As per a 2019 report, over 100 million registered users shop on Flipkart. Now if you are into selling anything, the opportunity to be in front of 100 million people can be priceless. And Flipkart offers its sellers this opportunity in glorious style.
Being the flag bearer of the Indian ecommerce story, Flipkart has come a long way to become one of the largest ecommerce players in India and perhaps the world. It has enticed users from all over the country, and managed to deliver to the most remote places in India.
Now, as a seller, I know you might want to be part of this story too. But the thought of selling online puts a lot of people off. Frankly, it looks intimidating, but it's certainly not. Flipkart has gone to great lengths to not only delight its customers but also its sellers.
If you are planning to venture into the world of ecommerce, Flipkart might be the perfect place to start. We have done the ground work and laid out the process that will help you kick-start your online business.
Don't worry, you are not alone.
Everybody was a newbie when they started a business. You should not let your lack of experience be a deterrent for starting your own business. Selling on Flipkart is also a business, where a lot of people have very little experience. But before you proceed there are a few things, business-wise, you need to take care of.
a. Do your research
So, you have your online business idea ready, and now its time to balance it with some reality. Are you sure that your business idea holds the potential seed to succeed? Or are you confused yet? In this case, going through a validation process is the right decision to take.
You need to pilot your business idea to ensure if your small business will take off or not. Some of the questions you should ask yourself to validate your business idea includes:
● Who is your ideal customer?
● What is the competition like?
● Is there a need for your products you are planning to sell?
● What would be the cost and what is the potential return?
Put all your answers and more in your business plan, which will help you understand your own business from a different perspective.
b. Planning your finances
You need not require plenty of money, but some initial investment along with the ability to cover the expense before making a profit is necessary. Note down all the one-time cost estimates like insurance, market research, licences, permits, legal fees, branding, inventory, trademarking, and more in a spreadsheet to plan your finances.
c. Choosing the right business structure
There are different business structures available for small business namely a partnership, a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), one person company and a private limited. It is recommended that you start with the most basic structure to start off with. This will not only allow you to be flexible but will also help you keep costs down.
d. Choosing a business name
You need to look for all the potential implications before choosing the right business name. Once you have completed selecting the name, register with the right business structure and also grab the domain name if you can.
e. Get permits and licences
Paperwork is the most critical process when you have decided to start a business. There are several small business permits and licence which may be applied to the situation based on the business type you are starting and the location you are in. You need to research for what permits, and licences use and then work on it.
f. Make it official
Make sure you have this checklist ready with you. Business structure, business name, business registration, permits, licence, trademarks, patents, copyrights, PAN numbers, necessary bank accounts, etc.
Now that you are set up with the legalities of your business, it's time to get on Flipkart.
But why Flipkart?
With more than 100 million registered users on Flipkart, it is one of the biggest ecommerce platforms in India. Flipkart was the pioneer and has led India in its ecommerce journey.
So if you have decided to sell your products online, Flipkart is an obvious choice. What makes it even better is its logistics. Flipkart enables you to distribute your products to every corner in India. It even helps you package and warehouse your products for a small fee. If not, the logistic partner will come right to your doorstep to pick your products for delivery.
Apart from the obvious benefits, here are some other benefits of being a Flipkart seller.
Quick Payments: When your bank accounts are linked to your Flipkart seller account, the payments for the products, which are purchased by the customers, are easily and quickly transferred to the seller's bank account.
Attractive Reward Programme: Flipkart has many reward and initiative programmes for the seller partners with less commissions and plenty of other advantages.
Reaching Customers: The advancement of technology with Flipkart has made it more accessible to reach ten crore customers across India.
Dedicated Pick up Services: Your job stops at keeping the product ready once a customer purchases from you through Flipkart. You need not dispatch it as Flipkart offers dedicated pickup service to deliver the product to the customers.
When selecting products to sell online, you should make sure the product already has a demand in the industry. Here are some essential factors to consider if you have decided to start selling online.
Okay great, now that you have decided the products to sell on Flipkart, you need to get brand approval from Flipkart. Let's look into how we go about doing that.
Here is the process you need to follow if you want your brand to be approved for selling on Flipkart.
● Create and login to your Flipkart Seller Account.
● Choose ‘Add New Listing’ by clicking on Listing.
● You can create a new catalogue by clicking on ‘Browse Categories’.
● Select your product for the brand.
● Now you need to click on ‘Apply for a Brand Approval’, and an application form will open asking for your brand name, description, logo, brand website, sub-categories, brand manufacturer and documents available, etc.
