Home > Strategy > An advice for Flipkart (and other start-ups)

An advice for Flipkart (and other start-ups)


Flipkart established its name as an online bookstore. Although it has ventured into many more product categories in recent years, it has been only moderately successful in establishing its name as an online retailer and grow beyond the ‘bookseller’ tag. One reason for the same is customer satisfaction beyond delivering books. I had a first hand experience of a major flaw in their delivery network last week.

I have been using Flipkart for order books for more than two years now and they never gave me a chance to complain. The service was just perfect.

On 13th Jan ’13 I ordered some fitness equipment and was assured of delivery within 3-4 days. I got a call from delivery boy on 17th Jan morning that he will be delivering the package at my address in next 30 mins. I waited till evening and no one came. I called the guy in the evening to enquire about my package, he assured me that the same will be delivered next morning. I waited whole day, no package came. In the evening I called up the Flipkar helpline and on enquiring the status of my ordered was told that the order was cancelled (although the Flipkart website still showed me the status ‘approved’). On enquiring further, the call center agent told me that the delivery boy could not find the address and cancelled my order. I was astonished to know that the order was cancelled- that too without informing me! I protested to the call center agent that how can you guys cancel my order that too without my permission and without caring to inform me? The agent squarely blamed the ‘Blue Dart’ courier guys on the fiasco and told me if I still want the item, I’ll have to place a fresh order.

And how were the books delivered to me on the same address? The agent told me the books and small items are delivered by their own delivery boys and for other items, they use Blue Dart.

Here is a perfect example of choosing your partners in business. For a customer like me, who was very satisfied with the services of Flipkart, the expectation was to match the expectations they had managed to set with me. But, itwas not the case. Why? because on all the earlier occasions, the delivery was done by Flipkart itself and on this last occasion they entrusted the responsibility to Blue Dart and messed it up. Even though Flipkart have been able to set high standards of service delivery for their own delivery staff, but the same lacks in their partner- Blue Dart. For a customer like me, I don’t care whether the package is being delivered by Flipkart or someone else, I expect Flipkart to own the responsibility.

May be, this is the reason that Flipkart is not able to go beyond being a very good ‘online bookseller’ to becoming a full fledged ‘online retailer’.

A lesson for all start-ups (and other businesses as well) on how an improper partner can derail your long term goals and business strategy.

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