Flipkart starts month-long plan for CEO, execs to meet small-town customers

The logo of India's largest online marketplace Flipkart is seen on a building in Bengaluru (Photo: Reuters)
India's largest e-commerce marketplace Flipkart is turning to customers from smaller towns to help figure out how to grow its business beyond large metros. The company has kicked off a month-long programme where top executives will meet with customers to collect feedback on ideas to "help drive the next phase of growth".

Claiming to have crossed the 100 million customer mark last year, Flipkart believes that its next 100 million customers will come from smaller towns. As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, Flipkart employees, including CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, will visit customer homes across India, especially those from tier II, III and IV cities.

"Customers are at the heart of everything we do, which is why all our work in the past decade was done to simplify and bring value to our customer's life. As we dedicate this month to our customers, we would like to take this opportunity to get to know them better by personally interacting with them," said Krishnamurthy, in a statement.

This isn't the first time top executives at Flipkart will meet customers in person. It has been a yearly gesture for the founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal to personally visit customer homes and deliver products during its Big Billion Days sale that comes ahead of the festival of Diwali.

The company also launched Metronaut, its first private fashion label for men, which comes just days after the launch of Divastri, a private label brand targeting women. Like its private label for women, Flipkart said the launch of Metronaut was based on data showing that men showed a high affinity towards shopping for branded apparel online.

It added, "Through extensive tracking and analysis of purchase and returns behaviour of men shoppers, Flipkart observed a drastic gap in the demand of consumers compared to goods available in the market."

Flipkart says men's fashion is one of the fastest growing categories online, with the marketplace controlling 40 per cent of the men's online fashion market already. Along with subsidiaries Myntra and Jabong, Flipkart claims that it controls 70 per cent of the overall online fashion market in India, a statement which rival e-commerce website Amazon disputes.

Catering to customers from smaller towns and grabbing market share in high-margin verticals such as fashion, is a growing trend not only at Flipkart, but in much of India's fast growing e-commerce market today. Even Amazon is betting big on online fashion and has launched two private labels - Symbol and Myx in the country.

Further, Amazon says it achieved 90 per cent coverage of all pin codes in the country during its Diwali sale last year, proving that demand existed in all parts of India. Moving forward, it says it will serve customers better outside large metros by continuing to grow its infrastructure, something which has absorbed over half of all its investments in the country so far.