Flipkart takes on Amazon Prime with ‘Flipkart Assured’Athira Nair
India’s largest online marketplace Flipkart today launched Flipkart Assured - India’s first ‘Quality and Speed assurance’ programme, which aims to ensure that high quality products are delivered within two to four days.
The ‘Flipkart Assured’ badge guarantees that the products have gone through six levels of quality checks, and will have an accelerated delivery process. The process will apply to Flipkart’s most popular categories, including fashion, mobiles, electronics, home and appliances. Their new algorithm, dedicated to this service, takes into account factors like customer returns, ratings and seller cancellations, and badges a product as ‘Flipkart Assured’ based on performance.
In a statement, Samardeep Subandh, Chief Marketing Officer of Flipkart said, “Flipkart Assured is a truly inclusive programme meant for all customers of Flipkart across India. Over the years, Flipkart has introduced several customer-centric innovations, starting from cash-on-delivery to the more recently introduced easy product exchange and no cost EMI. This is a continuation of Flipkart’s commitment to customers by enabling the highest quality of shopping experience.”
The statement added that all ‘Flipkart Assured’ products are sourced from highly ranked sellers, and are filtered to include packaging, product specifications, product ratings, return ratio of the item, the seller’s ability to fulfil the order and committed timelines. All purchases are packed and shipped by Flipkart under this process.
‘Flipkart Assured’ seems to be a better version of ‘Flipkart First’ which was launched in June 2014. It offered free delivery in a day at an annual subscription fee of Rs 500, although only for select sellers, products and pincodes, with standard policies on returns and replacements.
Around the same time, Flipkart’s rival ShopClues launched a similar service under the tag ‘ShopClues Velocity Premium’. Under this service, ShopClues picks up the product from the seller and does a quality check at the fulfilment centre, before packing and delivering the product to the shipping address. But it is available only in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai at present.
Flipkart claims that their service is available to all customers via their desktop website, mobile website and app. Their biggest competitor Amazon has a similar service- ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’, where the products are stored, packed and dispatched by Amazon, for orders worth Rs 499 and above. Recently, Amazon launched their famed ‘Amazon Prime’ model in India, by which it offers fast delivery and return for products that have been checked for quality. This is free for sixty days, following which it is offered at an annual subscription fee of Rs 499.
Flipkart has been building on diverse models in its logistics and delivery services for a while – including catering to offline businesses, peer-to-peer courier services, pickups from kiranas, and automated lockers. They are counting on their supply chain and warehousing capabilities for quality checks as well as the highest quality of packaging.