Reaching out to the consumers in Tier-II cities and beyond, e-commerce giant Flipkart has introduced a robust ecosystem addressing the common concern ranging from lack of selection of products to quick and assured delivery. The home-grown marketplace has invested in building a strong platform comprising a wide selection of brands and sellers, quick delivery and installation, increase in pincode coverage for delivery, suitable exchange offers and an open box delivery ensuring transparency in the purchase.
For almost all product categories, Flipkart delivers to 100 per cent of the serviceable pincodes in India. However, for newer products, especially large appliances, an 80 per cent serviceable pincode delivery reach was achieved last year. Flipkart endeavours to make this 100 per cent in the near future. Other than reaching out to every serviceable pincode in the country, Flipkart has introduced new initiatives to get Tier-II and beyond consumers to come on board and even shop on the platform. This includes Flipkart Authorised BuyZone, Complete Appliance Protection, Complete Mobile Protection and Flipkart's Mobile Exchange Program.
With Authorised BuyZone, Flipkart partnered with 10,000 general trade stores across 700 cities for handholding consumers in shopping for consumer electronics and mobiles. Ajay Veer Yadav, Senior Vice President, Mobiles and Large Appliances at Flipkart, says, "In Tier-II cities and beyond, we saw the need to handhold consumers who were keen to access e-commerce but didn't have the confidence to do so. What we observed was that there was a high level of trust that people experienced with their local neighbourhood trade stores, which they frequented for all their regular purchases. We've seen a great response to this initiative and it's also important to note that specialised marketing efforts were deployed, which aimed to educate consumers in these BuyZones and help them make their purchases. This initiative has witnessed 5X growth since its pilot run over a year ago. During the festive season this year, one out of every ten mobile phones sold on Flipkart was through our Authorised BuyZone program." Flipkart says it turned out to be another important lever in Tier-II and Tier-III cities for high-value purchases. The assisted commerce initiative saw 8X spike in TV and appliances sales and helped many customers make their first-ever Flipkart purchase.
Complete Appliance Protection is a comprehensive plan for large appliances addressing all possible customer issues through a single window, both within and beyond the warranty period of the product. With free doorstep repair, replacement and refund options, the Protection has helped consumer gain confidence and result in higher adoption in Tier-II and Tier-III cities compared to the rest of the country.
Yadav adds, "In many cases, due to a lack of brand-authorised service centres and low availability of original parts in Tier-II cities and beyond, customers have been apprehensive about buying certain technologically-advanced products."
Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President at Flipkart, says, "The wide range, affordability constructs and post-purchase care that Flipkart offers is incomparable. As consumers from these cities aspire to own the latest products and therefore upgrade, they are coming on par with consumers in metros."
The Complete Mobile Protection provides free brand-authorised repair or replacement of mobile phones for one year and is accompanied with comprehensive coverage against screen breakage, liquid damage, hardware and software issues. Lastly, Mobile Exchange Program helped consumers upgrade to a new smartphone in exchange for a reasonable price for the old one. Launched during Big Billion Days, the adoption of Mobile Exchange has been 2X of what it was before the launch. During the festive season, Flipkart witnessed a 72 per cent increase in consumers buying premium smartphones in Tier-II cities and beyond, compared to the previous year's festive season.
Overall, Flipkart has witnessed significant growth in smartphones, large appliance and electronics category. For instance, the smartphone category witnessed significant double-digit growth from UP, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. And other states that saw major spikes were Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. Tier-II and Tier-III cities contributed to over half of large appliances sales for Flipkart last year. This trend gained momentum during the festive season with demand coming from cities such as Tezu, (Arunachal Pradesh) to Yeola (Maharashtra). Even the electronics category witnessed a major spike from cities such as Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Tirupur, Dehradun, Patna, Lucknow, Kottayam, Shimla and many others. In the electronics category, popular products include laptops, mobile accessories, smart devices and audio devices.