It’s being touted as India’s answer to Amazon. Founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not related to each other) in Oct 2007, Flipkart has catapulted to one of India’s most popular e-commerce sites and undoubtedly as the most popular online destination for books within a short span of three years. With expected revenues of Rs. 75 crores this FY, Flipkart plans to generate a whopping Rs. 4,500 crores by FY2015. Now that’s pretty impressive for any business.
Flipkart’s initial success can be pegged down to the experience of its founders, both of whom had worked with Amazon. They also successfully used word of mouth marketing and social media to get word out. But there are literally millions of retail websites. And not many have achieved even a fraction of the attention that Flipkart has. So what is it that makes Flipkart stand out? For one, they offer a huge range of titles (more than 7 million) which really sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.
But is simply offering so many titles enough? I don’t think so. I mean, how difficult is it for someone with deep pockets to simply replicate this? Not very. In fact, the Bansals started their venture with just Rs. 5 lakhs. So what does Flipkart have that makes its model so robust? An amazingly well-oiled warehousing and delivery system. This ensures that deliveries occur within promised times all over India. And with a business volume of nearly 2 lakh books every year, one can imagine how important logistics is to this business.
So what’s my take on Flipkart? I personally didn’t like the website interface so much. And this one’s supposed to be a newer one. It didn’t inspire me at all. And they still haven’t turned a profit yet. But on the positive side, they have the scope and the scale. They are adding new product lines such as movies, music, games, cameras and computers. They are coming up with creative ads and improving operations. They have just received another round of funding. All in all, there’s no doubt that Flipkart has tremendous potential.