IIM team wants Flipkart, Amazon to set up virtual grocery stores at Kolkata Metro stations

A team of students from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, has chalked out a revival plan for the loss-making Kolkata Metro in which they have suggested that e-commerce majors like Flipkart or Amazon should be roped in to start first of its kind virtual grocery stores on station walls.

To find out innovative solutions for increasing its non-fare revenue, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) had commissioned IIM-C to restructure its revenue model. A team of 3 MBA students, Alan Shaji Idicula, Urjaswit Lal and Tushar Kumar, came up with the unique idea of installing wall-length billboards designed to look like a series of supermarket shelves.

“We are trying to implement it. The idea is to increase our non-fare revenue so that there is no burden on passengers. We are trying to utilise our space in the best possible manner,” Kolkata Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee told Livemint without divulging whether they have initiated talks with any e-commerce company.

A bulk, or 90%, of the revenue of Kolkata Metro comes from train fares, which have not been increased since 2013. Over the years, KMRC losses have been widening and now it spends around Rs 2.68 for every rupee earned.

IIM-C alumnus Alan Shaji Idicula said their proposal is to bring Flipkart/Amazon on board and start India’s first virtual grocery stores on Metro walls. “The digital billboards will display product images along with the QR code. Passengers can scan the code to order daily-use products like groceries and FMCG items,” he said. The concept marries the two distinct models of traditional brick and mortar shops and e-commerce.

The development was reported by livemint.com

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