Flipkart is a brand that revolutionized the eCommerce industry in India and this is a case study focused on a collaboration between Business & Design, Digital-Consumerism, Budgeting, Technology and Marketing.
And the above-specified combination allowed Flipkart to stand out and compete alongside a global competitor such as Amazon.
1. Why do you need to learn from Flipkart?
Well, every story provides you with a value to learn. Meaning, this content piece will help you understand Flipkart’s business and operational strategies.
And to understand this better, here’s a preface about Flipkart. In the Indian market, Flipkart started off as an early-adapter in the eCommerce sector to primarily sell books. The idea was to develop an online platform to sell books across the country. But, with time, it developed into an eCommerce sub-industry market of its own where it catered a major sector of products from electronics to groceries.
2. What does Flipkart do to sell online?
Now, People often credit FlipKart for being the seller of the products that are displayed but, Flipkart isn’t the seller in most of the cases.
Flipkart doesn’t just sell inhouse products on their platform but also provides other sellers with a digital-marketplace to sell their products. To understand better, here’s a difference between Single & Multi-Vendor eCommerce Platform.
A.Single Vendor eCommerce Platform:
Think of it this way, you own a store and you digitally transform it to sell products online via a proprietary website with your store’s name.
Meaning, A single vendor eCommerce Platform consists of a customized website based on your offline store and its products. Meaning, you are the only vendor selling on the platform.
To build such a platform, you don’t need a business compulsive business strategy as you can make modifications to your existing business strategy to adapt to the digital consumer base.
B.Multi-Vendor eCommerce Platform:
A multi-vendor eCommerce platform acts as a digital marketplace similar to the one in your city where there are 100s of stores catering multiple product varieties.
It allows multiple sellers to go online and easily connect to digital consumers without focusing much about advertising and marketing as it is taken care of by the aggregator.
Meaning, to build such an eCommerce space, you’ll need to work on a strong business strategy. This article has been drafted in a way for you to understand the pointers to consider whilst drafting a strategy.
3. How does Flipkart sell online?
This is where you’ll need to focus the most. Flipkart works on the following aspects and this will help you understand what they do and how you can build your own website like Flipkart and attract the digital consumer base.
A.Business & Design:
Remember the point that we spoke about how Flipkart drafted its way into selling anything a consumer would need.
Well, that’s the business aspect of it and you would need to understand it to design your website properly.
Here’s how you can start. Since you know the products that you sell in your offline store and you’d be building a store around the same products that you sell. We’d suggest making a list of the products or the category of products that your offline-consumer base purchases the most from your store and use it to your advantage in the design process by dividing the product into three categories:
For instance, The consumers mostly prefer Flipkart for two main product categories:
b.Apparels( Men, Women and Kids)
And, Flipkart understood it so, they placed the menus that lead the consumers to the consumer electronics and Apparels at the start of the list.
Meaning, They strategically placed the categories of products that the consumers primarily purchase and alongside added a search bar made it easy for the consumers to search, browse, compare and purchase.
And even though you can book Flights via Flipkart, the feature is placed in the tertiary part of the list. This is because Flipkart also helps you book the flights, it might be the feature that was least used by the consumers and hence the placed it in the tertiary part of the menu.
Also, an important point we’d like to stress on is the fact that Flipkart followed the same principle of design based on compartmentalizing across their omnichannel interaction platform.
Now, was their understanding of business and design everything that led to their website becoming a tier-1 brand pan India?
Well, not exactly. Their business and design was only possible thanks to their on-point projections of the expectations of a digital consumer.
In simple terms, they took a few pages out of the eCommerce brands across the world and used it to understand what a digital consumer looks forward whilst purchasing a product. Indirectly, they projected the customer experience they need to provide to thrive in the business.
For instance, Flipkart acts as a mere aggregator and they could easily understand the requirements of being an aggregator. Meaning, with at least 10,000 products being sold by a minimum of 5,000 sellers on their platform, they predicted what an average digital customer might need to successfully purchase a product.
Meaning, since the customer will not have seen the product in real life or experienced its quality and/or know anything about the store or seller. The own way he/she can interact with the product is by:
a. High-Resolution Images:
This feature allows you to see a high-resolution image of the product which can be zoomed in to understand its visual details.
b.Accurate Product Descriptions:
In addition, since you can’t hire a salesman to explain the products’ description via Google Meet, you can alternatively write about everything that is relevant and important with regards to the product.
