Flipkart recently introduced their First service, a one of a kind customer centric initiative launched by an ecommerce site in India. I was one of the 75,000 people who won free 6 month subscription to Flipkart First. For others, it is priced at Rs. 500 per year.
So what is Flipkart First?
It is essentially a paid membership service, which entitles regular shoppers with benefits like free shipping (no minimum order value), free next day delivery, 50% discount on same day delivery and priority customer care. Flipkart is also claiming that they will add more services and offers at a later stage and currently all these options are only available for products sold by WS-Retail.
Does it work?
Well I got to test out Flipkart First service on couple of orders (totaling around 6 products.) And I have to say, I was quite impressed by the speed of delivery.
In fact, in case of one order, I got amazing turnaround time, as the below timeline will show:
Initial Order Placed: 10:52pm, 11th June
Part order delivered: 11:50am, 12th June
Return request filed for one product: 6:58pm, 12th June
Product picked up and delivery for replacement given: 11:20am, 13th June
Thanks to a bit of back and forth due to sizing issues and multiple products and orders, Flipkart’s delivery guy was at our place 5 times in 4 days! And best of all, irrespective whether the product was shipped from Bangalore, Maharashtra or Delhi, we got it in a day and that too without paying anything extra for shipping!
In fact Flipkart goofed up on the tracking of one of the orders and even though it was delivered to me within the time they had specified, they ended up crediting Rs. 180 to my Flipkart Wallet for delay! Just like they would have done, had I paid Rs.90 for in-a-day service, like normal customers.
Due to this, I also got to test out their customer care response time. Since I wasn’t interested in getting credit for something, which was just a tracking fault. So I sent an email to their customer care and got a response next day i.e. no huge difference in turnaround time.
While Flipkart First is a great service for people like me, who love to shop online and usually prefer to shop at Flipkart, it nonetheless sort of ties you with a single website. Because if you buy from elsewhere, you know for a fact, that it will take longer to reach you. And this is exactly what Flipkart wants and hopes to achieve.
Having said that, since Flipkart will credit you Rs. 180 for each in-a-day delivery that didn’t reach you in time, makes this proposition quite attractive and I will likely end up paying for this service, once my current subscription is over.
However, I would love to see special discounts being introduced as well or at least introduction of a service wherein you can download unlimited MP3s + get current Flipkart First service for a price which doesn’t break your bank i.e. something similar to Amazon Prime, which is available in US.
Update: After availing Flipkart First for free for 3 months, I renewed my subscription, because I loved the fact that I get priority shipping for free. So far, Flipkart hasn’t failed me and I get each product in less than 48 hours.