● Fill the application and click on ‘Submit’.
Once you submit the brand information, you need to wait for Flipkart to approve your brand. You can track the approval status from the listing option.
Some of the highest selling categories or products for Flipkart marketplace sellers in India include:
● Home and Kitchen
● Baby Products
● Mobiles, Electronics, & Accessories
● Fashion and Apparel
● Beauty and Health Products.
The next step after deciding on the product is to choose the right selling plan based on the business plan you choose.
Documents required to sell on Flipkart as Sole Proprietorship or an Individual:
● PAN Card
● Business Letterhead - a signed declaration stating that you manage and own the bank account which is registered with Flipkart
● GST Registration Certificate
● Bank Account Statement
Documents required to sell as a Private Limited Company:
● Copy of Articles of Association and Memorandum
● Identity proof and business address
● Private limited company established certificate
● Company PAN Card
● GST Registration Certificate
Selling on Flipkart as a Foundation & Trust:
Foundations and trust can become Flipkart sellers too. The process is the same as above, and the only change is that you need to provide relevant legal documents to the foundation and trust to establish its legal standing and bonafides.
Documents required to sell as a Partnership/LLP Firm:
● Power of the authorised person's attorney for the company.
● Partnership deed copy
● Address proof - electricity bill/telephone bill/lease agreement
● Recognising a partner document who holds the power of attorney
● LLP PAN Card
● LLP Established certificate
Listing a product includes filling out product related information and also adding product images to appeal the customers to buy. You need to have at least a minimum of one listing to start selling on Flipkart.
How to list your products on Flipkart?
All done. What’s next?
To ensure hassle-free selling of products and to provide an outstanding customer experience, Flipkart has made it mandatory to deliver products through Flipkart logistics partners. Flipkart will deduct some amount in the name of shipping cost from the selling price before making the payment.
Shipping process is divided into three categories namely Local, Zonal, and National.
● Local: Local indicates the Intra-city where the products are shipped within the same city.
● Zonal: It is indicated as Intrazone and here the products are shipped within the zone borders namely east, west, north and south.
● National: This is referred to as Interzone where the products are shipped across zones.
There are few tips and techniques you can implement to boost your Flipkart sale success. Some of them include:
● Use Product Listing Advertisements ( PLAS ) which will help you become featured products in select pages
● Register to become a Flipkart Advantage seller. With this, all you need to do is stock your products with Flipkart. They will use their fulfilment centres to warehouse it, package it, deliver and even handle returns
● Participate in spike sales. Flipkart's spike sales are famous to draw a lot of attention but it also means you have to reduce your prices which might affect your margins but it can mean a lot of orders.
● Use Google Ads and Facebook Ads to drive targeted traffic to your listings. If you can't do it, you will find plenty of people to do it for you for a very cheap price.
● Keep an eye on the reviews. Better reviews means better social proof for your users. Handle negative reviews with care and try to urge people to give you positive reviews. You can do this only by absolutely delighting your customers.
GST amendment brought out significant changes for online sellers and marketplaces. Ecommerce platforms like Flipkart should deduct 1 percent tax collected at source if it is making payments to its suppliers or the same when deposited by the Flipkart as GST liability of seller with the government.
The Tax Collected at Source (TCS) by Flipkart can be claimed as credit by the Flipkart seller by showing the GST monthly returns.
Flipkart has launched a mobile app for sellers in the name of Sellers Hub. It provides real-time data on orders, payments, listings, order fulfilment, returns, and more. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.
Flipkart also has its own dashboard for seller analytics that helps them to slice different sell point metrics. You can visualise the data over a particular period, download data graphs to view it offline, understand return orders, trends and more. The dashboard can be used for identifying patterns in your sales trend, and it helps you in identifying the top-selling cities, products, etc.
This is all you need to know to start selling on Flipkart. Of course, you will come across nuances, surprises, and challenges along the way, but those are beyond the scope of this article. Besides, we are confident you will figure them out along the way.
How was your experience with selling on Flipkart? Do let us know in the comments below.
Sanjay Shenoy is the co-founder of PixelTrack, a digital marketing training and consulting company. He is also trying to put the marketing back into digital marketing through his blog: Sanjay Shenoy. Content is his forte and has left his mark at prominent startups like Thrillophilia and Explara in the past. He is also a TEDx speaker, author, a corporate trainer with clients like Mercedes Benz India and Nikon Lenswear. In his free time, he likes to travel, juggle, learn music, play football and pet his dog, Max.