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.