India's mega unicorn, Bengaluru-based Flipkart, is about to list in the US market. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, the founders of Flipkart, are former IIT Delhi graduates. They quit their lucrative positions at Amazon to pursue their startup dreams. As a result, in October 2007, Flipkart started its journey to sell books online. Essentially, their concept was simple: clients placed book orders on Flipkart, and the company delivered them to their doorsteps.
The founders of Flipkart began their journey in a 2 BHK apartment and only shipped 20 packages in their first year. In the initial days, the two former Amazon employees often had to go deliver the packages by themselves to maintain a 'just in time' chain. However, soon, their efforts and ideas picked up the pace, and they were able to make their startup one of the best in India today. A more drastic change in fortune came with one of the world's largest internet deals when the US-based Walmart acquired a 77% stake in Flipkart with $16 billion.
Once rejected by Google, co-founder Binny Bansal's dream is to challenge Google India in a revenue war. The Walmart-backed Flipkart hit a new revenue milestone of $5.83+ billion amid the pandemic odds in FY2021. Flipkart's Marketing has always been its strength, and its ability to come up with fresh and exciting campaigns helps it attract customers. Here, we will check how the bookselling website of the Bansals has transformed its strategy to set itself up as the big-billion behemoth that changes India's shopping culture.
- Promotional Channels
- Customer-Friendly Initiatives
- Work Culture and Seller Satisfaction Strategy
- Efficient Distribution Channel Strategy
- Flipkart's Expansion Strategy
Flipkart's Unique Marketing Strategies to Ramp-up the Domestic Sales
Risk management or loss management is the key component of every new business at the budding stage. Flipkart, the most popular Indian eCommerce platform now, began with books, a product row with high margins, minimal maintenance, and easily transportable commodities. Books are likewise non-perishable objects with no diminishing worth over time. In the early days, when shipments were low, the company didn't have to keep inventory because books could be ordered straight from wholesalers based on customers' number of orders.
As we know, early birds always have a survival advantage. So, it started with a need-gap analysis of the Indian market. Let's see Flipkart's marketing strategy from every aspect that contributed to its success:
Flipkart is one of India's major e-commerce companies. Flipkart recorded revenue of over INR 511 billion in fiscal year 2022, reflecting an 18% rise over the previous year. This expansion is being driven by a variety of factors, including increased e-commerce usage in India, the expansion of Flipkart's product selection, and the company's emphasis on personalization and customer service.
The following are the promotional channels that Flipkart uses as a part of its marketing strategy:
- Social Media Marketing - Flipkart can't ignore powerful tools like social media. Apart from sponsored pages, Flipkart has a large following and heavily emphasizes social media. Flipkart has about 10 million Facebook fans, 4.2 million Instagram followers, 2.9 million Twitter followers, and so on as of October 2023.
Flipkart offers several different handles for different products or categories, such as fashion, tech, books, furniture, and now groceries. It uses social media, feedback, queries, and reviews as a valued customer system. Problem-solving skills with immediate response through social media enjoys trust. It uses emotional stories in social media. Creating engaging content on its social media handles is one of the major marketing strategies of Flipkart.
- Affiliate Marketing Tactics - Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based advertising in which a person receives a share of profit for promoting a product or service or for recommending Flipkart's items. Flipkart's strategy is to delegate the task of advertising its items to associates, who were paid a portion of the profit for selling the items. Affiliate program members market the products directly or indirectly through their blogs, videos, or other means. Flipkart offers 5% to 12% commission as per their cash cow products.
- Innovative Marketing Campaign - Marketing campaigns with various taglines also beefed up sales. Flipkart uses campaigns like "Itne May Itnaaaa Milegaa," "Budget Se Mukt," "Gen E, Let's Raise a Generation of Equals," "India ka Fashion Capital," and "Munna Bhai and Circuit." It has always involved emotional, joyful, or vivid messages to cover all the sections of society.
- Productive and Eye-Catching Advertisements - Advertisement is a psychological game. But here also, the billion-dollar Flipkart made a balance between celebrity endorsement and using a new face to build up a down-to-earth image. So that the average person or non-user can become used to their system; apart from this, it modifies advertisements according to the culture, festivals, and flavors of diversified India. It also observed special days like Independence Day, Women's Day, or Children's Day, with lucrative prices cut off for that segment of customers. Creating innovative advertisements is an important element of Flipkart's promotion strategy.
