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Flipkart.com is one of India’s best known online retailers. Founded in 2007, with the ambitious dream of becoming India’s Amazon.com, Flipkart.com started out selling books and quickly expanded its product portfolio to include laptops, computer peripherals, consumer durables, consumer electronics, fashion accessories, media and games. Flipkart’s products were competitively priced, its customer service was exemplary and it offered innovative solutions to enhance the customer experience such as its cash on delivery service. These factors, coupled with a smart marketing mix and catchy advertisements that sensitized the Indian consumer to the online shopping experience, contributed to its rapid growth. While the customer viewed the company with rose-tinted glasses, all was not well within Flipkart. It was plagued by a multitude of issues, including a business model that swallowed cash faster than it was generated, increasing constraints on its operational and supply chain capabilities and deteriorating investor confidence. Indeed, Flipkart found itself in trouble in late 2012. With competitors hot on its heels and the imminent entry of Amazon.com into the Indian market, Flipkart had to evaluate its options carefully and make some smart moves if it was to survive and regain investor confidence.
Applications of management theories and issues in marketing, investment analysis, supply chain, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction are discussed in the case and best suited to a general management or strategy course. The instructor is encouraged to stimulate student discussion by touching on supply chain management, human resources and marketing.
India, Large, 2013
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