Flipkart announced today that it had embraced a marketplace system, turning the portal into a “virtual mall” and giving consumers access to multiple sellers and brands on one platform. Flipkart Marketplace has been introduced with the aim of creating an ecosystem of retailers, brands and manufacturers, putting them in touch with consumers. To start with, Flipkart has on-board 50 sellers that will sell books, media, and consumer electronics.
The announcement means a change in the way Flipkart does business. With a marketplace model, Flipkart will no longer have an inventory of its own, rather buyers can deal with sellers directly and the delivery will be done by Flipkart. The model will be similar to eBay India, Tradus or Amazon.
Flipkart will still play the middle-man between retailers and consumers, though, so you need not worry about how your online purchases will reach you. Sellers can list products and check out competition and prices right on Flipkart’s website now. Going forward, says Flipkart, consumers will be able able to compare sellers and eventually settle for the best price.
“We created the blueprint for Flipkart Marketplace with the determination to take online shopping to the masses. In the last 12 months, more than 80 million unique visitors have come to Flipkart. Five out of six online Indians visit our website. Sellers on Flipkart will get access to this vast user base – which is akin to the footfall in prime retail spaces in the top 10 cities of the country,” said Sachin Bansal, CEO and Co-Founder, Flipkart.
Users will still be able to make use of the cash-on-delivery and easy monthly installments options that Flipkart has always provided. The portal has assured users that it will be taking sellers on-board only after rigorous onboarding process. The site will even initiate a protection programme to address complaints. Flipkart has said that over time it will feature sellers that provide the best service more prominently across the website.
Making this deal a win-win for all three parties involved, Flipkart is trying to lure in retailers to list on the website by offering them its logistics and allowing them to feature prominently to Flipkart’s existing user base.
At present, the entire inventory of Flipkart is being managed by WS Retail. While WS Retail will continue to be one of the sellers, Flipkart will also slowly incorporate new sellers.
However, the ecommerce company will continue to manage the delivery and shipping of products.
So what do you guys think about this shift towards an eBay/Amazon like model?