Established in the year 2007 by two IIT-Delhi graduates and former employees of Amazon, Flipkart today is in a league of its own. The â€˜cash on deliveryâ€™ mode of payment and various other services, have given an edge to the ecommerce giant. But expansion in India amid the current infrastructure poses a huge challenge. Delivery in small towns has been an uphill task. Kanika Mehrotra of Pitch spoke to Sachin Bansal, Co-Founder and CEO of Flipkart to know how the company is overcoming the odds .
Flipkart has been ruling the e-commerce sector in India. With the arrival of international players, how is Flipkart keeping an upper hand?
Our focus is on creating the best online shopping experience for the customer and we follow our own standards of business excellence. Keeping this in mind, we are looking at extensive category expansion, investments in technology that will help us scale up the business, in creating a world-class supply-chain and payment ecosystem along with a superlative talent pool.
Our move to delight the customer begins with a clean, fast and engaging user-interface and ends with smooth last-mile deliveries.
Flipkart has been facing problems in reaching tier 2 and tier 3 cities and even delivery in some parts of Uttar Pradesh is not possible. What are the major problems faced in delivering in these towns and how is Flipkart overcoming them?
While urban customers tend to be internet savvy, the tier 2 and 3 customers are still evolving. Problems arise due to lack of awareness on how to effectively use online channels, reluctance to use cards for online transactions. The delivery systems in these towns and cities also need improvement.
While differences across states may impact our serviceability to some parts of the country, we are constantly expanding our reach, and today we deliver to over 200 cities across India. Our objective continues to be to highlight the benefits of ease, convenience and selection in online shopping to customers across the country.
What are some issues you face in the delivery channel?
Building up a robust supply-chain is essential to the success of an online player. The Indian transport system is still fairly fragmented and this creates last-mile delivery bottlenecks. The lack of a uniform GST also stops online players from offering a seamless experience across all parts of the country.
At Flipkart, we continue to focus on creating a great supply-chain experience for our customers. We are constantly innovating in this space, offering our customers services like Same Day Guarantee, Scheduled Delivery, Try and Buy and our subscription service Flipkart First.
What are the advantages international players have that you think Flipkart needs to be cautious about?
We have always worked in a competitive environment which already had existing global players like eBay. While they may have global learnings, itâ€™s important to realize that the Indian ecosystem is extremely unique in the way it functions. Itâ€™s not possible to replicate a global formula here. This is where we have an edge. We are a domestic player that has built the business on the needs of the Indian customer and market. We have access to a massive amount of customer data and we can be more agile and effective in creating solutions and services that are best suited to this environment.