in praise of flipkart

It took four books to fall in love with the service. Today, flipkart is my favourite Indian website. It is simple, fast, secure and safe. I know this sounds like it is a paid post, but it is really that good. The biggest ‘problem’ I faced with the website was when it took a week to deliver a book that was supposed to come in three days.

The Cash-on-Delivery (C.O.D.) option is what turned things around for them, I suppose. Unlike many other online shopping sites, you can buy products on flipkart and pay nothing till the product is in your hands. Once you get it, just pay the courier guy who delivers it to you. For a country still new to online shopping and apprehensive about giving out debit/credit card details to websites, this works perfectly. They operate only in India. Shipping is free for orders above Rs.200


Then there is the sheer variety of books on offer. They have a enviable range of books (more than your neighbourhood Crossword store certainly) and many of them are available in multiple editions. They also sell mobile phones, movies, music, games and now even cameras (they might expand to all consumer electronics). Everything with handsome discounts because all the middlemen are eliminated. I only hope their diversification doesn’t result in a compromise on quality.

My ‘pleasant surprise’ moment came when I realised that there is actually a point in making wishlists – there are people who read your wishlists and are willing to buy you stuff! Wah! Long live flipkart! Those of you who haven’t used the service yet, head over to the next time you want to buy a book. And if your loyalties are already with eBay, well at least support Indian start-ups every once in a while! If it is any encouragement, the founders quit their jobs at Amazon to start flipkart.


18 thoughts on “in praise of flipkart

  1. * “They operate only in India. Shipping is free for orders above Rs.200”- My take they operate only in Bangalore and area around. * They could not deliver my purchase to North India, even after 1 month of purchase. Pretty much a disappointment to me in this case. * Cash-on-delivery:- Not applicable to my city in Kerala, Why? does it not come under confines of India?* Among books they are indeed good, I had ordered ONE book to check weather they are able to deliver it or not, Yes they delivered. * price of Books:– reasonably ok* Price of Mobile:- One rupee less than market price. I inquired in few cases, The price they are offering is not THAT low compared to the Market Price, as they claim on their site.* Delivery other than books (High Purchase Items) :- They failed to deliver, at least in my case and few others, I noted from Twitter.** Their promise of “A store at your Door” — Completely rubbish. My experience doesn’t help to believe this. Their partner Courier Services ‘FAIL TO DELIVER’.’** Response to Complaint:- Upon writing daily to Flipkart regarding delivery of items. They were showing a lackluster approach, untill I wrote to Sachin Bansal. I got a call from them. Ok, Nothing more here, I shall Write a post on this issue. Your comments in this regard shall be welcome. rajiv

  2. They don't operate just in areas around Bangalore. I'm from Nagpur and it isn't exactly "around" Bangalore. They have different godowns/storage facilities (Bangalore is one of them) and when you place an order they locate the facility nearest to you and courier the book to you from there. I'm surprised they didn't deliver your purchase to North India, they have a dedicated following up there. I have friends who regularly use the service. You just landed on the wrong side of the statistics. C.O.D. has to be supported by the courier carrier and is not a unilateral decision taken by flipkart. I'm sure flipkart doesn't have anything against your city in Kerala. The courier operators there might not support C.O.D. for some reason. I find the prices of books great, not just reasonably okay. Almost every book is sold below MRP and discounts running into Rs.50 or Rs.100 are not uncommon. They can't undercut by much an already affordable book, which costs say, Rs.200. The real discounts game starts at titles that cost Rs.400 and upwards (which is where the discounts sound sweeter I'd say!) Flipkart uses sales volumes to compensate for the discounts it offers. No wonder their biggest discounts are in the books section because books is what they sell the most. They have only just started with consumer electronics and sales aren't exactly sky high. If they offer discounts now, they'll run a loss. Let the sales pick up and the discounts will increase. Remember, they were (still are) primarily a book vending site. "The Store at your Door" is not a promise! It's a tagline. You can't hold up a tagline as a binding promise! Big Bazaar says "Isse sasta aur achha kahi nahi" I can buy cheaper clothes off the streets. Adidas says "Impossible is nothing" If you are going to take that as a promise, try flying off the 18th floor wearing Adidas shoes. It's funny that you should blame flipkart for the failure of partner courier services. If they don't deliver in Kerala, too bad. It's like blaming RIM (makers of BlackBerry) because your Vodafone SIM card can't get reception. It's ridiculous! Exactly how many services do you know who <u>call</u> you when you write a complaint to them?Finally, I think it is unfortunate that your experiences with the service were bad. It happens, but you are an exception. You shouldn't write them off because they didn't work for you. And c'mon! They are a start-up, cut them some slack! PS: If I were you, I wouldn't buy electronics off the web, least of all from a primary book vendor. It is a small investment and it's always better to try out your gear first hand. That's why I ended that post saying next time you want to buy a book head over to flipkart.