- Search Engine Optimization Strategy - Flipkart, India's largest online retailer, has invested much in optimizing its platform for search engine rankings. Every time someone searches for a product, Flipkart shows among the top two results, and this is all because Flipkart has invested much in SEO.
Flipkart examines people's top searches, then selects the top keywords and generates web page URLs for them. Flipkart's marketing strategy to ensure its website ranks is excellent. They also receive backlinks from over 66 million distinct domains, which is simply astounding. All of these backlinks serve as a foundation for Flipkart to rank first on search engines.
- Personal Touch and Commoner's Brand Image - Since its inception, Flipkart has ensured surprise delivery by founders, making gift packs for particular customers on special days. Indians are insane about the personal touch, gifts, wishes, etc. So, the company focuses on personal approaches. India is obsessed with Bollywood, and Flipkart is taking advantage of this to raise awareness about its image and promote its platform and products.
But now the company wants to get into a 'commoner' image to lure the OTT-addicted, 'Game of Thrones' lovers, the rational next-gen. Bollywood hardly makes sense to them. So, strategists uniquely use unknown faces.
- Google Ads Boosting Sales - Customers nowadays search for things on Google, and if you're not among the top results, you're missing out on a huge opportunity. As a result, Google Ads are beyond question. Flipkart advertises mostly on search and shop promotions, carefully considering and focusing on the proper keyword combination. Google Ads is a way for e-commerce platforms to draw consideration towards their foundation by appearing on a list of products at various phases. SEO copyright strategy helps get top search engine rank.
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The following are some of the customer-friendly initiatives that Flipkart uses as a part of its marketing strategy:
- Customer Relationship Management - CRM is one of the major components of marketing strategy. Flipkart's strategy of applied sales forces automation to help customers guide and decide, cloud software solutions, demographic analysis, purchasing behavior, browsing history monitoring, tracking sales leads, and converting confused customers into loyal ones. It is a 360° effort around the customers to create awareness to end up with sales goals.
- COD and EMI facility - Their groundbreaking cash-on-delivery offering helped them gain trust among skeptical Indian clients who had only just discovered the benefits of online shopping. Moreover, Flipkart was among the few e-commerce companies that took COD risk on an experimental basis. As a form of protection against India's numerous logistical challenges, this allowed customers to obtain their things before paying for them.
Easy EMI options push the confused customer to a potential buyer. Flipkart convinces the customer that EMI is to increase affordability without hampering their monthly budget or putting any major cost burden on them.
- Out of Cash Options (Buy Today, Pay Later) - In this world, when your best friend can deny credit during an emergency, but not the dear friend Flipkart.
After the COD movement, the Flipkart builders decided to allow the 'Pay Later' option for more people to shop on the site. It is one of the most effective marketing tactics for attracting new customers. Pay Later allows you to make online purchases quickly and easily. Customers who have been committed or appeared loyal to Flipkart for a long time have been selected to benefit from this opportunity.
- Exchange Offer or Bonus Redeem- One of the most effective marketing tactics for expanding the customer base is to offer discounts. Customers who receive a discount are more likely to become long-term customers, as everyone, rich or poor, enjoys receiving discounts. Suppose a company offers a discount in the early years; in that case, it will undoubtedly be the market leader in the future. Flipkart has followed this marketing plan to become the market leader in today's online industry.
It also offers easy exchange options in various segments, making the platform a trusted one by Indian customers.
- Easy Refund and Replacement Policy - Flipkart also offers a product replacement service if a consumer receives damaged or incorrect goods, and in case of a refund, it credits the entire amount to the customer's bank account within 2 to 3 days. This method is particularly vital if an eCommerce platform wants to sustain itself in the market for a long time and create customer confidence. The company also offers very robust customer care support to cater to the grievances of their customers.
- Flipkart Assured and Quality Checked Products - In the initial period, it struggled with fake sellers, poor quality products, wrong products, and broken delivery issues. Their strategist came out with powerful initiatives like 'Flipkart assured.' Flipkart Assured, India's first speed and quality assurance program, ensures that customers receive high-quality products in the shortest time possible. Their grocery part ensured 7-step quality check products. The logistics staff have worked hard and focused on minimizing product damage across the supply chain.
