10 years of impact: How Flipkart has enabled growth for millions of sellers during The Big Billion Days

This year, the shopping festivities reached new heights as Flipkart marked a truly spectacular milestone — the 10th edition of The Big Billion Days festival

Flipkart leadership (from left to right) – Rajneesh Kumar, Hemant Badri, Amitesh Jha with the Flipsters during TBBD 2023 kick-off celebrations

There is an undeniable buzz that comes with the joyous festive season in India. This year, the shopping festivities reached new heights as Flipkart marked a milestone that’s truly spectacular — the 10th edition of The Big Billion Days festive event.

With each year, The Big Billion Days event has grown in not only scale, but also ecosystem impact. In a special interaction with Hindustan Times, Rajneesh Kumar, Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group, and Bharath Ram, Senior Vice President, Growth and Retention, Flipkart Group, discussed the growth of Flipkart’s The Big Billion Days in its 10th year, and its impact on sellers and the Indian e-commerce ecosystem at large.

“The Big Billion Days is not just a Flipkart event. It is an ecosystem event because we bring everyone together, whether it is stakeholders such as kiranas, sellers, customers or ecosystem partners. We come together to make sure that we can use technology and innovation to deliver a wide range of products to the consumer. So it’s an ecosystem festive event,” said Kumar.

Flipkart leadership with sellers during TBBD 2023 kick-off celebrations

Today, Flipkart has a presence in every serviceable PIN code in India and an event like The Big Billion Days witnessed a record 1.4 billion customer visits this year.

“A lot of planning goes into an event like The Big Billion Days. In fact, the team which was involved very deeply in the last BBD started planning for this year’s event at the same time as it ended. We worked with ecosystem partners, sellers, MSMEs, brands, to make sure that they are able to bring the right products which consumers are seeking. So, you also have to look at insights on what consumers are asking for, what is selling, what will sell, and therefore help sellers decide which products are most relevant for the marketplace,” Kumar further said.

An event of this magnitude needs perfect teamwork at the backend to make it a success.

Flipkart employees, or ‘Flipsters’ as they are fondly called, share a single-minded goal of using technology and innovation to create impact at scale, through dedication and teamwork.

Today, Flipkart has a tech-enabled supply chain which includes fulfillment centers, mother hubs and distribution hubs across India to reach every corner of the country. This includes over 100 fulfillment and sortation centers, supported by a vast network of over 3000 distribution hubs. To extend Flipkart’s reach to low-density and remote areas efficiently, innovative alternate delivery models have been implemented. Empowering local businesses by collaborating with Kiranas is also generating substantial employment opportunities for them while providing them the convenience to work flexibly.

“Even a first-time seller from a remote location has the opportunity to make the products available to the buyers across the country. The domino effect of that is you create more prosperity for people on the ground in the form of livelihood opportunities. This is what inclusive growth looks like and this is what a digital India can actually deliver on ground by bringing people into the ecosystem through events like The Big Billions Day,” said Kumar.

The event itself has come a long way since 2014 when it was launched as a one-day event with a small selection of products. Today, there are millions of products available for customers to choose from. “The impact and the empowerment you drive on the ground is what is most deeply satisfying for us. And this is happening at a scale. So, technology, scale, and making that impact on the ground is really what BBD stands for,” he added.

Flipkart remains focused on building and enabling opportunities via e-commerce for Indian businesses, especially MSMEs. Through the Flipkart Samarth program, it has made e-commerce more inclusive for a wide range of sellers – including artisans, craftsmen, women sellers and people with disabilities.

“The whole idea was how do you bring them in, hand-hold them, and partner with the government and the whole ecosystem to train them – whether it is an artisan, weaver, farmer producer organisation, rural entrepreneur, or self-help group. We have been able to impact over 1.4 million livelihoods so far,” said Kumar.

He also spoke about the growth of e-commerce and the future of this ecosystem in a country like India where consumption drives growth. Kumar said: “Technology plays a very central role. And, it is not just in e-commerce from a transaction perspective. Even businesses are deploying technology. So, I think ‘digital transformation’ as a theme for our country is so empowering that it is going into many different processes in the business. One, is digital transformation of the businesses which is actually happening at scale. Second, how do you bring those opportunities to

When organisations like Flipkart look at meeting growing demand, they also try to make sure it is sustainable. Flipkart continues to prioritize sustainable measures especially in its supply chain which includes strengthening its EV commitment and focusing on eliminating single use plastic in its supply chain. As a part of its Net-Zero commitment, Flipkart’s warehouse in Haringhata, West Bengal, which facilitates over 1 million orders daily during TBBD, has been accorded with the Green Warehouse Platinum Certification from IGBC, the highest certification level. “While we are helping revolutionise digital commerce, we are also doing it in a sustainable manner so that it is beneficial for our planet as well,” Kumar concluded.

Flipkart is also known to provide its customers with a very enriching experience. With a strong focus on creating the best customer experience, both in terms of design and simplicity. Bharath Ram – SVP Growth and Retention, Flipkart, shares perspective on how Flipkart recognises that there are ‘many Indias’ and therefore, there needs to be customised experiences for people with different sensibilities who are using the app.

“We actually do a lot of consumer research before bringing certain changes or new introductions to the Flipkart customer experience. The app has a local language touch for words like kirana. The app also has ‘Flippy’, a Flipkart AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT. This newly-launched experience allows people to make decisions when they are faced with a variety of choices- it allows people to research and find out what product best fits them, and then make the right decision,” said Ram.

“We have one more surprise in the box. If you swipe left on the app, you will be able to access two videos where you will have your favorite local influencer teaching you about the product, telling you why you need to buy a particular product, what are the decision-making factors on the product and so on. This is also another way to add that personal, explanatory touch, which helps people make the right shopping decisions,” Ram further added. People continue to embrace a more visually engaging shopping experience, as Flipkart bridges the content to commerce gap especially with its video offerings.

There are several ‘firsts’ during this year’s The Big Billion Days event. “We have a fashion experience for Gen Z called SPOYL, which has all the latest Gen Z fashion products. We have integrated important trust and safety features during product delivery. We do an open box delivery so that you can actually see the items before you accept delivery, especially for certain fashion and high-value products,” said Ram.

There is also a lot of trust-building in terms of user generated content — Flipkart has increased the coverage of reviews and ratings so that people can see what other people are saying about the product before they make the purchase decision.

Flipkart already has a registered customer base of over 500 million and it is adding more to this number every day. “A lot more Tier 2 and Tier 3 customers are embracing the internet, and trying to buy products online. Affordability constructs are very important for them. So, we have a couple of very interesting products around that. One is a personal loan feature where people can take a personal loan from Flipkart. The second feature that we are introducing is a very easy EMI pay option. It allows people to also afford a very expensive product via the EMI option, which is aligned to our affordability vision” he said.

This year’s The Big Billion Days has proved to be a milestone, not just for Flipkart, but for the Indian retail industry as a whole. Flipkart’s The Big Billion Days has driven tremendous growth for the entire ecosystem over the past 10 years, playing a key role in job creation and MSME growth, while creating a festive phenomenon that reached every corner of the country.

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