In August, this year, Business Today caught up with Rishi Vasudev, the Vice President of Fashion, Home & Furniture business at Flipkart. In calendar year 2017, Flipkart Fashion (excluding Myntra) turned in a billion dollars of GMV, he said and predicted a 65 per cent growth in 2018. Vasudev spoke on a range of issues, including why it was important to have a fashion vertical within Flipkart, even after it acquired a specialised fashion e-tailer, Myntra. Myntra, in turn, acquired Jabong and the Flipkart Group ended up with three fashion plays. Under Walmart, Jabong has now been consolidated into Myntra when it comes to the back-end. Excerpts from the interview:
The importance of Flipkart Fashion: "It is the advantage of buying everything. I have traffic for everything and how do I dig deep? Flipkart's journey has been to create a horizontal experience. Some of the opportunities when you are a horizontal are surprisingly very relevant. One, you don't choose segments. You have to play everywhere. You have to satisfy the guy living in South Delhi and South Mumbai and also the guy living in a tier-4 town. You also have to work deep in engagement, personalisation, so that you don't show the wrong thing to the wrong guy. We were well placed to solve these. We became a destination for fashion eventually. Today, one in two consumers coming onto the platform is coming for fashion. The number of transactions in fashion is far higher than other categories. Therefore, it becomes very important for Flipkart to have fashion. Second, people who come for fashion spend more time on the platform."
Growth phases: "Fashion as a category in Flipkart started in 2012. We sold our first unit in late 2012. In 2015, we focussed on growing our marketplace. The first growth phase came when you had a lot of brands with good prices and discounts. The second wave of growth came when you opened up the marketplace and sellers offered selection. The third phase is now when we are building experience for customers and he can figure out what he should buy next. In 2017 calendar year, we did a billion dollars of GMV. We sold one crore units in a month. We are currently trending for 60-65 per cent growth. There is far higher growth from tier 3-4 cities. This means that smaller towns are discovering the selection they were missing, the price points and brands in their local shopping.
Technology innovations: "Flipkart's search engine can figure out that people are looking for sunglasses when they type kala chashma. The machine learning algorithms can suggest better sizes. We have also built a more personalised experience for those accessing the app from premium mobile devices - the experience is cleaner and engaging. Here, there is segmentation by brand and price affinity. This concept is similar to the offline world. One department store that opens in a mass mall would have different products than in a premium mall. The merchandise, the look and feel of the shop changes."
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