Contrary to what the title might suggest, this is not about anyone at Flipkart.
Taking a leap of faith online is not as hard as it looks but is much harder than you think. Our brains are hardwired for the senses – see; smell; feel; touch; taste. The main challenge of a Click-‘n-Mortar store is bringing credibility to anonymity. We certainly didn’t have that way-back-when, which is why we owe a lot to quite a few people – one of them being Mr. Chandra.
Mr. Chandra is the FIRST EVER customer that Flipkart had (the rest were mostly family, friends, friends of family and families of friends) and also subsequently went on to interview Flipkart. There is no way we can quantify what that post did for us – nay – continues to do for us. At the most basic level, it validated the feedback trust loop that Sachin and Binny had put all their hopes on. Here is a guy who having logged on to Flipkart has:
a> Found what he wanted
b> Taken out his card
c> Made an online payment on a site no one knew of
d> And waited for his book to be delivered
Here is a good time for me to make a declaration: I had not yet joined Flipkart. True, I have no idea what any of them were thinking at the time or what the motivations were that lead to this momentous “first real sale”. Of one other thing I can be fairly certain – the Bansals thinking “We have a customer afterall, let’s not make a mess now!!”
It’s been over a year since that day, a lot has changed and we’re making fewer mistakes now. Many more trust us, and of large number of those that do stay very loyal. We probably do let some of them down, and not just the first timers either – I just hope that these isolated incidents do not reinforce the mental blocks people have with e-commerce in India.
If there’s one takeaway I can garner, it’s this: Be grateful to the VVK Chandras in your life – and every once in a while – try being one yourself.