Work Culture and Seller Satisfaction Strategy
The marketing strategy of Flipkart is driven by employees, the prime assets of organizations. A good work culture with healthy competition and less corporate politics is what ensures productivity. Professional social media giant Linkedin hailed Flipkart's work culture and flagged it as the most preferred place of work in India. Many Flipsters and ex-employees also expressed admiration for their work culture on Quora. The company is also super popular for its employee-friendly paternity policy.
The seller or supplier is the key component of the entire logistic chain as the eCommerce giant is not the producer but create a marketplace where buyer and sellers can meet. So, it is important to have satisfied sellers to minimize product quality issues. A good seller will guarantee good quality that makes the customers happy, and this is what the main purpose of a great marketing strategy is. Thus, Walmart's Flipkart gives equal importance to its customers and the sellers, which makes it a successful and popular platform.
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Efficient Distribution Channel Strategy
Flipkart has over 80 warehouses in India where it may hold products after receiving them from retailers and quickly transfer them to customers. Flipkart also has other hubs for packing, branding, sorting, and more. The most important aim of Flipkart's marketing is to ensure fast delivery to win the trust of customers, and this can be done by selecting a good and efficient distribution system and chain.
Flipkart's Expansion Strategy
Merger acquisition or business buyout is not only a policy to reduce competition but also a great marketing strategy. Flipkart's strategy has been to acquire many of its small competitors to kill competition, and sometimes, its acquisition is to boost logistics tech advantages or make a new entry. For example, it acquired ANS Commerce, eBay India, and Myntra (the king of the online fashion industry) to fight with rivals. In order to diversify itself, Flipkart has also made deals with the med platform SastaSundar and the ticket booking application Cleartrip. All this brings up the platform in the eyes of people and, hence, a great marketing strategy.
So, Flipkart is the big fish that eats little fish for its diversified expansion.
STP Analysis of Marketing
A balanced strategy is chosen for STP (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning) analysis of Flipkart segmentation, pricing, and targeting analysis. Flipkart works as a middleman and sells from books to bikinis, so their targeting is not fixed. Similarly, the pricing also rotates as per product quality brand. However, it claims many products under MRP and discount rates.
Flipkart targets anyone who uses the internet but does not have time to shop. Though its target audience is spread across numerous market sectors since consumers of all demographic backgrounds can find products that appeal to their interests, 75% of its audience falls between the ages of 16 and 55.
Flipkart uses behavioral and psychographic segmentation tactics to segment the market and adapt to customers' shifting requirements and wants. Flipkart's positioning has helped it to become one of the most successful e-commerce companies in India. It is a popular choice for shoppers of all ages and income groups, and it is known for its wide range of products, affordable prices, and convenient shopping experience.
Flipkart and the Covid-19 Battle
Unprecedented adversity turned into a lucrative opportunity for Flipkart. At first, the company faced problems during work-from-home culture due to the systematic shift of human and tech resources and a struggling delivery system due to the lockdown.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining. It created the Programme management team and ensured cashless delivery without any touch. The Flipkart family took care of employees, vendors, frontline workers, and consumers during the tough time of the pandemic. The company tied up with the Uber drivers for smooth delivery. The Walmart-owned company announced a 46 crore medical supply donation for India to help common people out of the internal ecosystem. Internal vaccination drive, strict COVID norms, or strong insurance for employees bring out their safety concerns.
Marketing Campaigns of Flipkart
Flipkart Big Billion Day
Flipkart Big Billion Day is an annual sale event sponsored by Flipkart. It is one of India's largest shopping festivals, with enormous discounts on a wide range of merchandise.
Flipkart Big Billion Day is usually held in October and lasts several days. Flipkart offers discounts on a wide range of products during the sale, including smartphones, laptops, electronics, clothes, and home appliances. During the sale, the company also offers a variety of additional deals and promotions, such as flash sales, coupons, and cashback offers. This is the biggest Promotional strategy of Flipkart.
India ka Fashion Capital
India ka Fashion Capital is a prominent marketing campaign that highlights the company's extensive fashion goods offering. The campaign, which features celebrities such as Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, emphasizes Flipkart's position as a one-stop shop for all the newest fashion trends.
