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Alok's Posts / Startup

E-Commerce! I see HOPE! Flipkart scores!!

Check out this recommendation I received from Flipkart recently:

Now, here is the killer:

– 5 of the 10 books suggested are PERFECT recommendations for me. They are bang on.

– 1 out of 10 is bizarre – I mean why the hell will I buy a Gambling book?

– 1 out of 10 is interesting (The Red Version of the Autobiography of a Yogi). I buy and gift the Blue Book  (for a reason), but at least Flipkart is offering me a variant (and a less expensive) one at that. They are making me discover and curious.

– I am puzzled by the recommendation to buy CRASH. I think I’ve seen the movie but I can’t remember it. I am scratching my head as to why they have recommended the same.

So, this is what makes me hope for better things to come:

– Amazon perfected ‘recommended for you’.

( I hope they don’t have a patent on the idea as a business process). This is a proven growth engine and does not cost any money.

– Flipkart is now figuring out its customers and drilling and mining their consumption patterns.

At least someone is making presumptions on what I want (and almost perfectly) – rather than Pepperfry that is asking me to buy a bed everyday!

Side Shout – HEY YOU PEPPERFRY – I don’t know what you do every night, but I don’t break my bed everyday! I’ve been sleeping on the same bed for the past 22 years now!! So go, get a life and suggest toilet paper or something like that to me instead.

– Now, if 50% of Flipkart’s recommendations are bang on, that’s a big one!

Simply look at it this way:

If I have bought say 10 items from Flipkart in the past, with an average ticket size of say Rs 200/-, that’s Rs 2000 spent.

Now, if Flipkart is suggesting 5 items that cost Rs 200 each (blended), that’s an additional potential sale of Rs 1000/- that I can be made to generate.

Hence if Sales can be ‘regenerated’ to the extent of 50-100% by a customer, that means that the cost of Flipkart to acquire and retain customers can begin to fall rapidly.

That’s a lot, assuming that everyone sometimes or the other succumbs to targeted and perfect suggestions!

Of course, this kicks in only when their deliveries and their business becomes profitable! Else, every new sale (via ads or direct or viral or recommendation) is a loss!

– Recommendations is the New Loyalty!

This is a big differentiator for Flipkart!

No other e-commerce site (I have bought from a few including Pepperfry) has sent me a recommendation. Now it’s possible that I did not buy enough or buy from more established players, but who cares? I don’t remember them. I don’t care for them. I may never go back to them!

If Flipkart has sent me this, I will buy from them, and the process and cycle will snowball.

Well done Flipkart. You won a brownie from me today!

Errrr…. NO, I’m not gonna ship it free to you 🙂


Response received from Flipkart on 24-8-2012!!



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  1. They can still fine-tune the engine. Finally I see some e-com site using AI for recommendation. 

  2. Flipkart amazes me. I have been one of their very early customers.They have failed me just once. Based on my experience with other online retailers, they stand head and shoulders above all other. I am ordering more and more stuff online and they have figured it out while others are a mess. And the best part they are trying very hard and making things better.

    Now I just go to Flipkart and buy and item. No price comparisons, nothing. They deliver the goods…literally. 

  3. I wish someone from pepperfry reads this. Flipkart will be India’s amazon i don’t doubt it and they will revolutionize many things in the process.

  4. I recently made three purchases( 1 camera and 2 books) and the recommendations made were almost relevant. I am sure they will fine tune it to make it perfect. The only company which people genuinely vouch for service and delivery..

    Flipkart, the best part is that you didn’t bought the brownie like others, you have earned it. 🙂

  5. I tried out flipkart for the first time a week back… superb experience….and the recommended for you alomost made me buy three more books… good stuff!

    Also, nice to see Alok appreciating some e-com site in India. 🙂 

  6. Flipkart stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to customer experience.

    Only once have I moved away from Flipkart for buying books online, and I regretted very very much!

    I had to buy books worth around Rs. 12,000. And when I did the price comparision on Flipkart and Infibeam, I realized I could save around Rs.1000 if I bought from Infibeam. So, obviously, I went for Infibeam!

    The biggest of those purchases was a book worth Rs. 2000+. When I finally got the book (the website said 12-14 days… I got it after 21), the book cover was folded AND there were somebody’s dirty finger prints inside!! I am someone who loves the smell of a new book, and these 2 things just spoilt the experience for me!

    When I called up Infibeam, I was told I could get a fresh copy. Only I would have to wait for 3 weeks!

    And here’s the kicker: when I told the guy I could not wait that long AGAIN, he offered me a phenomenal offer! As compensation for the damaged book worth Rs.2500, he offered me… wait for it… a Rs. 50 voucher!

