Flipkart is without a doubt the largest and most successful online shopping ecommerce platform in India. Often referred to as the “Indian Amazon”, Flipkart was founded in a similar fashion in 2007 and has grown to become a household name throughout India, expanding into a wide variety of verticals from tech gadgets to homewares and whitegoods, even into precious gems and gold bullion.
In this article we’ll take a look at the origins of Flipkart and weigh out the pros and cons of flipkart, from order to unboxing.
Flipkart began as a joint venture between two brothers- Sachin and Binny Bansal- in 2007. Created in a direct response to the US’s Amazon (which at that time was exclusively an online bookstore), both Sachin and Binny had worked for Amazon after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Sachin and Binny left Amazon in October 2007 to incorporate their new company- Flipkart Online Services.
From such humble beginnings as personally finding and delivering the first book sold on their site (Leaving Microsoft To Change The World by John Wood), the Bansal brothers have grown their organisation to monolithic proportions in just over a decade. Valued at $US15 billion and touted as India’s most valuable ecommerce start-up business, Flipkart is estimated to control roughly 45 per cent of India’s online retail market, more than its three largest competitors combined. The Binsal brothers themselves each have an estimated net worth of over $US1.4 billion, skyrocketing them into the top 100 most wealthy individuals in India.
Flipkart has developed a strong reputation as the most innovative tech startup on the subcontinent- in a response to India’s convoluted, congested and often unreliable delivery services Flipkart launched Ekart, a wholly owned logistics subsidiary, in order to address delivery issues that held back earlier pioneers of Indian ecommerce.
Employing over thirty five thousand employees over twenty distribution sites and warehouses, Ekart has emerged as a market leader in its own right and has recently launched as a courier service available to the public, taken advantage of by leading tech product sellers such as Samsung and Lenovo.
In addition to handling everything from point of sale to delivery, Flipkart launched their own in house brand Digiflip in 2014, offering low-end consumer tech such as tablets, mobile phones and networking routers. Flipkart also offers a wide range of household goods under its brand Citron, offering cooking utilities and grooming products.
Flipkart – The Site
The Flipkart site is extremely slick, with an easy to use responsive interface that scales well from pc to mobile to tablet alike. The presentation is simple and streamlined, offering an intuitive user experience that makes it easy to drill down to the exact category of products you’re looking for in just a few clicks.
Flipkart is also available in app form, in both android and iOS flavours available from the Play Store and App Store respectively. The app offers exclusive deals and prices, secure payment and dynamic order tracking, even personalized alerts for items you have your eye on so you don’t miss out in the case of a price drop or flash sale. At over two hundred million downloads, the Flipkart app is the most popular phone app for online shopping in India.
Flipkart – The Experience
Flipkart offers regular sales and holds their position as market leader through a constant stream of discounts, special offers, and competitively priced popular goods. Every year at the beginning of October Flipkart begins their biggest sales special of the year. Called the “Big Billion Day,” Flipkart heavily discounts almost every single item available on their platform, reaching almost Black Friday level sales figures.
Once an order is put together on the Flipkart site, checkout offers a wide range of payment options. In addition to providing standard payment methods such as credit or debit cards through major companies such as Visa, Maestro, Mastercard and American Express, Flipkart also integrates seamlessly with most major Indian banks, allowing users to shop directly using their netbanking accounts.
Through their integration with major Indian banks Flipkart is able to provide EMI payment options. To the uninitiated EMI payment allows consumers to convert the actual payment for the product into installments over several term options through the bank service. Banks such as HDFC Bank, Citibank, ICICI and few others offer this service through Flipkart, and term options range from 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, making this a great option for low-income households to relieve the financial pressure from larger purchases.
The definitive point of difference in order delivery and payment options for Flipkart, however, is without a doubt their payment-on-delivery option. The lion’s share of Flipkart’s success is attributed to this model, as a cultural mistrust of online credit card payments through ecommerce sites has caused a bottleneck in ecommerce sales. Customers purchasing orders with a value of up to 50,000 INR are able to pay the courier on the door, with multiple payment methods available on the spot including cash and EFTPOS.
Flipkart delivery times are above the national standard, due to their Ekart logistics service, and order tracking is managed easily either online or via the app in a handy step by step checkpoint process. Flipkart also offers SMS or email updates on all orders. Flipkart delivers goods in standard brown packaging cartons, but offers an optional (and extremely convenient) gift wrapping option for any delivery for just RS.30 extra, perfect for last minute present deliveries. Unlike most western ecommerce services, Flipkart now provides a contact number for each delivery driver when your package is on the road, an excellent feature we hope to see imitated worldwide.
Cancellations and refunds are as easy to manage as the rest of the Flipkart experience- a 24 hour refund policy is available to all orders paid via cash on delivery, and for other payment options refund policy varies from ten to twenty days depending on the type of product. Some special deals, sales and items are understandably exempt from the return or refund policies.
Flipkart seems set to continue its unstoppable rampage as an indomitable ecommerce juggernaut- consumer reception is overwhelmingly positive & company growth is at an all time high, with no signs of stopping soon. In the highly competitive world of online retailers, flipkart definitely delivers the goods.