From a start-up with an investment of just four lakhs rupees, Flipkart has grown into a $100 million-revenue online retail giant in just five years. It was founded in October 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal both alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. They worked for Amazon.com, and left to create their new company incorporated in October 2007 as Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. Flipkart started by selling books online and popularised the idea of buying books online in India. Flipkart now employs more than 33,000 people.
How it all started?
Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal risked their savings and capital borrowed from their parents to venture into a space that most of India had never known before i.e., online shopping. It was an audacious move and what followed was a slew of firsts. Every Flipkart innovation since 2007 has changed the way India shops, and inspired legions of businesses to follow in the trail that Flipkart has blazed. Ten years ago, however, the shopping landscape in India was different. Be it books, or mobile phones, or furniture, Indians took comfort in stepping out and shopping at physical stores, a concept that an impatient new generation brought up on internet and mobile apps might find highly inconvenient.
Ten years ago, a majority of shoppers preferred to touch, see and feel products before investing their hard-earned money in them, and they felt something new like online shopping deprived them of this sensory experience. Today, those very same Indian customers will tell you a very different story, and in doing so nearly all of them would breathe the name of Flipkart.
At first, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal wanted to start a price-comparison website. A few months into the thought process, the idea changed shape into something fresh and unconventional online bookstore. Flipkart.com was launched on October 15. By the end of the month, the first book had been sold. And Indians didn’t have to leave home to find their favourite book again. This small step paved the way for the dawn of a new era in online commerce in India. Three years after that decisive start, Indians had warmed up to the idea of shopping online. But not all customers were comfortable with transacting online, and only 0.5 % of the country’s population used credit cards. Flipkart, audacious as ever, took another bold risk. For the first time ever, Flipkart introduced Cash-on-Delivery — enabling customers to pay for orders in hard cash at the time of delivery.
Within just a decade, Flipkart has reshaped the way Indians shop online by consciously applying innovation to address problems unique to Indian shoppers. As the wheels of time and technology keep turning, remarkable innovations will accompany them to ensure that Flipkart always continues to bring the best shopping experience for its customers.