Archive for the ‘eCommerce’ Tag

My perspective: What is wrong with Flipkart?

Slightly off theme, but I just posted the following answer to the question, “What is wrong with Flipkart?” on Quora:

I used to be a loyal Flipkart customer, even opting for a Flipkart First membership on the very day that it was launched. However, over the past six months or so, their quality of customer service has gone downhill very steeply.

In particular, I found two of their programs particularly deceptive, even to the point of being scams.

Flipkart First

When you opt for premium membership of a reputed eCommerce website, you expect the special privileges to apply to all of the products that it sells. No, Flipkart First applies only to products directly sold by WS Retail, Flipkart’s “frontend operations” company.

You might argue that I should have read the terms and conditions of membership before opting for it. I did. However, what I failed to imagine was that a company of the stature of Flipkart would offer no way to search for WS Retail products on its website. In fact, you can’t search by seller at all. Worse, Flipkart doesn’t even display the seller name upfront on the homepage. One has to click open products one by one to see if they’re sold by WS Retail. What a gaping hole in user experience!

Even then, if you make the effort of ordering only products sold by WS Retail, there’s no guarantee that your product will be delivered within the promised timeframe. A product I ordered on November 3 as a Flipkart First customer has still not been delivered (OD 2011 875 181 457 23 100). So much for their in-a-day delivery promise!

Flipkart e-Gift Vouchers

The name itself is deceptive. These vouchers, again, apply only to WS Retail products. Again, there is no way to search for WS Retail products on Why not be truthful and call the vouchers ‘WS Retail E-Gift Vouchers’?

If you’re planning an event or a giveaway, save your participants a full day of trial-and-error shopping. Don’t gift them Flipkart eGift Vouchers!


Aside from these two programs, I’ve realized that a lot of Flipkart’s customer experience delivery endpoints are badly broken. Sometimes, the lapses seem deliberate. The other day, I was trying to get on chat with a customer care representative. I was kept waiting for 17 minutes, and right when the system said I was the first one in the waiting queue, I was uncermoniously disconnected with a “Sorry, no agents are currently available!” message. Why keep customers waiting for 17 minutes if no agents are available? Couldn’t Flipkart have handled this situation gracefully, promising a call back within a reasonable timeframe? 

Flipkart’s customer experience used to be the talk of the town not very long ago. They introduced us Indians to a new breed of companies, the one that seemed to value customers. However, all of that good work has come to naught and how quickly! On the contrary, Amazon India has been very gracious whenever I’ve had the opportunity to interact with them.

I wish Flipkart well, but I’m compelled to go with the best customer experience in the end. So will most customers.