    • Only books comes to Kerala, and that comes even as COD. But which ever electronic items I select, Flipkart says this item cannot be shipped to my address. I am residing in an unknown place, I am staying at Trivandrum which is the capital of Kerala. I don’t understand why you making comparison of RM and Vodafone here, that was ridiculous! Too many assumptions…

      eBay and other online portals can deliver items to my place, now I am buying whatever I want from those sites for a price which is bit higher than what I see in flipkart.

  3. 1. I am from Bangalore, delivery of book delayed by 7 days;2. Flipkart is not just a book store and hence any defaulter in its supply chain (courier vendors inclusive) is its responsibility. Hence they take pain to reply to the grievances. appreciated!!3.Electronics sale is a totally new ball game so in some sense they may be given benefit of doubt with an advise of caution not to earn bad name. 4.If a company can not live up to its promise and tag line it should change it. cheers,sanPS Ajinkya you should not behave as marketing guy for fliplart. & If you are a marketing guy learn to appreciate negative feedback aswell.

  4. I've also faced delays in delivery, I already mentioned that. I just don't dismiss the service because of it. It's a minor problem.Would you really expect a company to change it's tagline to something like "We usually work well on time, pardon the delays"? I guess it's your lucky day. The website no longer displays their tag line. It doesn't have one now. Also, they still are primarily an online book shop. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. You'll see: © 2007-2011 The Online Book Store It's a new service, it'll take time to smooth out the chinks as it enters new markets. I'm not a marketing guy for them. I'm a satisfied (and encouraging) customer, that's all.I'm all for negative feedback/constructive criticism, but asking flipkart to change their (past) tagline 'the store at your door' because they can't deliver to every doorstep of 1/6th of the world's population is ridiculous. There won't be any company then which "lives up" to its (non) promise. It's a tagline, mate, NOT a promise! (Read point no. 6 in my response to Rajiv, above.) I appreciate your comment though. I'm all for consumer debates.

