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Ok, here’s why we have the friendly little box that asks you if you have a Flipkart Promotional Code:

a> It’s been there since the first time we had offers through some campaign or the other, co-branded ones, usually. Some of those codes are still valid, which is why we haven’t “disabled” the promo code box.
b> We also have other social initiatives on, where certain NGOs we’ve tied up with get additional discounts.

We also know for a fact that people have managed to get hold of these codes — the same codes that were meant for donations to these NGOs — and ordered books using them, but not for donations to the NGO but for personal use.

So for the record —

i> There is no Flipkart Promotional Code that any of the employees or the customer support have
ii> When we do send out the Promo Code, it is usually as part of a co-branded campaign (with a Cellular Service Network Provider, for example) or …
iii> … as part of our CSR initiatives with certain institutions and NGOs (meant essentially for people who donate to these very causes).

On a related note, we get asked very often about discounts mentioned on Flipkart vis-à-vis that of other online retailers.

First off, competition’s great! I’m not saying that because it’s the politically correct thing to say. It’s just part of any organism’s genetic code — survival of the fittest and dog eat dog and all that. You should either be chasing someone or running away from someone, else you will atrophy.

So all things being equal, here’s how we decide on discounts (this was part of an email I sent someone):

We essentially price discounts based on what we think is the best possible we can offer, while keeping margins for ourselves.

This is also why we don’t have loyalty schemes and so on … because we believe that service should eventually set us apart, and that quality (coupled with price and everything else) should be at par for all users. Whether you are 4 books old or 40 books old, you shouldn’t be treated any different … the quality and price offered to the first timer should be the same to someone who’s been with us for a few months.

Now of course there are exceptions and edge cases and bulk orders and whatever else (like this reflection of a bystander). All said and done though, the above pretty much encapsulates it.

We’re bigger than we used to be, but we’re still a small Indian startup in the grand scheme of things. It’s great when people refer to us as the “Amazon of India”, the flip-side to which is that we are expected to give Amazon like discounts! We cannot, for a couple of reasons:

*Amazon has been around for over a decade and is a monolith. Their relationships with Publishers and Distributors allow them to do what they do at the price points at which they do. Flipkart doesn’t have that kind of clout — not yet.

*Amazon also happens to be in the same country as a variety of US publishers. Flipkart on the other hand happens to be on the other side of the world. We need to bear a lot of the import costs and things that go along with, which is why we cannot offer the same discounts as Amazon — not yet.

In closing, we do not explicitly have any Promotional Codes or Flipkart Promo Coupons laying around spare. We’re doing the best we can at offering as much of a discount to you as possible. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the only way you can help us give higher discounts is by buying from us!

Help us become the Amazon of India (although if you ask me, I’d rather they be called the Flipkart of the US!).

I’ll leave you with the tables turned:

Ramayana by R. K. Narayan on Flipkart — Rs. 190 ($4)

Ramayana by R. K. Narayan on Amazon — $ 15 (Rs. 760)

Have a good one.

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46 thoughts on “Decoding the Promo Code

  1. I pretty much agree with what Jiju said, he truly has the bystander reflected. It does help to know that you have a office in Kormangala, which is more a placebo than anything else. But I do find myself surfing Flipkart, ‘looking’ to buy a book, than Amazon, where I just try to read review.
    Maybe I just want you guys to win, have a startup soft corner :), but the local content is what makes you the Amazon of India. Or Rediff/Times Books, where I try to make excuses of why not to buy.

    There is this particular book called “Wonderland of Investment” very popular in NIndia, never available in any of the local stores, and you had it. So “think global, be local” drew me. There are certain certification books that I purchased, and they were out of stock in all the local bookstores (and your site). But you did notify me, and that makes it all the more easier.
    But I dont think your service is actually that great.(Maybe I brush it out easily because I understand how startups work). Nobody picks the call, You gave me a wrong book, and the second order was delayed.
    The website, though is excellent, it gave me a google preview of another book I purchased, and reading it, actually made me buy it. More of such previews please..

  2. I’d love nothing more than for you guys to become the Amazon of India, since i’ve been crying for an Indian branch of Amazon since forever!! It would be so much better if you guys would do that instead. Planning to branch out??

  3. For me,you are FLIPKART,better than AMAZON,no need to tag you Amazon of INDIA.Great service.Thanks.

  4. IMHO you guys are doing a good job. This comes from the mother of an infant who can’t go out flipping books on a book stand. And yes, I too read the reviews and look inside the books but buy from you. You give us the cheapest books after all without any promo codes.

    Thanks a lot :)

  5. Dear Flipcart
    I have been trying to get through to Strategic book publishing without success. Can you please pass this message on for me.

    Dear Strategic Book Marketing

    My name is Maureen Greaves. I have had my book titled Weekend Special published with you last year. I was wondering how I can get a Video Trailer on my book. I also want to know if Weekend Special has had any success in getting into book stores for sale? Also I would like to know how I can market my book in India and China.



