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Flipkart: Reimagining the Digital Customer Experience
Venkatesan, Rajkumar; Kemp, Bianca Case M-1047 / Published March 13, 2024 / 23 pages.
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In March 2023, two C-suite leaders of Flipkart Online Services Private Limited (Flipkart), debate the advantages and disadvantages of two prospective growth initiatives to expand the Indian e-commerce business’s user base. Within its first decade, Flipkart easily secured 150 million customers, most of whom are fluent in English, in the upper income bracket, and familiar with the internet. Now, with competition on the horizon, stagnation seems inevitable unless users beyond the familiar customer base are brought on board. But these new users have a different profile: they communicate primarily in Indian languages, have less disposable income, are new to e-commerce, and have distinct shopping patterns. How can Flipkart adapt its growth strategy to successfully onboard 200 million users from this new target market and ensure steady expansion? One Flipkart division has already invested considerable resources in building a voice feature powered by artificial intelligence to simplify the customer journey for users who shop on mobile devices and prefer dictating into microphones to typing. But the pilot requires further improvement, and its ROI is still inconclusive. Meanwhile, another Flipkart team has been running video-led shopping experiments that appeal to the new target base but rely heavily on influencers in an uncharted e-commerce ecosystem. Which initiative can be justified both strategically and financially for the long term, while sustaining itself without company subsidies? Should the leaders push for the voice feature or video-led shopping? Can Flipkart do both? And if it can, should it? At the Darden School of Business, this case is taught in the first-year “Digital Marketing” course; it would also be suitable in a module covering the AI-enabled customer experience or digital ROI.




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  • Overview

    In March 2023, two C-suite leaders of Flipkart Online Services Private Limited (Flipkart), debate the advantages and disadvantages of two prospective growth initiatives to expand the Indian e-commerce business’s user base. Within its first decade, Flipkart easily secured 150 million customers, most of whom are fluent in English, in the upper income bracket, and familiar with the internet. Now, with competition on the horizon, stagnation seems inevitable unless users beyond the familiar customer base are brought on board. But these new users have a different profile: they communicate primarily in Indian languages, have less disposable income, are new to e-commerce, and have distinct shopping patterns. How can Flipkart adapt its growth strategy to successfully onboard 200 million users from this new target market and ensure steady expansion? One Flipkart division has already invested considerable resources in building a voice feature powered by artificial intelligence to simplify the customer journey for users who shop on mobile devices and prefer dictating into microphones to typing. But the pilot requires further improvement, and its ROI is still inconclusive. Meanwhile, another Flipkart team has been running video-led shopping experiments that appeal to the new target base but rely heavily on influencers in an uncharted e-commerce ecosystem. Which initiative can be justified both strategically and financially for the long term, while sustaining itself without company subsidies? Should the leaders push for the voice feature or video-led shopping? Can Flipkart do both? And if it can, should it? At the Darden School of Business, this case is taught in the first-year “Digital Marketing” course; it would also be suitable in a module covering the AI-enabled customer experience or digital ROI.

  • Learning Objectives