Even after multiple top level management changes and valuation markdowns, Flipkart is gearing up for another round of its annual flagship festivities but introducing some major changes to the same. The company is now exercising greater control over the ‘Big Billion Day'(BBD) sale, so as not to create a similar havoc as the first one.
Instead of holding the sale on consecutive days, Flipkart this time around is internally mulling over the decision to hold the Big Billion Day sale over a spread of multiple days in October. As reported by internal sources(via ET), this move will give the e-commerce giant greater control over deliveries and customer service.
BBD was earlier planned for 15-16 October but Flipkart has preponed it to the first day/week of October. What’s being discussed right now is that the first BBD will be the big one, followed by medium and small BBDs
one of the sources said.
Flipkart is also planning to introduce a ‘buy-now pay-later‘ scheme for customers, by arranging pre-approved loans with help from lenders. The scheme is as simple as it sounds, some vendors will offer you the option to purchase the required products during the sale, but collect the payment someday in the future — much like a credit card payment. But, the main concerns around this scheme will be based around the return policy and how it will work.
Flipkart is in talks with several banks to disburse these loans, which will be underwritten by it. Flipkart is launching its loans product just to promote repeat purchases during BBD and win back the Metros.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who recently rejoined Flipkart as the head of category management is again taking charge of planning and executing this humongous flagship sale event. Krishnamurthy, who is a MD at Tiger Global Management was the part of the first ‘Big Billion Day’ as well.
Flipkart believes that even after repeated losses, this ‘Big Billion Day’ sale will help them take the edge over Amazon, Snapdeal or PayTM during their sale events. The core focus of the sale will still remain on mobile, electronics, large appliances and lifestyle categories.
And to attract more customers to its mobile and app platform, the company has already ramped up its online marketing budget. While still keeping focus on its mobile platform, it plans to leverage the userdata to target its marketing and loan schemes to particular users. The loan initiative will also help them understand the financial standing of individual customers.
Flipkart certainly doesn’t want to revisit the past days of the first ‘Big Billion Day’, when it was probed by the government for alleged violation of retail rules. It had then barred the e-commerce companies from holding large sale events, to stop them from ‘directly or indirectly’ influencing the sale price of goods and services.
But the companies have continued these sales arguing that the discounts during these events are offered by the sellers and not them. Also, the government has softened its stance against the e-tailers and their big sale events.
Last year, Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Day’ sales grew 3 fold and amounted to over $300 million as compared to the first year’s $100 million. And smartphones(specially 4G) sales accounted for the two-thirds of the total $300 million worth of products sold in the sale.
Final Chance for Flipkart
Pulling off a successful flagship sale event is very important for Flipkart, if it wants to show that the company is still the e-commerce market leader in India. And a successful sale day will also put the valuation markdowns to shame, proving that the company still has some might left to fight off vultures,(ahem! Amazon) who are trying to take its place.
Amazon is currently heading towards becoming the biggest e-commerce player in the India, and has already taken over Snapdeal. In addition to this, the American e-commerce giant also has plans to pump in another $3 billion into its India operations in the near future.
But, there is another player that is heavy on cash and is gearing up to bifurcate its business and spin-off its e-commerce business into a separate identity with a new name very soon. After the 100% FDI involvement in online marketplaces, Alibaba-backed PayTM is expected to be the Chinese giants ecommerce launchpad in India. And it doesn’t do anything on a small scale, the ‘Big Billion Days’ in China amounts to multiple fold when compared to Flipkart.
But, this is definitely the deciding year for the e-commerce in India. If Flipkart is able to show some might in this huge ‘Big Billion Day’ event, then it can bag some much needed investments in the process. Else, PayTM CEO will be right in considering that the Indian e-commerce battle will be fought between Alibaba and Amazon.