Flipkart Launches Marketplace to Entice Vendors

Flipkart has launched Marketplace. It is mainly a place for vendors to sign-up and sell directly to customers. The shipping will be handled by Flipkart’s own logistics partner. That basically means with Marketplace, Flipkart will now allow third-part vendors to sell their merchandise online.

With this step it joins eBay India, SnapDeal which also have similar e-commerce marketplaces. It also becomes a lot similar to how Amazon works in the US, where it allows vendors to sign-up and augment their own offers.

Flipkart Marketplace for Vendors

How to signup to Flipkart Marketplace as a vendor?

  • At the moment there is no automated place to sign-up and fill in your details. It requires vendors to send in an email to vendor@flipkart.com to get an invite..
  • The account username seems to either be an email address, display name or a phone number. I guess these three could be used to register as an vendor.
  • There seems to little or no information about how this process works except that vendors will use Flipkarts own logistics setup.

Flipkart Marketplace might threaten smaller e-Commerce

Though Flipkart has bought some big e-commerce sites like LetsBuy and offered a MP3 store along with a digital bookstore to leverage itself against other e-commerce sites, it was still losing out to smaller websites offering unique and niche products. Getting vendors into the action will help it offer a wider variety of products to customers.

Usually Flipkart was known for its quality of service – especially the last mile delivery mechanism. I was once joking with a friend that looking at their reliability of their in-house delivery service, they should also offer courier service. I guess in a way that is what Flipkart is doing. It is leveraging its infrastructure and increasing the variety of products it offers by getting vendors into its fold.

Sites like e-Bay India which also have vendors selling stuff, often do it for a lot lesser price than say Flipkart. It will be interesting to see if Flipkart allows vendors to sell products at rates that are lower than what they themselves are offering.

Have you registered as a vendor on Flipkart or know someone who has? We would love to hear more inputs you might have in your comments.

Link: Flipkart Marketplace

Flipkart Unveils Flyte e-book store for Android Users

Today, Flipkart has rolled a new service for Android users. It has started selling e-books from its Flyte store. Flipkart comes across as one of those companies that does not want to be acquired and rather build a large online retail business business. In other words, it wants to be the ebay or Amazon.com of India. Early this year in March, Flipkart introduced selling music in the form of DRM free MP3 files.

For a company that started selling books online, it was only a matter of time it started selling e-books.

Flipkart’s e-book store: How it works

The e-books being sold on Flipkart are available only on Android at the moment. It can be downloaded upto 6 times of different devices.

I checked the prices of some of the books and they seem to be a bit less than their printed versions. There seem to be over 64,000 books available on the store. That is actually a very small number but it should soon see a lot more books available.

Over 4000 e-books on Flipkart’s Flyte Store are available for free.

There are over 4000 free e-books at the moment available for download. Many of these free e-books are all time classics.

Payment options for the books include online banking, debit and credit cards along with Flipkart Wallet. Users will be able to preview upto 10% of the book before actually purchasing it.

At the moment, the app is only available on Android, but I am sure Flipkart will introduce this on other platforms like Apple’s iOS and Windows Store soon.

As tablets keep getting more popular in India, the e-book business will actually get more traction.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Flipkart e-Books | Android App

Flipkart’s MP3 Store Flyte is Availabe on Android

It looks like the Indian music fans are in for some exciting times. Most people who listened to MP3 music, downloaded pirated versions. The reason behind this was there were hardly any DRM free MP3 music being sold legally. In the world where people literally have a thousand songs on their mobile phones, India badly needs more online music stores.

Flipkart introduced Flyte, a service which sells DRM free MP3 files. It is priced reasonably and users can download music files and pay for it online. Now Flipkart’s Flyte has been made available on Google Play for all Android phones.

Flipkart’s Flyte App for Android

  • The app itself is free but to buy songs you will need a Flipkart account and balance on Flipkart Wallet.
  • The app downloads the music on your phone and is made available offline. The service also gives you access to the online library where all the songs you have bought are saved.
  • You can also choose between the bitrate for a particular song before downloading it.

