Bharat Petroleum Wants to Use Gas Stations to Bring E-Commerce to Rural India
Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd., India’s lumbering state-run fuel company, is planning use its nationwide network of 12,800 gas stations to deliver online retail to rural India. The oil refiner and retailer is hoping it can leverage its outlets and logistical staff across India to succeed as a latecomer to India’s ongoing online retail boom. It is upgrading its technology and logistics network to be able to sell farmers everything from fertilizer to smartphones. The e-commerce push will begin December, with BPCL’s rural gas and cooking gas distributors starting to accept orders and payments online, said BPCL Chairman and Managing Director S. Varadarajan. As early as next year, the company is also considering using its urban branches to sell and distribute groceries.