Flipkart to go offline in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata after Bangalore

DQC News Bureau
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For the e-commerce company Flipkart a nudge from employees has resulted in fresh avenues of growth in the offline retail space.


A few months ago, Flipkart opened its first brick-and-mortar store called 'Fliptomania' in Bangalore after several employees called for company-branded products on 'sticker', or employee feedback walls.

Flipkart received repeated requests for company-branded T-shirts, coffee mugs and stationery. The Bangalore store is open to both employees and outside customers, and has witnessed heavy footfalls. Encouraged by this, the company is planning more such stores at its offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, besides unveiling its branded products on its website for its employees.

"Deliberately, these products come with a very nominal price tag just enough to cover the cost price," says Arathi Vedantham, director of internal communications, Flipkart. Vedantham, however, did not disclose the revenues or footfalls from the store. "These products instill a sense of pride and belonging among employees. Quirky things like even laptop stickers are a huge hit," she said. Some of the employee messages read, "Can we have more of Flipkart branded T-shirts. I want to gift these," added a company spokesperson. Outside customers contribute just 10% to the total store footfall.

Building its brand has a two-fold effect on a company - it augments the market valuation and pumps up employee pride. "By owning a brand, in some cases, the market valuation of a company has risen by 1.6 or 1.8 times from its original valuation," says Harish Bijoor, brand expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Co. Bijoor cites the examples of soap companies like Marico and Chandrika which started out by manufacturing soaps for other companies before selling them under their own brand. The companies, he says, became very successful after introducing their own branded soaps.

Flipkart is planning next employee request for a baby line of products. So serious is the company's involvement in this initiative that it has hired a young designer, Subin Kurian Verghese, for designing in-house products. The Bangalore store sells merchandise like T-shirts, jackets, stationery, apparels and laptop stickers under its brand.