    Sworn off infibeam since that day, and been a loyal flipkart customer since.

  7. Surely with the AI into picture Flipkart is going to #1 in e-commerce.

  8. Flipcart ATLEAST used their brains to come up with an Algorithm that’s 50% perfect. And since no one is perfect (including Big G’s algo), they can be proud of what they have developed!

  9. I guess I must seriously start checking my own list of recommendations that Flipkart sends me 🙂

  10. How many people buy books if you give them all perfect 10 recommendations? 🙂 Isn’t the best scenario to give them few perfect matches, and give them few crappy ones so that they don’t get confused by too much choice?

  11. Flipkart is awesome & Infibeam on the other hand sucks 😐

    Ordered HTC Sensation XE on Aug 15,not yet delivered even as the promised date Aug 21st passed away..Now when i call they told me that black color is not available..They said that they have white,i said Ok & they now asked for 2 days to start the process again…WTF is this?

    Any kind of similar experiences for u guys with infibeam?

  12. Flipkart awesome?? My foot!!!

    Ordered a cordless phone from Flipkart on COD option, got the consignment today & what I got, a phone receiver. i.e. someone else’s consignment was delivered to me at my address & inside that address of the other party was mentioned, clear case of wrong packaging. He had a debit card machine so before I could open the consignment I was already charged for it, when I asked why this mistake – he had no answers!!! Moral of the story, my phone is yet to come but the other party’s phone is with me (obviously his consignment is delayed) I have a 1.5 year old daughter {who is quite naughty & destructive at times too 🙂 } what if she plays with this other party’s phone & when I get my piece I will return this phone(hoepfully soon!!) which he will deliver to the actual owner and Flipkart says they only sell new products?? My daughter would have already made this 2nd hand, so think how our products might be coming to us, all 1st hand??? I really doubt. This is my most recent & first experience with Flipkart, I vow to use ebay or even amazon or walmart (when they start operations here but not indian ecom chaps!) Problem is they lack in systems, they dont invest in ERPs, Supply Chain apps which minmize human errors, This is a clear case of a human error. They have to invest in systems & not manpower to ensure supply chain is smooth enough!

    Another tragic ecom experience, we got an LG mobile on which we got coupons from ibibo & tradus worth 5000, tried using them, none working – complained to tradus (a company of ibibo) & they said the coupons have expired!!!! I scanned & sent them as all had expiry of around 31st Oct to 31st Dec 2012 & they said they will get back & till date no one has got back (in last 10 days!!), worst scenario – tradus has no call center where we can call to, its all online (cost savings!!) but at WHAT COST? YOU THINK I WILL EVER BUY FROM THERE? I went back to the dealer who sold me the LG phone, he says LG sells many such fake deals, so now whom to catch? The dealer who knows that such fake deals are inside the mobile offers but who lied to me or hid things or LG or Ibibo or tradus? or the entire system!! and we say only the government is corrupt??? Corruption has become systemic in India,. Only an epedemic can now remove corruption from India & Indians!!!

    Vande Mataram (God save us all!)

    Akshay Shah

  13. Clarification to my above post, TRADUS has just replied me & validated my vouchers 🙂 (Did they read my above blog post?, no idea but here is their mail to me (full mail trail attached below) Rodinhood helps & see how :-))) Thanks!!!

    Original Message

    Subject: [#66391] Customer feedback: General
    Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:15:52 +0000

    Hi Varsha,

    Thanks for your time over the phone.

    As discussed gift voucher code :- 186HPLNHDA validity has been extended till 31-Oct-2012 11:59 pm and against the gift voucher code :- VMYUP95B5K we will get back to you with details on 27/08/2012 or 28/08/2012.

    In case you require further assistance please reply to this e-mail.

    Team Tradus

    How long will we have to wait for this?

    Why do we pay for your mistakes? We took the phone based on your
    coupons, your coupons not working – why we pay for this delay??

    Why do we wait till eternity, were these coupons real or a fraud to
    cheat / fool customers??


    On 8/16/2012 11:51 AM, wrote:

    Hi Varsha,

    Good Morning

    This is in regards to your query. Thank you for sharing the snapshot.
    We have forwarded your issue to the concerned department. Once we get
    an update, we will update you with the status.

    Please allow us some time to get back to you.

    For any further help and support, you can refer the link mentioned below:

    Team Tradus

    From: <mailto:>
    To: <mailto:>
    Sent On: Sun, 05 Aug 2012 at 12:10:49 AM
    Subject: Customer feedback: General

    We have purchased a new LG Smart Cookie Phone in which we got
    various ibibo coupons and also Tradus Coupons but when we try to
    redeem them on they give an error saying the Coupon is
    not valid for the said purchase. Phone Number: 9324086643

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