Flipkart Kidults Campaign
Flipkart's "Kidults" marketing strategy focuses on the distinct demands and desires of young adults in India. The campaign includes a series of advertisements depicting young adults conducting ordinary activities in a humorous and lively manner. The advertisements frequently use humor and exaggeration to emphasize that, despite their age, young adults are still young at heart.
The "Kidults" campaign has had great success in reaching out to young adults in India. The advertisements are accessible and humorous and speak to the unique issues and opportunities that young adults in India confront. The campaign also helped Flipkart establish itself as a brand that understands and responds to the demands of young adults.
Flipkart's FlipGirl campaign is a marketing effort that stars Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt as FlipGirl, a superhero. The ad attempts to promote Flipkart's diverse product offering, quick delivery, and commitment to making buying accessible to all Indians.
The FlipGirl campaign is a series of advertisements in which FlipGirl comes to the aid of individuals in distress. FlipGirl saves a man from being hit by a car in one commercial by handing him a replacement phone just in time. In another commercial, FlipGirl saves a woman from being late for work by delivering a new pair of shoes just as she is about to leave the house.
Frequently Bought Together Campaign
It's a marketing strategy that recommends products that are frequently purchased together. The promotion is founded on the observation that customers are more willing to buy things that they know go well together.
The campaign includes a series of recommendations that appear on product pages and during the checkout process. For example, if a consumer is looking at a smartphone product page, Flipkart may recommend a case, headphones, or a charger. Alternatively, if a consumer is checking out with a grocery order, Flipkart may propose a dessert or snack to complement the products they have previously chosen.
The #MultiPurposePurchase campaign from Flipkart is a multi-category promotion that encourages people to buy products from multiple categories in a single order. Customers can take advantage of the campaign by receiving discounts and other advantages on their purchases.
The promotion aims to boost Flipkart's average order value and encourage customers to buy more products from the company. Flipkart can also use the campaign to cross-sell and upsell products to its customers.
Har Need Ke Liye Best Deals
The campaign includes a series of advertisements depicting people from various walks of life locating the best prices on Flipkart. In one advertisement, a young woman is depicted purchasing a new smartphone at a reduced price. In another commercial, a family is shown saving money by purchasing all of their groceries on Flipkart.
The commercial also promotes Flipkart's diverse product offering and its dedication to making buying accessible to all Indians. The advertisements depict people of diverse income levels and backgrounds searching for the greatest discounts on Flipkart.
Flipkart's Special Occasion Campaign
Flipkart's Special Occasion Campaign is a year-round series of sales and promotions commemorating major holidays and festivals. Discounts on a wide range of products, including cellphones, electronics, clothes, and home appliances, are often included in the promotion. Flipkart's Special Occasion Campaign is one of India's most popular shopping events. It is a fantastic opportunity for customers to receive fantastic prices on what they require and desire.
The above-mentioned Flipkart marketing strategies, like social media marketing, catchy campaigns, advertisements, bonus redemption, out-of-cash options, etc., are responsible for making the company what it is today. It is not only proper planning but great execution that matters, too. This startup, which merely started as a bookselling platform, is now ruling the Indian eCommerce market with its effective marketing strategies. Thus, the platform has come a long way since its inception, and it also makes continuous efforts to stay in the market in its full prime.
When was Flipkart founded?
Flipkart was founded in the year 2007 by Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal.
What are some prominent acquisitions of Flipkart?
Some prominent acquisitions of Flipkart are:
- ANS Commerce
What is Flipkart Assured?
Flipkart Assured is a badge that can be found on certain products present on Flipkart's platform. This means that the products are of high quality, have passed six precise quality checks, and are from its best sellers.
What is so famous about Flipkart's marketing?
Flipkart is well-known for its collaborations. It also spends a lot of money on celebrity marketing and star power. Flipkart keeps collaborating with various famous figures from time to time.
What are the marketing strategies of Flipkart?
Flipkart indulges in both paid and organic marketing. Its main focus remains on marketing through digital channels like social media marketing, Google ads, etc.
Which are the most popular campaigns of Flipkart?
The most popular campaigns by Flipkart include:
- Big Billion Day
- Frequently Bought Together Campaign
- Itne Mein Itnaaaa Milegaa
- India ka Fashion Capital