Flipkart Flyte could be the next big thing

It is easy to wonder why people would pay for something they get free but caller tunes is a huge business in India and people actually pay to have the latest songs as caller tunes on their mobile phones. So mobile users are not exactly unknown to the concept of paying for music and this is could really help the Flyte take off.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Flipkart Flyte on Google Play

Why Flipkart’s Flyte will not stop music piracy in India?

I am sure by now you must have read or heard about this online service called Flyte by Flipkart. It is run by Flipkart.com and allows users to purchase MP3 music files at pretty reasonable prices. Until last week for Indian music fans, there was no real online retailer who sold music legally and cheap. In other words Flipkart is trying to do something that iTunes did for the American music industry.

What is good about Flipkart’s Music Downloads?

  • Flipkart is India’s largest online retailer. So it makes sense that it sells music online. The collection at Flipkart is pretty much exclusively suited for Indian tastes. Though there is an international section available.
  • Head over to Flyte from Flipkart and browse through the songs your want to purchase. Select an album or song and purchase it.
  • Payment needs to be done online with netbanking or credit card. Once you are done, simply download the songs from your browser.
  • All songs can be downloaded and purchased individually and they are priced quite reasonably. The most popular songs I found were available for Rs. 15/- while others were around Rs. 6/-.

Now this is quite exciting if you are living in India as previously MP3 formatted music which was DRM free was not really available, unless it was pirated. So will this end music piracy in India or atleast significantly reduce it?

Why Flipkart won’t really hurt music piracy at present?

Flipkart might be selling digital music as a platform but I am not sure that the music industry in India will adopt it in a big way. That is because the music industry in India is not the same as in the US or Europe. Musicians in the US and Europe have sold their music online at affordable prices not to make a lot of music but to actually reach the widest possible market.

The major revenue earners for music artists in the US and Europe seem to be concert tours. Unfortunately in India, the most popular songs are always from films. This means they depend on selling their music as CD’s or even caller tunes on mobile phones rather than going on concerts all over for revenues. I doubt that the most popular music in India will become piracy free anytime soon.

Another factor against legal music downloads is that much of India’s population which downloads music online is very young. A majority of them do not have a credit card or netbanking account to buy music legally. But alternatively they do have a mobile phone and that might be effective way in including them in buying music online.

That said Flipkart’s Flyte is a good platform and also much needed one for music lovers in India.

Do you think Flipkart will end music piracy in India? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Flipkart Flyte

Related: Listen to Free Bollywood music online with Chrome App

Flipkart to Acquire LetsBuy.com

flipkart_letsbuyIf you are buying online in India, there is a good chance you have purchased something from Flipkart or LetsBuy. Both were competitors in India but that might soon end.

According to this report by Medianama, Flipkart is acquiring LetsBuy.com for $15 to $20 million. This will make Flipkart the undisputed leader of online retailing in India.

This announcement gains another perspective in the backdrop of Amazon making plans to move into the online retailing business. It has already launched Junglee.com, a price comparison website.

Will it drive up prices on Flipkart?

LetsBuy has the reputation of being aggressive about pricing while Flipkart concentrates on delivery. Usually with no competition in sight, Flipkart might be tempted to drive up prices. But it can hardly afford to do that as Amazon’s entry into the market might be around the corner.

Here is a graph from Google Trends comparing interest from India in Amazon, Flipkart and LetsBuy.

google_trends_india_retail

The graph clearly shows that even if Amazon is not yet in India, there is immense interest about it which almost matched Flipkart at times in the last 12 months. So Flipkart will have its work cut out to keep improving its portfoilio and infrastructure.

Flipkart’s Ace

Flipkart has done something that most online retailers did not do before them. This was to take a leap of faith with the ‘Cash on Delivery’ payment model. Most Indian users are not comfortable putting out personal data like bank details and credit card details online to buy things. Flipkart also leverages ‘Cash on Delivery’ model in its advertisements. Any new entrant in India, even if it is Amazon, will have to get into the Indian online buyers psyche before hoping for success.

What are your views on the state of online retailing in India? Do drop in your comments.