With most e-commerce players in India moving towards a marketplace model, I have been intrigued as to why eBay.in (Baazee) isn’t the talking point when it comes to e-commerce. They are THE marketplace, they have their own payment gateway since ages and I know first hand that they have done a ton of leg work to get good resellers on board, educating the ecosystem, finesse the dispute resolution process and get an huge variety of inventory online. It is very tough for marketplaces to standardize the supply and give the consumers a good experience!
Here are a few recent incidents with Flipkart. Note: I have high hopes from FK, but not at all from Snapdeal, do see this as an optimistic feedback. I am not even bothering writing about Snapdeal, my only purchase from them was a bad experience and I have heard many negative reviews and hence Flipkart gets my attention & criticism.
Incident 1: I purchased a Age of Mythology game from Flipkart recently and got the product via a reseller in Delhi. The packing was ordinary (I have been spoilt by WS Retail’s shipping) and I had a faint doubt if the game is pirated. It worked, but I wasn’t 100% convinced. I am still not convinced, but I think it is a genuine game. However the distributor / importer & MRP sticker was missing from the pack I received and that makes me skeptical. I asked my friends on twitter and here are the tweets exchanged. For once, I am not 100% convinced on the quality.
Incident 2: I was looking to buy Apple EarPods from Flipkart. My sister recently got hers for Rs 1374 from Flipkart and that sounded like a great deal. I went to Flipkart and found a bunch of fake EarPods (Chinese makes) and abandoned the idea to buy it that day. Flipkart is now a marketplace and flooded with inventory that is not verified. While I have been told that they manage it well, the third experience scares me. See the image below (green EarPods, with packaging just the same as genuine Apple EarPods).
Incident 3: I just came across an issue faced by my friend Rahul when buying a laptop from Flipkart. Long story short, he bought a Red colour laptop and was delivered a grey colour one. The dispute resolution / CS didn’t help and closed the case in favour of the seller. Rahul is a educated (IIM) startup guy and I have worked with him for several years. If his experience with Flipkart’s marketplace was frustrating, I believe it to be bad! Flipkart has learnings to do from eBay and I wish they can tighten the screws on the reseller network. A little less variety is okay, but turning Flipkart into yet another Rediff or Indiatimes would be a disaster. (Read Rahul’s post on FB)
PS: Would love if Flipkart uses something like Haptik for their customer service.
Update April 11 2014: Amazon India has its challenges too!