Flipkart: Long Road To Redemption

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Dear Customer, we did not live up to the promises we made and for that we are really and truly sorry.

Sounds familiar? I am sure most of you received “Apologies, from Flipkart” in your mailbox yesterday.

The Big Billion debacle and “Flopkart” has done its rounds on the internet. The Bansals, founders of Flipkart, are now reverting to damage control. Hard-earned reputation has been compromised, customers’ trust has been shuddered, and rivals have cashed in. Modestly put, that’s a crisis. So much for the Big Billion Day!

Flipkart is (or was) arguably the most celebrated e-commerce website in the country. No wonder the home-grown portal raised $ 1 billion earlier this year. Customer satisfaction has been the pivot of Flipkart’s success. It was this keystone that was battered on the e-retailer’s big day. Customers were agitated and angry over the website’s performance. Many, on the social media, even vowed to never use Flipkart again.

The unprecedented beneficiaries of this crisis have been Amazon and Snapdeal. Unfortunately for Flipkart, there are other major players in the e-commerce market which can snatch their loyalists. As a matter of fact, no better opportunity could have arrived for Flipkart’s rivals. Amazon allegedly indulged in ambush marketing on the Big Billion Day itself, while Snapdeal used intelligent advertising to counter its nemesis’ big day.

If this was not enough, some companies (like LG and Sony) have decided to take legal action against the online retailer and the customers may even face issues when availing warranty on Flipkart-purchased-goods.

Flipkart (which was not “adequately prepared”) has a very long way to go if it is to recover the lost consumer base. For consumers, a tirade of options is available online, and Flipkart needs to come up with a measure to convince the deluded buyers to shop on the portal again.

Social media is one magnificent magic multiplier. There would hardly be a soul in India (who is on Facebook and Twitter) to have not gone through the agony of buyers who fancied their chances of purchasing goods from the website. Flipkart has been hard done by the image that has been shaped over the past two days. Reviving itself as a “trustworthy” seller is an uphill task.

Even if the apology is a worthy try, online trends reveal that it isn’t enough for the public. The resentment on the out of stock products, price inconsistency, cancellations, and website issues, is too much to deal with. Honestly, the apology doesn’t come too close to a rational explanation. Almost every user has deciphered that it was a marketing strategy for the Indian e-commerce giant. It is not easy coming back for Flipkart anymore.

Vikas Arora

Image Source [http://gadgetinsider.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/flipkart-logo.jpg]