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Flipkart Adds ACs, Refrigerators To Its Shopping Cart
 
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Flipkart Adds ACs, Refrigerators To Its Shopping Cart  
 
Flipkart recently introduced ACs and refrigerators on its online portal. We spoke to Ravi Vora, VP-marketing to know about the latest offering and the expected response...   
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Thursday, April 12, 2012 E-commerce is definitely on a growth trajectory now. Right from travel tickets, hotel bookings, books, accessories, electronic gadgets, to even clothes selling online, the online retailers are raking in good moolah. With the kind of lifestyle that people lead these days, online shopping is like a boon for consumers. Anything and everything can be ordered online just by a click of few buttons. In such a scenario, Flipkart that started its journey primarily by selling books online, has introduced air-conditioners and refrigerators of several brands on its portal.

Though the spread and impact of online shopping cannot be questioned, it makes us wonder if Indian consumer is yet ready to purchase large appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators online. We spoke to Ravi Vora, VP – marketing, Flipkart to find out more about the consumer behaviour and the firm's latest offering.

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How do you think introducing items like ACs and refrigerators on the e-commerce portal would work?

We have been dealing with large appliances like washing machines and televisions on our site for a while now and the reception has been promising. We offer a 30-day replacement policy as well as original warranties on all products. The post-purchase installation and service is still taken care of by the brand, but we take the responsibility of getting this organised to help our customers. In fact, we offer all the assurances of buying such products from an offline shop, along with the convenience of sitting at home and buying it online.

Is the Indian consumer mature enough to buy products like ACs or refrigerators online, considering it is an investment of at least five years on an average?

The Indian consumer is slowly but surely opening up to the concept of online shopping. They had started off with travel tickets and over the last few years we have seen them buy books, media and accessories. Today, we even see consumers buying groceries online, on other sites.

We believe that if a customer is assured of quality products, proper pre and post-delivery support and sensible pricing options, then they will opt for buying any kind of product online. Adding to that, the sheer convenience factor and a much larger selection in one place is an advantage. This is of paramount importance for high-value purchases, where a customer will want to evaluate all his choices before making a purchase.

What is Flipkart's arrangement with brands, as there are discounts as high as 27 per cent? Is it also a way of helping brands clear their stocks?

We get discounts based on our bulk inventory. Lower overhead costs in the online model help us to pass on some of these savings in the form of discounts to customers.

At all points of time, we stock the best and latest products. We believe in offering our customers the very best and do not work as a stock-clearance channel.

What is the kind of response that you get and expect from smaller cities?

Though the Internet penetration may be lower in tier 2 cities as compared to metros, in the recent past we have witnessed a rise in traffic from such centers. In fact, the split between traffic from metros and that from tier 1 and 2 cities is almost equal.

We are introducing all our large appliances in a phased manner, which also includes some tier 1 and 2 cities. The response we have received shows that we are going in the right direction.

Upasana Rajpal, EFYTIMES News Network


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