India's largest online marketplace, Flipkart is devising an aggressive strategy to enhance customer experience and also fine tune its delivery service to keep its edge on larger global rival Amazon, which is fast gaining customer acceptance and market share.
Flipkart is about to launch an initiative named F-Assured to replace its existing programme, Flipkart Advantage. Though aimed at those who haven't yet started shopping online, it will available to all customers.
F-Assured also pre-empts the launch of Amazon Prime, which is likely to be launched in India soon, according to a report in The Economic Times.
Amazon Prime is a priority subscription service from the global giant. Apart from faster delivery of items, it also offers unlimited video streaming service for subscribers. According to a report in Factor Daily, Amazon plans to invest $300 million in India to start video streaming in the country and is in talks with Bollywood producers to fund movies and series ideas.
However, it is not clear whether F-Assured will have a video streaming service. The service will be available across all sectors but the focus will be on select categories like mobiles, large appliances, home and electronics.
"With F-Assured, a customer will get products that Flipkart promises will undergo six different quality checks... a better return policy and same or next-day free delivery," a source has been quoted as saying in the ET report.
F-Assured replaces the online marketplace's earlier program, Flipkart Advantage which was launched in 2014, and offered similar benefits. This initiative was timed with Amazon's 'Fulfilled by Amazon' initiative.
A Flipkart Advantage stamp on a product that the customer bought means the product had been quality checked and shipped by Flipkart. It allowed for 30-day hassle-free product returns as well as options such as same day delivery or in-a-day delivery service.
Along with F-Assured, Flipkart is introducing other initiates such as sending its engineers home when a customer buys a smartphone so that they can get help with technology solutions if needed. A marketing campaign will also be out next month targeting 25-30-year-olds.
The move comes in the context of the shake-up that is currently happening in the Indian e-commerce space, with fund flow narrowing and government rules regulating the discount sales. Valuation markdowns have become common place, with Flipkart itself seeing its value falling to about $9 billion in May from $15 billion a year earlier.