Thai wholesaler to geo-tag customers, e-mark products in Indian stores

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Banking largely on technology, Thailand-based wholesale cash and carry company LOTS Wholesale Solutions, that has just entered the Indian market, will be geo-tagging its customers for efficient deliveries, e-mark all products and electronically display prices and expiry dates on shelves, among other tech-enabled initiatives.

LOTS is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Thailand-based Siam Makro PCL, which is a part of $50 billion Charoen Pokphand Group.

With an investment plan of over Rs 1,000 crore in the next five years, LOTS is looking to open 15 wholesale distribution centres in northern India. Other states the company is looking at are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. The proposed investment by the company is estimated to generate over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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“We have started acquiring and registering our customers for our first store. We will be geo-tagging them on a regular basis, which will make it efficient to allocate resources and save time,” Tanit Chearavanont, Managing Director of LOTS Wholesale Solutions, told IANS in an interview. Geo-tagging allows location information of longitude and lattitude for accurate deliveries.

Without naming the company, he said LOTS had tied up with an Indian IT company for geo-tagging, which will help serve customers better.

LOTS will launch its first two wholesale cash & carry outlets in Delhi/NCR within 2018. The first store will come up in the Pitampura area, Chearavanont said.

Elaborating on their delivery mechanism, Chearavanont said customers could either walk into the store to buy wholesale goods, call up the sales force for delivery to its catchment area of geo-tagged customers or order through a business-to-business e-commerce portal.

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“We expect to launch the e-commerce portal around the same time as our first store launch, which will be mid-July,” he said.

Chearavanont said the company was planning to put bar codes and QR (quick response) codes on vegetables, fruits and poultry products, among others, to provide full information to customers. “As in Thailand, we will put electronic traceability in products for quality assurance and trust factors,” he added.

Explaining this, Sameer Singh, Director Operations, Business Development and Expansion, of the company, said that by scanning those bar codes or QR codes a customer will know from which farm the product had come. A soft launch of this traceability factor would be done by mid-2019, Singh said.

Additionally, like other LOTS stores in Thailand, the company will electronically display on shelves the origin of the product, its expiry date and price.

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Asked about Thailand-based companies’ views about doing business in India, which was not so positive before, he said, it was changing now. “The Thai embassy in India is doing a lot of work to attract Thai companies to come to India. Many of the Thai companies, which earlier had small trade offices in India, are now converting those into proper offices,” Chearavanont said.

(Aparajita Gupta can be contacted at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>)–IANS

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