Working with Flipkart for more than 3 years has been an enjoyable and a career rewarding experience for me. I didn’t only get exposure to how e-commerce works in reality but it also helped me to imagine the potential of Indian e-commerce industry in future.
For those of you who don’t know, i think explaining what is Flipkart? ahead of how Flipkart works is important. Flipkart is India’s largest online retail company. It is, in fact a pioneer that deserves the credit of revolutionising the e-commerce industry in our country.
Founded by two brilliant IItians named as Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Flipkart continues to scale its presence in Indian online market.
The growth Flipkart achieved in less time shocks everyone. The company that in the year of 2008 used to receive hardly 200 orders on a daily basis is now currently receiving around 3 lac orders per day. Reading the following six important components will help you understand how does Flipkart work:
1. Market research
Every company has a market research team busy in identifying and analysing the needs of its customers and Flipkart is no different. In the simplest terms, the market research team of Flipkart has the responsibility of identifying in-demand products and later on processing the findings to the next team involved in the procurement process.
2. Product procurement
Many curious individuals especially when they happen to meet me ask – how Flipkart procures inventory from its suppliers? Well, i always tell them Flipkart sources inventory in the similar fashion as a retail shop does from a wholesaler.
Flipkart has a team known as procurement team that works on souring and making contracts with the right suppliers throughout India. It has its own standards for selecting the suppliers that suit the company requirements.
Back in 2013, when Flipkart launched marketplace it created a marketplace team that invites sellers ( often referred as third party sellers ) across the country and helps them list up their products on its portal.
3. Logistics management
Flipkart uses both inbound and outbound logistics. Inbound logistics is used to take the inventory from suppliers to the warehouse where it is properly shelved while outbound logistics manages the delivery of products to customers.
4. Warehouse management
Flipkart operates 8 largest warehouses in eight cities and few to mention are Bangalore, Chenni, Delhi, Mumbai etc Once inventory brought from suppliers reaches warehouse, every product is kept on shelf. A number specifically called as a putlist number is generated while a particular product is put on the shelf of warehouse.
5. Catalogue management
Warehouse department shares inventory bills with the marketing department that later sets the listing price for the products. This price is then shared with the catalogue management team that eventually uploads product pictures, product prices and features on the portal.
6. Delivery management
When customers place orders on Flipkart website, request automatically flows through FLO ( ERP software ) to the warehouse department. The warehouse staff checks the availability of products in the nearest warehouses. If products are not found there, request is forwarded to another warehouse.
Once found, products are picked ( picklist number is generated ) from shelves and then moved to the packaging section of warehouse where the condition of those products is checked and then packed. This is called as dispatch state.
The packed products are taken to the mother hubs where delivery executives keep on waiting. The products are then handed over to the delivery boys along with a customer acknowledgement paper.
For accessible delivery places Flipkart uses its own delivery system known as Flipkart Self Delivery ( FSD ) and for non-accessible locations it uses third party delivery networks such as Bluedart, Ecom Express etc
The executives eventually leaves towards the customer destination for delivery. Customer is contacted and handed over his product. He signs on the acknowledgement paper and pays the amount if his order was based on cash on delivery ( COD ).