Lack of exposure to the online business for its seller base was why e-commerce major Flipkart ran out of stock for many of its popular products at its ‘Big Billion Day’ festive sale last year, leading to much customer criticism.
Hence, the company began preparing six months prior to this year's edition. And, it has seen business turnover crossing $300 million in gross merchandise volume, thrice bigger than last year, with participation of around 40,000 sellers. At present, Flipkart’s total seller base is 60,000.
“Last year, there was an issue with the inventory. With the huge rush in orders, sellers were not prepared. As online selling is new for many of them, we took special care this year in the form of educating and training them,” said Manish Maheshwari, vice-president at Flipkart.
Starting six months before, it began identifying sellers and working closely with them. “We identified the efficient sellers and started by coaching them on various aspects which are important for selling products online,” said Maheshwari. The company held training camps on how to manage peak season demand. “This also helped them maximise their sales, with some of them reaching their annual target in those five days,” he says.
For this, it also took the help of third-party agencies such as Aptech and Skillventory. Next came the use of data and analytics, to help the sellers identify trends, so that inventory was maintained efficiently.
“We process a lot of data gaining insights, which is ultimately transferred to our sellers, who benefit immensely.”
It also tied up with third parties to provide personnel to the sellers. “At a nominal price, we provide professional help during peak seasons, like inventory management, advertising their own products, manpower management and product dispatch,” said Maheshwari.
RISING TO THE OCCASION
- This year, Big Billion Day saw a business turnover of over $300 mn in gross merchandise volume for Flipkart
- Flipkart started training sellers 6 months prior to BBD in various aspects of online sales
- It also took the help of third party organisations like Aptech, Skillventory
- Data & analytics were used to help sellers identify trends so that inventory was maintained efficiently