Flipkart has striven to live an extended successful role model for startups, the dreamers who feared reality and made India stand to compete against startups from around the developed world. The story is fantastic, full of ups and downs- from an online bookstore started in a two-bedroom apartment in Koramangala, Bengaluru in 2007, it today stands as one of the biggest companies in India, successfully. Founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal have become self-made celebrities, setting examples for other aspiring entrepreneurs to aim for.
As Indian e-commerce’s biggest success story celebrates a $16 billion acquisition by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, the most significant milestones in Flipkart’s 10-year journey thus far are discussed below:
Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, who met in 2005 at IIT Delhi, launched an internet business called Flipkart on September 15, 2007. Working as an online bookstore, which promised to deliver books across India. Difficulties came but, Sachin and Binny pulled off the delivery every time and managed to close the year with 20 successful shipments.
Flipkart came in the e-commerce arena, with word-of-mouth publicity rising the platform’s popularity, opening its first office in Bengaluru’s Koramangala. With rapid popularity of Flipkart, Sachin and Binny launched round the clock customer service to deal with the platform’s growing consumer base. The year concluded with over 3,400 shipments successfully delivered.
2009 was a year full of firsts for two-year-old Flipkart. Sachin and Binny hired their first full-time employee. The company’s meteoric growth attracted the attention of venture capital, and Accel Partners becomes the first firm to invest in Flipkart. The same year Flipkart crossed a significant milestone by opening pre-orders for the first time.
Flipkart pioneered Cash on Delivery option, further launching EKart, to handle the logistical requirements of the new payment option and the growing demand for goods. Flipkart also introduced a 30-day return policy and expanded its product categories to include Music, Movies, Games, Electronics, and Mobiles.
Flipkart’s steady growth continued, The platform launched its digital wallet, as well as introduced a 30-day replacement policy. By the end of the year, Flipkart’s network expanded to deliveries in over 600 cities across India.
Flipkart goes mobile in a big way, with the launch of its own native mobile shopping app. The platform also received PCI DSS Certification, allowing it to store card details for consumers securely on the platform, and giving users the ‘Saved Cards’ feature when checking out.
Flipkart decided to expand its service offerings, adopting a model to bring third-party sellers onto the platform. The decision saw an immediate positive response from the market, and sales rapidly climb – with Flipkart manages to sell 100,000 books in a single day. To allay consumer concerns, the platform introduces Next Day Shipping Guarantee and also launched PayZippiee an online payments solution for merchants and customers.
2014 was a big year financially for Flipkart, with the acquisition of online fashion retailer Myntra and majority stakes in after-sales service provider Jeeves and payments platform Ngpay. The company raised around $1.9 billion funds becoming the first Indian Internet retail firm to register Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) such huge. The platform’s first exclusive associations come into play – with Motorola and Xiaomi – and the company launches a substantial online sale in October – The Big Billion Day which became one of Flipkart’s most popular offerings.
2015 was mostly business as usual for Flipkart, with several new launches, acquisitions, and fundraising rounds. Throughout the year, the platform launched Home and Maternity product categories, the Ad Platform and Strategic Brands Group in a corporate rejig, and the data-light mobile website Flipkart Lite. Midway through the year, Flipkart launched a brand refresh with a new logo and improved policies for employees, including maternity, paternity and adoption leave policies
The year started with Binny Bansal as CEO of Flipkart from Sachin Bansal, who becomes the firm’s Executive Chairman. A few months later, TIME magazine names the two Co-founders among their 100 most-influential people in the world. Flipkart celebrates two significant milestones – the first Indian mobile app to cross 50 million users and passing 100 million registered customers.
Reaching new heights- 2017
Flipkart broke tradition by appointing its first-ever non-founding CEO, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, while Binny Bansal takes over as Group CEO. Flipkart raised $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft, and acquired eBay India in exchange for equity.
Since the start of 2018, Flipkart had already seen several milestones – a new campus at Embassy Tech Village, the successful onboarding of over 130,000 third-party sellers, and expanding its product catalog to house over 80 million products – culminating in