For example, There’s a lamp being sold and even though there’s a high-resolution image of the same, the customer will want to know anything more about it in terms of connectivity or the bulb they can use in it. In simple terms, the specification of the product is an important content piece which a customer will want to read any day over images.
c. Question and Answers:
Flipkart understood the fact that even though images and product descriptions would help a user understand a product, the user would still have queries which can only be resolved by the store or the seller selling it. Thus, they adopted the Q&A system to directly connect the customer to the sellers.
d. Reviews and Ratings:
And since Flipkart was to cater to both SME Sellers/Vendors and customers pan India in a number of thousands (later evolving into lakhs), they’d have to provide justice to both the parties.
Meaning, they developed the reviews and rating section to both products and sellers to make sure that customers can get to know about the product and the seller from consumers who’ve purchased the product from that specific seller.
And to provide equal opportunities among sellers/vendors, FlipKart provided them with an individual mini store page where they share the products they sell with the reviews of the product and the seller being displayed.
This is the most important aspect of building a website and a brand like Flipkart. Budgeting isn’t just about allocating investment in a proper manner. It also is about understanding the actual market value of every investment.
It’s about making sure that you spend your investment in a proper manner. You don’t purchase any service/product which is overpriced than its original value whilst setting up an eCommerce business.
Meaning, it’s about saving money where necessary and diverting the fund towards important services/necessities.
Now, to make it all possible, technology plays 4 key roles in the process:
a. Experience optimization:
To make sure that their customers and sellers can purchase and sell products from anywhere across the country, they’d have to be present on all the platforms available at a blazing speed.
b. Omni-Channel Presence:
Flipkart works seamlessly across devices and provides the same experience of purchase on all the platforms.
c.Ease of delivery, returns and replacements:
Since, its an online store, Flipkart provides ease of delivery by delivering across pan India based on customers’ needs and even hosts returns and replacements according to the customers’ needs.
d.Inventory and purchase Management:
It allows you to place products in the wishlist/carts to purchase them according to your convenience and updates the product status from time to time.
Also, since they projected the demands of the customer indirectly, they built an effective order management system which provided all the information about the product from the specific details of the store to that of the customer allowing everyone involved to stay in the loop about the product and its status.
And, the payment flexibility offered by Flipkart was tremendous. It was one of the first tier-1 brands to introduce CoD.
4. How to make a website like Flipkart?
And, this is where the recipe that you are looking for starts. The way Flipkart works is that it uses a combination of a Content Management System connected to the automation services across platforms.
And to build one for yourself, you could either:
A.Build a standalone omnichannel digital space from scratch:
It is a rather efficient and custom-tailored method of building a digital space. But, the efficiency and the personalization come at an expense.
B.Integrate an existing CMS on top of your design and automate it to fit according to your needs:
This method allows you to cater across omnichannel platforms on the digital space with the same amount of design customization. The reason why this method is preferred across the industry is that it already comes with the set of tools required to build an eCommerce site at a reasonable price.
Here’s what you need to do it:
a.Domain and Hosting:
Domain and hosting are the digital equivalents to the address and the physical space of your store.GoDaddy and BigRock are two major players who could help you with purchasing the domain and hosting for the same by sitting at your house.
To save your time without compromising on quality, we’d recommend for you to prefer powerful open source platforms like WordPress or WooCommerce to develop your website on top of it.
c.Preferred Payment Gateway:
To make sure that your customer can make payments in ways that are comfortable to them and to make sure that you get the payments cleared in time, we’d recommend for you to prefer a payment gateway which is reliable and caters to all your requirements.
For instance, RazorPay, PAYTM for Business and CCAvenue are the most trusted payment gateways used in the market due to their flexibility and ease of processing on both the customer and the brand fronts.
For you to do it right, you need a developer who can build on top of WordPress or WooCommerce CMS and integrate your preferred payment gateway to make sure that your eCommerce website works across all the digital-platforms without any issues.
You need an automation system that works across platforms to notify every person responsible in the process of purchase to delivery and post-delivery services about the product status.
We, at Nexgen Innovators, could help you build just what you need.
5.Digital OutReach & Marketing:
To increase the brand recall value, your marketing campaigns integrate with all the above factors to make sure that your customer returns to make more purchases. This includes everything from sending a thank you email with a coupon code and providing offers to your customers based on their birthday month. It’s about caring about your customers and connecting to them in every way possible.
And the above are all the necessary pointers to keep in mind whilst building your own eCommerce alternative to Flipkart.