FlipKart – It is for books and beyond

The last time I bought a  personal item of high involvement was a laptop and that was in USA at http://www.amazon.com.

After I made up my decision to buy it over there during a short trip to USA, did a bit of research, took some offline advice from a couple of friends, narrowed down a product that falls within by budget, ordered on Amazon and surprised to see that delivered to my hotel address promptly in 2 days, in a manner that I expected.

I couldn’t imagine such a seamless on-line shopping experience could be a reality in India. In fact, three years ago I attempted once to send a bouquet of flowers to my wife for our wedding anniversary by ordering over the web in one of the very popular Indian website at that time, but it never reached her (forget about getting delivered on time) and I didn’t get a refund for the order that was not fulfilled in spite of multiple follow-ups over emails / phone calls.

I decided time is not ripe for such ambitious endeavours in India and didn’t attempt that till very recently.

One year ago, Flipkart’s aggressive advertisement in Indian Televisions caught my attention and decided I should try once. I decided to buy a couple of books in FlipKart to start with.

The decision to buy from FlipKart is driven initially by a few major factors

  • A vast virtual store with a collection of many books that avoided the need for multiple visits to more than one physical store to get a book that you need
  • A cash on delivery, facility that alleviates my worry of my order not getting fulfilled after making payment (Past bad experience :()
  • Very competitive discounted price when compared to many famous offline stores
  • And last but not the least the convenience of ordering from your place than crawling in your car in bumper to bumper Bangalore traffic

My decision to buy books in FlipKart was not a disappointment.

Got my book delivered at my doorstep by a courteous staff promptly as promised in a couple of days in excellent condition.

Post that I never bought books from offline stores and it is always Flipkart.com.

Also, I started trusting in flipkart’s ability to fulfil as promised over a period of time and my payments were by credit card than Cash On Delivery to avoid the nuisance of having the right change in place when the person comes for delivery.

Two weeks ago we intended to replace our old TV with a brand new one and mentally my first choice is one of the Reliance Stores in Bangalore as I had a decent experience on their service in my last purchase. Though my research to choose the best one within my budget among the prominent brands like LG, Samsung and Sony was On-line, I was not sure about buying On-line.

Unfortunately, my experience in my inquiry in some of the prominent stores like Reliance, Chromo etc. were not satisfactory for multiple reasons

  • The deals in these physical stores were not transparent. Their advertisement in the newspaper was more to promote footfall and in reality the deal when you inquire in detail would be disappointing. To give an example, two weeks ago, Reliance gave a full page advertisement of “Unlimited 20% cash back offer” but in reality it didn’t make any sense as the cash-back was all in some coupons limited only for very few products and the coupons can only be redeemable in Reliance after a month, by buying something that is thrice the value of the coupons. Hmm complicated and I am sure I would never use those coupons even if I buy it.
  • Every retail store promotes only certain models and most of them don’t have the product of your choice that you arrived at in your research
  • Price was at least 10 to 15% more than most of the on-line stores
  • There was no transparency in pricing my old television. It is primarily driven by the price of the new product that I buy and the brand that they want to push than anything to do with my old TV which was not very convincing as a seller of my old television
  • Lastly, I didn’t know what was the feedback / experience of the people who really bought these products that were sold in the store

With those issues lingering in my mind, I thought why shouldn’t I go and order on-line in FlipKart as it seems to provide a solution to most of my issues such as …

  • The trust that I had on FlipKart was high over a period of time in my smaller transactions (books)
  • The price point at which the product was offered was the most competitive
  • The deals on cash-back of 10% was simple & transparent than any other deals in offline stores
  • The feedback that is given by users who actually bought the specific product (FlipKart distinguish between feedback from users who have bought the product from feedback given general public) gave me a confidence on the product that I wished to buy and
  • Last but not the least, their exchange program for my old TV was simple and straightforward.

To add to all the above, the icing on the cake was one month replacement warranty by FlipKart.

Made my mind to buy in FlipKart (you don’t believe me, I aborted the cart several times before I actually did it), I completed my transaction on-line using by SBI debit card where I had a special 10% cash-back offer in Flipkart and eagerly waited for the delivery of my brand new TV.

As expected with no surprise, the TV was well packed and delivered by a courteous FlipKart professional in 1 day, installed by LG people on the same day and it was up and running at my home on the same day evening. Needless to say, about a courtesy call from FlipKart  a day later to ensure everything is ok.

It was a fantastic customer experience and FlipKart being one of our customers in IT space, I believe they are leveraging technology to the best with well defined processes and fantastic people on ground to deliver such great CX (Customer Experience)


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