  6. At long last i am satisfied with some service in india (don’t think i am familier with foreign service). Please don’t let it go down. Aur Zor Heiyo!!!

  7. Great site….never better. The books priced just right and great thing is u get free delivery to home. Great work guys…..keep going.
    Whats the need for Amazon when Flipkart has it all…..

  8. Trust me guys the aim is not to become Amazon of India, It is to make Amazon Flipkart of the US. Great job guys. I’ll keep buying to be a part of the grand scheme.

    Ps: A few days back I was returned a handsome sum after paying for and receiving a book as the price within the week had dropped. Guys are we still in India. If business ethics keep going north this way, no one can stop us from becoming the greatest nation in this world. Cheers

  9. Absolutely love flipkart and have ordered few books from flipkart. Each time, my experience with you guys got better.

    But when you say “I’d rather they be called the Flipkart of the US!”, I’d say this possible but for that, you have to take your own approach. The way I see it, flipkart website is atleast 80% copy in everyway of amazon. From the way products are presented to the login form to everything.. You can’t have them called flipkart of the US this way.

    Just my two cents

  10. hi!

    first, thanks for making online shopping so eeeeeeezy! it would be really great if you guys also add electronics spares/cables/etc. such as “HDMI to VGA” cable, etc. to your store. i love your game collection although you could add some more.

    have a good one :)

  11. For better promotional offers u guys can try contacting private banks like icici/hdfc/citi and have a tie up with them that if a customer uses their services (netbanking/debit card/ credit card), he/she would get some benefit/discount.

  12. Hi, Since past some time I have not ordered from flipkart.com , though there is no complaints at all in the quality of books or shipment, but Flipkart is not as price competitive as it started of with, to begin I remember when Flipkart was a new name and I did my purchases, I was given a lot of promotional offers and coupon codes like “FLIP 20″ and “FLIP 10″ for 20 & 10% discounts , the prices of many books were very less compared to other sites ( though there are many sites which offer books at much lesser price and also come up with some or the other promotional offers and coupon codes, you can find the ones I am talking about) in addition, the only major factor is the prices and the offers, it is easy to go to top but difficult to sustain, and to be a monolithic as Amazon , you must learn their tricks of trade too when they come with offers respecting the customers side too and giving them schemes to keep on coming back, though I always liked you and your services, I hope you give a second thought and give your patrons some extra reasons to smile.

  13. flipcart s d best!!!
    such amazing discounts compared with retail prices at stores!

  14. You guys are best!
    But you should provide discount on shopping more then 5000 or 10000 or whatever you want !

    Like rs 500 off on shopping more then Rs. 10,000. It will not only provide a benefit to your customers, but for you guys tooo.

    So, What you guys say?

  15. Many sites r giving more discount than flipkart(bcz of the coupons)…………but flipkart is not showing any option for coupons…….
    Can anyone please tell me how to use flipkart coupons?

    Hoping for the quick n helpful reply…….

  16. Shopping at Flipkart will be more fun, if they start providing discount coupon codes for shoppers. Flipkart is rocking every where these days. Why to miss this kind of coupon feature to attract and create more fun for shoppers.

  17. Flipkart of US is better.. I am sure your site is much nicer, and better service. Start building a API/platforms too and you will beat Amazon

  18. If you are so strained in giving offers then why letsbuy.com is giving huge discounts. I am pretty sure they are not the Amazon of India.

  19. Flipkart is not providing any coupons but they have decent offers. Hey Atishay Jain.. They do have decent competitive pricing to compare with letsbuy.

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  26. I almost never comment, however after looking at a few of
    the responses on this page Decoding the Promo Code | Flipkart Blog. I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it look as if like some of the remarks look like they are left by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you make a list of every one of all your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  27. I agree with everything you say but the problem is your prices do not match those of the Indian markets. Rs. 33,000 (with bill) for a camera in retail stores is Rs 36,000+ on your site and so on. These people also import, these people also have a margin. The pity about India is you don’t get the prices you get in the markets (Lamington, Camera Gali, Crawford in Mumbai) in online shopping. For example newegg prices match the local retailers or better them. I’m not asking you to match the US price, at least send someone from your firm to these markets to research the price and set a competitive or matching price. You don’t know how big a market there is for a competitive price. I can remember at least 10 times I have seen stuff on your site flipkart and contemplated buying it only to find that a local retailer will sell it to me at much lesser. Don’t blame it on delivery charges, charge separately for delivery if you want. Also take cues from zoomin, you don’t have to be as big as Amazon to provide discounts.
    Don’t be greedy, all the best.

  28. I am totally in agreement with C-Dan comments. It may be possible that they have good service but prices of products are costlier than any other site or even compared to retail market. They should pass on discounts to Customers in form of discount coupons.

  29. why should i buy a product at 500 if i can get it at 400 from other place , we are rational consumers ………… its pure consumerism

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