwal, marketing head, Gati, says, “We booked orders worth Rs 60,000 the first day itself.” Agarwal says eventually the Café Deliver stores will offer a wider range, from Internet surfing and email to stationary services to courier and tickets. The idea has been around the company for some time, the strategy being to capture more of the value from customers already using Gati courier or package services. The key is to make the store sustainable, says Agarwal.

The company is about to open its second store in Pune on January 10, followed by Indore. As of now, these are Gati outlets, but later on, depending on the response, the network will be expanded and franchisees invited

Gati joins the list of logistics players like AFL, DHL and UPS in forward integrating in the value chain, reaching closer to the end customer. AFL has its Touchworld where it offers, much the same range of services – tickets, courier and so on. It plans to add 20-25 outlets every year. DHL has over 55 Express Centers primarily geared for pickup and drop of express parcels. UPS launched the first The UPS Store in Asia in Mumbai last year and already has three UPS stores with the full range of services, one each in Mumbai and Delhi and two more are in the offing- Pune and Bangalore. Globally, FedEx operates Kinkos and UPS operates The UPS Stores and MailBoxes Inc, with several thousand outlets across the world.

Every courier and parcel company in India has always had its outlets and drop-off and pick-up stores, most likely shop-in-shop, but these new stores coming up are more retail-oriented than operations oriented, which means logistics companies are opening up a whole new market in India.

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