Say what you will about the business model, cash burn, valuation, and profitability aspects of Flipkart, its customers only care about one thing — their own experience shopping on the platform. And if this study is anything to go by, Flipkart is right on top.
According to the Livemint and RedSeer E-tailing Leadership Index (ELI), a quarterly consumer research done on ecommerce platforms in India, Flipkart with a score of 95 has come up right on top of the ecommerce pecking order. The Bengaluru-based etailer is ahead of the international ecommerce giant Amazon which scored 87, while Snapdeal came in a distant third at 66. Paytm was close to Snapdeal with a score of 65, while ShopClues and eBay India scored 59 and 56, respectively.
For the research, RedSeer surveyed some 3,000 online shoppers in 30 cities, tracking prices of more than 600 mobile phones across India’s top six e-commerce firms. The index measures the performance of these firms for the period of May-July. The survey considered three broad metrics: trust in a brand; product assortment and prices; and the overall buying experience in terms of ease of using the e-commerce platform, delivery speed/consistency of orders and ease of product returns or cancellations. It does not reflect sales performance or losses.
Flipkart under new CEO Binny Bansal has calibrated its efforts from a discount-heavy platform to one with superior customer service and shopping experience. To this end, the company has gone back to its roots of being an inventory-heavy model as opposed to a marketplace, which helps it have greater control over the inventory. This has led to more stringent quality checks, faster shipping times, and a larger range of products. Service innovation via programs such as Flipkart Assured, no-cost-EMI and product exchanges have also helped in enhancing the customer experience.
Similarly, Flipkart (after this study) has also rolled out its customer loyalty programme Flipkart Assured under which Flipkart will attempt one to two day delivery, additional quality checks to minimise errors, and free delivery on select goods.
Speaking of the other players in the survey, Amazon compared to Flipkart in customer perception, while fared better on the web and mobile browsing experience. Snapdeal led on delivery times, PayTM on prices while Shopclues and Ebay fared low on all metrics.
It’ll be interesting to see how the launch of customer loyalty programmes by Flipkart and Snapkart help the two fare in the subsequent editions of the study.
Meanwhile, the message is clear, Flipkart may have its own battles to fight on the road to being a sustainable and profitable business, but as long as it delivers to its customers, it’s here to give a tough fight to its rivals.