  5. aaahhhaaaaaaaa!!! Finally someone else also likes Flipkart as much as I do. Happy I feel. After reading jinky’s comments for Rajiv I didn’t feel like posting anything but then I read san’s comment so i’ll reply. I’ll defend my beloved online book store. 🙂 the store at my door.1. I don’t think jinky is doing marketing for them. But if people head to Flipkart after reading his post, it’s good only. We crib a lot about things which we don’t like but we seldom appreciate things which we like. LEARN TO APPRECIATE GOOD THINGS. 2. Delays in the delivery are the sole responsibility of the courier service and not Flipkart. As soon as Flipkart ships your product, it sends you a mail so that you can track your order. Try checking it. They are always on time.3. @Rajiv – DELL doesn’t deliver its products in Bihar. They have no delivery system there. Who is to blame Dell India or the state government? Dell India has the same policy for all the states in India. Likewise Flipkart has the same quality policy for the whole of India, there might be some problem with your state’s courier service providers.4. I’m not saying that my orders have never reached late. But there have been times when I’ve got my orders before the promised date as well. Just because your experience was bad doesn’t mean the store should change its tagline. I hope you don’t use AXE deodorant or other SET WET products otherwise you would sue them for their ads and the tagline. Even AIRTEL and BSNL fail to provide service everywhere. You want them to change their taglines as well?5. When talking about electronic goods do remember that whatever you buy from the shop across the street is cheating with the government to give you discounts. There are various reasons why you find differences in the price of electronic goods :a) When flipkart claims that the price is lower and there is a discount of say x%, it’s on the MRP of the product. Flipkart is competing with the authorised outlet and the other online stores; not with the prices a thief would offer you around the corner.Try comparing the prices to that of Rediffshopping/Indiatimes or Homeshop18 and you’ll know the difference. b) The shipping of electronic goods in india still goes through a lot of hassles. The laws aren’t flexible enough. A company needs licensing and other paperwork for that. And as we all know paperwork requires Gandhi papers attached to them in India. 😛 so cut them some slack.c) Consumer is never delivered a damaged product (Do not accept if the seal is broken). The company bears the charge for it. And as there is a greater risk of electronic goods getting damaged in the process of delivery so the discount on the product is meagre when compared to books.6. I fall in love with Flipkart all over again when it comes to discount. I and my roommate ordered books worth Rs6000 and saved Rs1700. Name any other store in India which would save me that much money. Definitely not Crosswords or Landmark. Moreover I’m based in Bhopal there isn’t a bookstore wherein I can find books of my choice.(only books available here are computer programming/Engineering guides/competitive exam-how to crack JEE/IAS/ICWA/PMT blah blah blah!). The Crossword which has newly come up has got no philosophy/poetry section till now. Leave alone hindi literature. I’m ready to change my brand loyalty just find me any other store (even slightly better than Flipkart will do) where I can order online and pay cash on delivery. But till then I think Flipkart is good needs to be appreciated and spread.

  6. Done, pyaare! Main abhi unke founder ko email karta hu aur dono ka naam daal deta hu.PS: A few weeks ago, I actually went to their "Careers" section to see if they had any opening jaha main fit ho sakta hu. Alas, all they need are engineers and cool software/technical guys… But I think it is time they invest in marketing and PR people like us.

  7. mmm, have ordered for the first time last week in flipkart. Let me see how their service is, though your post gives me room for optimism.

  8. I’ve been purchasing with them since last 4-5 months, apart from minor hiccups, their performance were at par with other players in the same domain. It wont be an exaggeration that they have redefined Bookselling…

  9. @aamit: Yup. I even purchased my lastest phone from flipkart. Their price for my model, even without discount, was cheaper than some established electronics chains. As long as they don't get smug, they have a fan in me.

  10. I don't know about the fb page. I'm not on fb. But they're new to the electronics show. I like giving them time, they surprise me in beautiful ways — like the inbuilt card payment system (that avoids countless redirects)! They're an Indian start-up who are doing great not because of jingoistic customers, but because of genuine quality service. Here's hoping the glitches are indeed ironed out.

  11. Yes, thats why I pardon them for above stated reason… If they continue to evolve like this, I hope, this again will be the matter of past earning them the Superior Title

  12. I have booked a samsung galaxy s on 24th november 2011(with prepay option), waiting to see how they deliver in time!I am seriously patriotic, so appreciate/encourage something done by indians , for indians, i av 2 pr3 blogs ,1 pr2 blog and 1 pr1 blog with alexa not more than 1.5 lakhs, if flipkart praise me with their delivery, I am surely gonna praise them with some positive reviews about flipkart on my blogs!

  13. Hi Ajinkya… from what i read above, i gather you know a bit about flipcart and online business.. i was wondering if you knew which courier service they are using, and how do small value products (say rs 100 to 150) being sold online, reach customers, at MRP or discount prics??? How do they add/ manage the shipping bit???It confuses me!!

  14. PR: As far as I know, flipkart uses multiple courier services based on where the delivery has to go. First Flight might be good for Chembur, but DTDC is better for Nagpur and so on. As for the costs, they have several advantages like economies of scale, fewer middlemen and a large volume of bestselling products, the profits from which (perhaps) subsidise the costs for cheaper/lesser selling goods.

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