Flipkart is building for the next 200 million, says CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy

At TechSparks 2021, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy says he has customers of the future on his mind as he builds the business to cover new categories.
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India has seven different customer segments, and a majority of them are not served by the current ecommerce system, said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer at the Flipkart Group.

Speaking to Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, at TechSparks 2021, Kalyan said that the Walmart-owned company sees growth opportunities in serving across the spectrum, with plans to go public in the near future.

“Ecommerce in the last 10-15 years has mostly served the top 200 million customers. What Flipkart has enabled in the last two years is the next 200 million customers and that’s where we see tremendous growth,” he added.

The ecommerce platform has seen 30 percent of its users choosing local languages to access the Flipkart app across 11 languages. Kalyan said that the platform’s recent foray into live commerce and voice-enabled commerce is directed at the underserved segments in India.

Earlier this July, the ecommerce behemoth raised a whopping $3.6 billion from SoftBank and other investors, and was valued at $37.6 billion. According to the CEO,  Flipkart is committed to giving good returns to its investors and a public market debut is still on the cards.

“We want to make sure that whenever we do an IPO, it is a sustainable one, a high-quality one, and we are preparing for it. Give us a few more months,” said Kalyan.

While preparing for an IPO is one of the growth tracks Flipkart is chasing, it is devoting a majority of its resources to growing its categories and innovation. 

Growth avenues

Kalyan said that 75-80 percent of the company’s resources are dedicated to adding parallel lines of online commerce.

“We do want to expand our offering and innovation to customers in the broader ecosystem. In the past few years, we have launched several new concepts. For example, we now have a fairly robust offering in travel. It is only domestic flights today, but if you look at the next six months, we will get into all other categories,” said Kalyan.

In April, Flipkart acquired Cleartrip, and the Adani Group recently announced picking up a minority stake in the travel tech startup.

Kalyan added that the company was also growing its wholesale business, hyperlocal quick commerce, and will be launching other products — a move towards its super-app strategy.

Kalyan added that Flipkart was also growing its grocery play in a measured way, and aims to cover 1,200 cities by January 2022 from the current 550 cities. The CEO, who took over operations from its founders in 2017, is not worried about close competition in the segment.

“These are categories that need to be deeply solved,” said Kalyan, adding that it involved building a network of kirana partners, supply chain, and other pieces of the system.

Building for the next 200 million

Kalyan said that Flipkart has been building to cater to the customer of the future, who live in Tier II, III, and IV markets. 

“We invested for 25,000 pincodes — we built access, we built selection, and we built value and services. Our supply chain, for example, is deeply customised and catered at a customer segment and a category level,” he added.

Flipkart is building an end-to-end play, to provide the right selection, discoverability, and personalisation for these customers. 

“We show a customer the 400 sarees that matter to them. These are the examples of a deep customer understanding that we have developed over the years, which is why Flipkart is able to differentiate and go deeper into so many complex customer segments in a diverse country like India,” said Kalyan.

Going ahead, personalisation will drive a better ecommerce business, signed off the CEO of Flipkart.


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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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