Flipkart - Still a Scaled-Up Startup to Making of an Transforming Organisation

Going beyond 'Aur Dikhao - Aur Dikhao' model - Shifting the paradigm

Today’s brew is for Flipkart
Brew Date: 13th May 2015
Type: Served Real Hot – Transformational brew

Why Flipkart is still a one big scaled-up startup and building it an Organisation with sustainable future ?
Here’s an analysis on one of India’s first unicorn, Flipkart,
Flipkart (‘Fk’ from here on) was founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, both alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. They had been working for Amazon.com previously. The first product sold by them was the book Leaving Microsoft To Change The World, bought by VVK Chandra from Andhra Pradesh.

Fk has until now added tremendous value (to itself) to the Indian chapter of Consumerism, and time is now ripe for the Bansal duo and hinting back to where it all started, to follow the philosophy of the first product it sold – Leaving Flipkart (not literally though) to change the World.

To understand the business model of Flipkart, you can as well read on to:
3) Or wait for some day for the Flipkart story to be in prints , which i am sure will be there in times to come.

The Brew has divided this analysis in 2 parts, however i would like to emphasize that this analysis attempts to inceptualize a different future of Fk from its current trajectory:
a) Business Analysis
b) Improvisations to Business Strategy

a) Business Analysis:
Unless Fk is offering a difficult to not get lured by some onshelf discounted sales (that’s a success mantra of being successful in Indian markets), a quick look to its official website and its About us section, it describes flipkart.com (and for that matter Fk, the company) as India’s leading marketplace with its respective Kpi’s.

Following are the points (based on subtle cues provided above), which has the potential to transform Fk, to a different league altogether, with some non – discounted thoughts.

1) Going from a Vision less organization to an Organisation with Transformational Vision:
Fk’s About us section puts itself as India’s leading online megastore, undoubtedly true and Fk does have a very conspicuous set of books as well, however it does lack a vision (depending on the phase of time and competitive trajectory, it’s a boon or a bane). Incase you thought that we are trying to find tinkers in this model, in that case you have got it completely wrong. The reason to point this out is to improvise the Business Model of Fk.  
Having a Vision, while starting up would have helped Fk to take significant steps in the establishing a Competence, and which is why the lack of it is hurting today Cos there is no significant difference in its Operations (apart from being a marketplace), when it first started and today.

The above does not sound that bad cos Fk’s Operating model is still maturing and so is the industry as well, more importantly, it possibly works in its favor as well, Cos having a Strategy in a defined success model sometimes serves as a distraction, but with the Scale and size which Fk has achieved, it would be highly unwise to not have a Vision and a Strategic direction to mature to an organizational pursuit.

Ideally, given the potential of the markets & socio – economic strata it serves, i would like Fk to understand the gravity of the opportunity that comes with defining this purpose, and given some liberty, i would like Fk’s success story to not guide its vision, and hence the new vision is not Transforming the way Indian Consumer buys but Transforming the way Indian Consumer lives by.

The idea is to now change the way Indian Consumer lives, thus mapping Fk directly to Consumer needs, and the new model to pursue apart from being online megastore, it’s forming a Consumer Needs Solutions company, where Consumers don’t buy products, but Fk understands Consumer needs and selling product is the outcome. It not only Re – Organizes and disrupts the way Industry performs but as well takes steps to moving close and connected to Consumer, a strategic step of establishing Competence (Elaborated in detail in the Improvisations to Business Strategy).

2) Being an Innovative company
Fk needs to have a strong Innovation model (Organic & Inorganic, considering the entire ecosystem is getting warmed up) to supports its vision & strategy. Fk, though till now has not been greatly innovative, at the cost of massive scale ups, but the paradigms in Consumer trajectory are ever changing and establishing a Tech competence will certainly be huge strength, given that its vision is now to transform the lives of consumers. More importantly, in a Constraintful economy like India, innovations happen at grass root levels and with users, hence involving Users in the process of Innovation will be key.

Fk will have to be an Innovative Technology Consumer Solutions firm (with key drivers being Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IOT, Analytics, Personalisations, Virtual Reality, Semantics etc.) in order to create a sustainable competence and to pursue the grand vision.

