INDIA – The Indian online grocery and food products provider, BigBasket is eying a majority stake in smart vending machines start-up Kwik24 in an effort to expand its offline grocery business.

ET Retail reported that according to people familiar with the matter, BigBasket had earlier launched a pilot program with Kwik24 to deploy smart vending machines in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

As part of BigBasket’s BB Instant’ service, the vending machines were installed, allowing customers order fresh produce like fruits and vegetables and other products.

The order is made via the BB Instant app then customers can pick it up from the vending machine.

According to an app preview of the service, bb-instant Smart Vending Machines ‘brings you a fast, 2-minute shopping experience along with the ease and convenience of using an app, being piloted in select locations in Bangalore’.

“You can find all your instant and impulse needs at your nearest bb-instant machine.

All you have to do is choose your product, pick it up and walk away, the machine will sense which product was picked and automatically charge your PayTm wallet,” said the preview.

With the pilot, BigBasket is said to have received 90% repeat customers with this approach and is now looking to have Kwik24 on board full time to work on customised vending machines.

Kwik24, formed in 2016 by Neeraj Ray and Samir Duggal offers services with an aim to transform the food retail market with India’s first patented, checkout-free Smart Connected Stores.

Earlier this year, BigBasket raised US$300m in funding led by Alibaba in an effort to expand its verticals and revenue sources.

BigBasket is also eyeing expansion of its portfolio with private labels of cosmetics and meat.

Although BigBasket reported it has more than doubled its business to cross the US$146.72m sales mark in FY17, Inc42 reported supermarket grocery supplies increased its overall losses by almost seven times, reaching US$96.35m.

A report by Kalagato revealed that as of March 2017, BigBasket held about 35% market share in the online grocery segment, closely followed by Grofers at 31.5%, and Amazon at 31.2%.