Touted as India’s answer to Amazon, Flipkart today is arguably the most popular online store in the country. If 2011 was all about creating the right buzz to make Flipkart a household name, this year, much of the focus of this e-commerce firm was on expanding its services and dispelling doubts about online shopping. So much so that it led the internet start-up category's march onto the Indian television screen with a series of ad campaigns that not just caught the viewer's attention, but also answered every doubt about online shopping that may have been in her mind. The first set of television commercials launched in April, was aimed at educating consumers about the ease of shopping on Flipkart via guarantee of original products, cash-on-delivery and a 30-day replacement policy. Through the campaign, Flipkart targeted people who had kept away from online shopping. Next, in August it launched another series of commercials, which drew inspiration from customer feedback. Shripad Nadkarni, founder director of MarketGate Consulting, says, “What worked for the website was how it used creative advertising to address real consumer concerns about internet shopping which made Flipkart a part of our lives within no time!” Its success can be gauged by the fact that currently the e-commerce site has 4 million registered users of which about 2.6 millions are active customers. According to our panelist Rohit Ohri, executive chairman, Dentsu India Group, through its correct planning, Flipkart has single-handedly created the e-commerce category.
Much of Flipkart's aggressive and expensive marketing strategy was bolstered by the $150 million funding it raised from new investors, MIH (part of Naspers Group) and ICONIQ Capital, besides existing investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners. That gave Flipkart Online Services Pvt Ltd, which runs Flipkart.com, to invest the money raised in expanding supply chain capacities, launching new categories and in growing the talent pool to continue building the brand. Flipkart this year entered new segments such as perfumes, watches, bags and belts, toys, posters, baby care, apparel and shoes for men and sports and fitness. It also acquired rival e-commerce site, Letsbuy.com – seller of electronic goods, which ensured its presence in the category. Next it entered the e-book section, with an initial collection of more than one lakh books, which can be downloaded onto users' mobile devices from its digital store Flyte. In a category that is populated by so many me-too brands,