Monday, November 7, 2011

Flipkart Pricing

Just a month back I was looking for a 2GB SD card for my camera. I never realized that SD cards are now sol obsolete that you wont find them easily in shops so I went online looking for it. It was easier to get a micro SD card but not the normal one which my camera needs.

Finally I reached Flipkart and I got it in there. I had used it earlier too and it was like 20-30 rupees cheaper than similar online sites and I had used in earlier and liked its speed of delivery. So I order one for Rs 220.

All good. I got it in 2-3 days and all was well.

Around a month back I was checking out some new stuff in there and happened to reach the page again selling the 2 GB SD card  . Wow in a month, the price is up almost 25% to Rs 270. Same was the case for portable hard disks, mp3 players. I was checking out the Sony 2GB mp3 player. The official Sony India site sold it for Rs 2,490 and so did Flipkart. Even Big Bazaar gave a Rs 50 discount if you ordered it online. I order it from another online site which I had used earlier which sold it for Rs 2,200.

Seeing this, in good faith I put on these comparisons - bottom-line being, people flock to online sites to get things cheaper than offline (as they trade off the customer and post delivery service for it). Now if online sites built on this theory and Flipkart being one of them forget this basic tenet and somehow feel that they are big enough now and can sell things on MRP - in my opinion the people who came flocking to them will leave to in droves - as online folks have little loyalty and are more fickle minded - as the human interaction between sales team and customers is the only thing which does not exist in online selling (hence they can and should sell cheaper).

Things would have ended out there but today I got this mail:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts at for "SanDisk Memory Card SD 2GB", dated 02/11/2011.

We would like to inform that your review has been removed since it speaks about price comparison, which is against review policy. This is because pricing and competition are subject to change with time, and the review might be misleading to our future customers.

However, we have escalated the issue to the concerned department and they are looking into the same.

Thanks for your understanding.

Yours Sincerely,

Sunita Mathew
Customer Review Team

Now I get a feel that they are no way different from offline shops or even web 1.0 sites. They all want comments like "Excellent Flipkart" and good stuff. Anything critical about them will be removed. Fine they can as they own the site - but I have my blog :) and I can put it here for others to read.

Final say - Please online sites, be atleast 10-20% cheaper than offline shops as more in India (and even in US) price is the single biggest factor for buying the same product. Everyone including Google ranks products on price so if you lose on the price, no amount of funding can save you guys. Remember what amazon says - we are a logistics company , a distribution company and not a fancy site ( although as engineers we marvel their technology too) but that did not make amazon what it is today.

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