The announcement means a change in the way Flipkart does business. With a marketplace model, Flipkart will no longer have an inventory of its own, rather buyers can deal with sellers directly and the delivery will be done by Flipkart. The model will be similar to eBay India.
Going forward, users will be able to compare sellers and get the best prices at varied service levels for most products. Flipkart will also introduce this model to categories like clothes, shoes among others.
“We created the blueprint for Flipkart Marketplace with the determination to take online shopping to the masses. In the last 12 months, more than 80 million unique visitors have come to Flipkart. Five out of six online Indians visit our website. Sellers on Flipkart will get access to this vast user base - which is akin to the footfall in prime retail spaces in the top 10 cities of the country,” said Sachin Bansal, CEO and Co-Founder, Flipkart.
In terms of enabling the SME community, Marketplace will now allow smaller players to transact on the same platform as larger established retailers and help them garner business intelligence by understanding their position vis-a-vis competition based on factors such as pricing, offers, deals, etc.
At present, the entire investory of Flipkart is being managed by WS Retail. While WS Retail will continue to be one of the sellers, Flipkart will also slowly incorporate new sellers.
However, the ecommerce company will continue to manage the delivery and shipping of products.