Today I read a fantastic, long and detailed article on Flipkart’s past, present and future. Although many people and media have tried to explain Flipkart’s business and strategy in the past, this is by far the most detailed one I have read. A rather long read, the author explains that Flipkart had essentially painted itself into a corner, dug its own pit, and now on one side they will see more competition from Amazon, on the other side, their own investors are asking for results. It was a series onfortunate decisions and the chaotic Indian market place which lead to this.
Flipkart’s decision to go app-only was the single most stupidest decision which came out from those brilliant minds. Having worked in CRM all my career, I can vouch that such customer un-friendly decisions is going to piss them off, when what customers expect is for you to listen to them. And their Billion days sales, the first time it happened, media loved it. The second time, they got smart and figured out that Flipkart was artificially inflating the price of products, and then giving a discount on that price, thus fooling the customer to spend more.
And then there is the really big problem of the dollar- rupee ratio. When VCs fund Indian companies, they spend in dollars, but earn in rupees ! They have to sell 50 times more to make the equivalent same.
But I think the biggest hurdle they have, and all internet-startups for that matter, is the chaos that is India. The Indian market place is incoherrent and punishing. The Indian customer is slow and thinks a lot before making a purchase. And there is brand loyalty. Customers will go entire days deal hunting even for the smallest purchase.
Anyway, its a fantastic read, if you want to learn from others mistakes and avoid them on your own venture, go gobble it up.