For those who came in late, we had first poked around a bit sometime 6 months ago.
More than a few kind people chimed in with thoughts and suggestions, as is evident in the comments. We were of course short-staffed and went on a recruiting spree (and as someone once joked, “Looking at Flipkart, one would never guess that you’re a startup, or that there’s a recession on!’). We got a great many people on board, and a lot of the work that’s got done in the past 6 months has been more backend, than frontend. (And between you and me, I don’t trust the ERP guys at all. Especially that Vishal character.)
But till we get good at the above, we’ll take baby steps. Like all things at Flipkart, the baby steps start by listening to users.
NEW RELEASES & REVIEWS
Shankar Ganesh had a couple of points. We have now moved the reviews onto their own page, with just the top 2 or 3 most recent ones shown on the product page. We took a small step in order to nip spam (albeit after it blossomed), and we now require people to Login/Signup to write a review.
The Yes/No helpful review bit, that based on ratings will push reviews up or down. You can click as many times as you want, we’ll thank you every time, but just one vote will be logged, your first (presumably).
And of course the “report abusive” bit. I find the messaging hilarious! But at least this little bit’s done.
HOMEPAGE & WISHLIST
Swaroop C H added his bits. I’m afraid the front page is still as noisy, but optimistic we’ll devote more space to new releases — something Shankar Ganesh also hinted at. Don’t be surprised when I say I’m on board with all of you about this, Vasant Salian included – the goddamn tag clouds are getting a little old.
We’ll have to re-engineer that bit.
The Wishlist was always around, but thanks to a bit of crowdsourcing and good ol’ Vallies, it first came out to sit on the header (top left) and then went on to become “Public” some 72 hours ago. It was (as best as I know) first brought up on Sankarshan’s Blog and seconded and thirded in the comments. It took 9 months for it to come into fruition, but not without its kinks.
You won’t find the “Make Public” where you expect to (No, not in the Wishlist, which would be effortless. We need proof that you really love us, so you’ll have to scramble around a bit.)
For now, go to My Account and scroll down to the bottom. You can modify the default ID, so you can make it /wishlist/tapas, for example.
Actually, while you’re there, can you please fill in your name and phone number? We’d rather refer to you by your given name than your given email ID — when we send you order confirmations and whatnot. Keying in your cellphone number will help us Text order confirmation and shipment confirmation by SMS.
C’mon, it’ll only take a minute! Click here —> Your Account.
Needs a bit of work, but I’m glad it’s out.
This is something we’ve thought long and hard over, and I have briefly flirted with a few points. Rahul had mailed us not too long ago, and here’s part of what I wrote to him, in reply:
We work on very slim margins, across the board. This is solely because we do actually give the best possible discount we can afford to, leaving us no room. A loyalty scheme would have worked for us if we’d gone in with the plan to have a web discount (which gave us healthy margins) and then introduced a loyalty scheme that gave select customers additional discounts (leaving us with thin margins, in those specific cases). This was the fork we found ourselves at very early into Flipkart, and we chose the former.
I’m personally all for a Loyalty Program, but it will have to be one that isn’t based on “higher discount”. All suggestions welcome (but I make no guarantees if and when it will get implemented).
SEARCH, RECOMMENDATION ENGINE & WEREAD INTEGRATION
Richard has my sympathies, as far as the (non-existent) recommendation engine/similar books/also bought is concerned. But to be fair, we haven’t yet sunk our teeth into it, yet. There will surely be improvements by the next change of season.
Search was always a challenge — and now with regional language books getting added — the task is absolutely monumental. Auto-suggest will have to wait a while, Swaroop.
We thought he was done, but he came back with “WeRead Integration”.
To that end, we asked a man who knows more about WeRead than you and me put together — Mekin Maheshwari — to a dance with Flipkart, and he accepted. Not necessarily the kind of integration Swaroop might have had in mind, but nonetheless.
TWITTER ACCOUNT & FACEBOOK
Much before Sankarshan, Vasu had first suggested — and quite adamantly — that we get on Twitter. For one, we hadn’t because no one was “free” enough to manage the stream. For Two, someone who had 2 minutes to spare (which we clearly didn’t) went ahead and gobbled up @flipkart. With that slap to our face and so many of you pinging @flipkart, something had to give.
From this was born,
@flipkartdotcom @flipkart. What’s with the long name? Because we like to put more effort into things. Yes, we could have filed this-that-and-the-other and got ourselves @Flipkart, but at the end of the day, we’re peace loving people who only pick fights with courier companies because they messed up delivery. So @flipkart, if you’re reading this and feeling sorry or guilty about the prank that went all wrong, send me a mail at MYNAME[at]flipkart.com … and all will be forgiven and we’ll go out for a beer.
PS: Yes, we did get @flipkart, eventually!
A long long time ago, A Zen Approach to Giftwrapping was mentioned by me. It is now up on the UI.
Add books like you normally would, checkout like you normally would and before you hit pay, you should see a summary of your order items and at the bottom is a “Gift Wrap” and “Add Note” check box. Check it, type out your note … well, that’s pretty much it.
Oh yeah, there’s no charge.