(Image courtesy Samrat Mazumdar)
Pritika and I were sitting at Marz O Rin today evening – biting into the delicious vegetable sandwiches and cheese burgers and discussing how a package that I ordered Monday morning from Flipkart, was sitting inside my car by Tuesday afternoon. Even though we have had a weird relationship, I am impressed – even today by the speed at which they deliver stuff – and the ease with which you can shop with them.(Our latest purchase needed to be returned due to a missing accessory. More on that experience in a later post)
The discussion moved onto how Flipkart was doing financially – and it is no surprise that they are literally burning through money.
They have raised a total of $540M till date and have about 5,000 employees. They are still to post a profit (breaking even will happen after a long time).
Online retail is such a business and even Amazon took 6-7 years before they posted a profit.
We started wondering what would happen if Flipkart shuts down…
Can it even happen? Will their investors let it?
I mean, things like this don’t happen immediately. Things slowly stop – categories start disappearing and eventually the news is announced.
Flipkart shutting down will actually be a huge blow to e-commerce in India. In Tier 1 and 2 cities at least, Flipkart is synonymous with online shopping.
They have actually brought online commerce to the masses in India and made people feel safer while typing in their credit card numbers in a website.
When Flipkart was raising its earlier rounds, every Tom, Dick, Harry (and their uncles) were starting e-commerce sites right, left and center.
Most of them have gone under.
It is really heartening to see every other e-commerce site – even the unknown seller on eBay – to come up to Flipkart’s level.
I have bought stuff from a dozen, different e-commerce websites – even sites with bad designs and broken code – but they always delivered.
I, for one, hope that Flipkart hasn’t bitten more than it can chew – which can happen with a company growing this fast.
It would be really sad to see them go as they are probably the closest we have to seeing a major win in the Indian Startup space.
What I think
If Flipkart shuts down, it will be a slight inconvenience to many people – but I feel that Flipkart has already done all the hard work in making us cynical Indians – open to online shopping. With Flipkart gone, people will just turn to other folks in the market – the eBays and Amazons and Infibeams for their online shopping fixes.
I feel, it will be a bigger loss to the Indian startup scene than the Indian eCommerce scene.
What do you think will happen if Flipkart shuts down?
Will it affect future e-commerce in India? Have they done all the hard work (in converting customers) for Amazon to swoop in and pitch their flag?