3) Having a Strategy in alignment to it Vision and Innovation model:
Needless to explain, if the above points make sense, this just follows the logic.
The only thing to be kept in mind is all these thoughts are wrapped around existing model of satisfying consumer needs in a transformed way

4) Ignoring the Competition cos its simply not a competition anymore cos of difference in the visions and approach.

a) Improvisations to Business Strategy:

1) Transforming to a Consumer Solutions company:
Being a Consumer Solutions company is essentially different from selling products to Consumers, in a way that Consumer either reach out their with their Problems / Need identifications or Fk proactively understands these needs and offers a solution

The 2 important aspects of these are:
a) Consumers reaching out with needs – These needs can be on continuum from Information to seeking solutions fulfilled by products & services. a thought over here is to acquire a model like JustDial where consumers reach out various for needs of information. In the given context Fk not only arms them with information, solutions but also takes it to the last mile of monetization to satisfy consumer needs.

b) Way of reaching out – this will be enabled by tech functionalities like Chats, Video Calls and extended to experiencing the virtual stores. The design of this is basically in 3 dimensions (also lines of businesses) – Query Management and Solution Solicits, Local Availability, Overall Availability

2) Establishing Competence in every step in all the Value chains (Consumer Value Chain, Supplier Value Chain & Logistics, Technology Value Chain, Operational Value Chain, Experience Value chain with Virtual Stores)
This will be the soul of the transformed model, where every step in value chain is broken down and tested to its limits for Experience, Maximizing the Value, and making it a plug and play kind of setup but with an end to end development and innovation.
For Consumer Value Chain, Making E-Wallets, Payments, Transfers as a complete offering with innovative, intuitive approach, which can be plugged and played in other offerings in markets.

The core strategy is to have a complete Value Chain Innovation enabled competence and growth.

3) Converting these innovative solutions in to Open Platforms
Making these available to market for a free / minimal charge to enhance the traction with possibility of hosting on multiple platforms but with precondition to have these default on Fk Ecosystem.

Basically, extending the value chain innovation to Platforms & Structured Ecosystems, where optimality of performance and experience arises with overall end-to-end usage of this ecosystem, thus making it sticky for all stakeholders to be with Fk.                                

4) Going Local for all Consumer needs and passing the benefit of logistics to Consumers wherever required (where effectiveness of Value Chains will come in play)

5) Establishing Ecosystem for Cluster needs of Consumers
The Cluster need based Ecosystem basically, divides in to Products, Services, and further to Fitness, Food, Travel, Financial Services, Health, Apparels etc. Every such Ecosystem is a combination of offering Consumer Solutions (Point 1), with horizontals like Experience, Value, Payments, Reviews, Gamification established.

There always exists Inter and Intra dependency in these Cluster needs platforms, for example, an Apparel ordered will trigger some information in Apparel cluster like the other close fits, design, price etc, it will also trigger some cues in say, a Health Cluster triggering a Food Cluster to a Travel  cluster etc.

Its basically an End to End Consumer needs and Solutions enterprise where Customer Centricity is key along with tech competences Personalisation, Customisation etc.

6) Ecosystems to support High Engagement, Consumption augmented with Gamification – Content, Games etc.

7) Socializing the Indian Consumer’s behavior, Buying decisions and patterns – Calls for setting up an Indian Social Network with nuances of Local flavors, diversity

8) Not to mention, that only 20 % of India is connected to Internet, Fk has all the potential to be the next big Indian Consumer Company thus creating and capturing value and as well disrupting the Consumerism in the country.

9) Tech Innovation, Business Innovation, Consumer Innovations - Analytics and Personalisation, IOT, Virtual reality etc.

10) Other disruptive group, discounted, coupon etc model for offerings

11) Possibility of partnering with Telcos for subsidized Mobility Costs with revenue shares

12) Mapping the Economic progress of Country by building in socio – eco parameters to either better resource distribution at lower prices by leveraging the Govt. Policies like 2 % CSR fund, converting it to a Platform for Corporates for funds to flow and triggering the Consumption Cycle over Fk model

13) Reaching out in furthering distribution and selling models with the FMCG’s

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