Bengaluru: India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart plans to hold more sale events over the course of the next 6-9 months, engage more with disruptive, new start-ups and push into more verticals as part of its private label push, as it gears up to celebrate its 10th anniversary amid broader discussions to close a mammoth round of funding.
In an interview on Tuesday, Flipkart chief operating officer Nitin Seth said it was launching a new campaign called the Big 10 to mark its anniversary, as part of which the online retailer plans to host a slew of events for its customers, home-grown start-ups and other stakeholders.
“The Big 10 theme is very much going to be part of our sale events this year,” said Seth, who in an earlier interview in March had projected that Flipkart would grow sales by at least 50-60% in the next financial year.
Seth indicated that Flipkart was pushing ahead aggressively with its venture into private labels, which typically offers higher margins for online retailers. Inside Flipkart, CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy has tasked key executives to build out a potential billion-dollar business with private labels.
“We are launching new products (on the private label side) almost on a fortnightly basis. There are 5-6 verticals that now have private label products—our approach is to do it vertical by vertical,” said Seth. “There is a lot of focus around accessories, such as mobile chargers, mobile cases and covers, bedsheets, etc.,— there are 6-7 categories that we are already playing in.”
Flipkart will soon launch private labels in larger, flagship categories such as large appliances, and its soon-to-be-launched groceries and furniture categories.
Mint had reported in February that Krishnamurthy is betting big on groceries, hoping that sales of everyday household items will keep shoppers coming back to the company’s platform, at a time when e-commerce firms are struggling to expand the $15-billion online retail market in India.
Bangalore-based Flipkart was launched in 2007 as an online bookseller by former Amazon executives Sachin and Binny Bansal (not related). This year is already shaping up to be the most significant year in Flipkart’s existence—the Internet start-up appointed its first non-founder CEO (Krishnamurthy) in January and is in the middle of a life-saving turnaround amid a market share battle with arch-rival Amazon India and is well on track to raising over $1 billion in fresh funds that is expected to pave the way for an initial public offering over the next few years.
Mint first reported in February that Flipkart was in talks for a mammoth fundraising of up to $1.5 billion from investors including Microsoft Corp, Tencent Holdings Ltd and eBay Inc. at a valuation of $10-12 billion.Earlier in March, Mint also first reported Snapdeal, which has been struggling to raise fresh funds, is in preliminary talks with Paytm E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd and Flipkart for a potential sale.