Retail giant Future Group is expanding on a franchisee-based e-business model for the Big Bazaar brand to test out supply chain and technology.

The Big Bazaar Direct (BBD) model aims at reaching customers in deeper regions of the country, and involves franchisees using 3G enabled tablets to place customers’ orders.

The goods will be delivered to the customers directly from a central warehouse in Nagpur within a specified period of time by a courier.

Calling it the first step towards an omni-channel retail strategy, Vivek Biyani, Director, Future Group, and in-charge of the digital business, said that currently the new initiative had around 350 franchisees in parts of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and NCR.

“Our mission is to take it across India in the next 12-18 months and get to full scale in three years’ time with 50,000 franchisees,” he said, adding that launching of an e-commerce portal was also on the anvil.

Biyani asserted that the agent-assisted digital commerce channel, which has clocked business worth ₹14-15 crore so far, will help penetrate into areas that do not have brick and mortar stores, encouraging entrepreneurship at the same time.