Flipkart vs Amazon: Deals and shopping experience compared

Years ago when Flipkart was into the online retail business, it only had to worry about its local competitors from the nation like Infibeam and Homeshop18. However, with the recent entry of Amazon into India as Amazon India, it seems customers finally have a choice and Flipkart actually has a game to play. Which is better? Scroll down.

Twenty years ago the word 'shopping' meant going out of your house, maybe to a shopping complex, a store or a mall, select the goods you like, pay for the same and then check out instantly. Twenty years down the line everything seems changed, upside down. Today 'shopping' comes with two adjectives serving the very word as options: 'online' and 'in-store'.

More reading: E-commerce application development companies in Kerala.

Today, to buy anything we think twice. Whether we should buy from a store nearby or check out the whole bunch of options available online is a matter of great confusion for us. The good part of the whole scene is that today the typical customer/user is has so many options available just a few clicks away. If you want to buy a new laptop you don't need to go to that boring retailer's shop anymore and tolerate him making you wait for another hour because you've never bought a laptop from him, only blank DVDs and stuff. On the other hand, the retailers' fraternity are running at a huge loss and it is likely to happen that sooner or later no one in the society would consider opening a store again because the future is at great stake because of the big hats. However, leaving all that aside in the name of 'business' ideas and 'right to profit', we are going to discuss and compare two big giants in the online retail world of India – Flipkart and Amazon India.

Read: If you are into affiliate marketing and like to make money by referring customers to eCommerce sites, read our comparison of Amazon and Flipkart affiliate programs.

Flipkart vs. Amazon: Compare eCommerce sites

Before we proceed any further and lay out our conclusions, the question is why we are comparing Flipkart and Amazon. Why not look at the broader picture and include more rivals like Homeshop18, Infibeam etc. The reason is Amazon is a foreign company and practically world's largest in the field of online retailership. Their entry into the Indian market is a recent news and before their entry our undefeated champion from the locals was Flipkart. Is Amazon India going to enter our markets and defeat the most popular online retail company of India because of its age-long experience or will Flipkart be able to defend its goodwill in the market, stand the competition in a dominative manner and will tell the world – no breaching our gates?

Well, we cannot foresee the future very much but we sure can lay out our views, comparing the two hulks.

History and Foundation - Whenever discussing any business or industry, discussing the history seems sensible. It is not an unknown fact that in the field of online retailers, Amazon was the first one to come and tap the button. It took Amazon years because it actually made some real profit out of the business. Surely, they have much more substance when it comes to experience. On the other hand, the creators of the Indian banner, the Bansals are products of IIT Delhi and before they actually started Flipkart, they had worked in Amazon for a few years. It wouldn't be wrong to say that the creators of Flipkart drew experience from the very company they are competing today. Now, the question is whether experience enough can beat the intellect and intelligence of two engineering minds from the best technology institute of the nation?

Risks and Backup - Talk about who has more to lose in the battle of sales figures. Well, surely Flipkart. The reason why we're putting forward this argument is the fact that Flipkart does only one kind of business, which is that of online retailers. Besides just more experience, on the other hand, Amazon is backed up by more business streams which it's been successfully carrying out. Let's take the example of Amazon Web Services, which is known to be generating a lot of revenue for the company. Even if it loses its hand in the Indian market to its main rival Flipkart, it does not have too much to lose.

Amazon Drones and other Innovations - It is a recent buzz according to which Amazon is busy building (or has probably built) drones to increase its business. Sooner or later drones will be acting as your local delivery boy and will be delivering goods at your footsteps and giving online retailership just another level. So, you don't have to worry too much anymore whether the person delivering goods to your address is confused at how to find your address. Who knows? Maybe Amazon someday makes it possible: a customer wishing to get delivered a set of books merely has to locate his house on Google maps and a flying machine comes with the stuff you ordered.

Books - Both the companies started their journeys and turned out popular but how did they start? Both the brands are known to have started their travails with books. Books was what Amazon began with and it was what Flipkart targeted to achieve first when they were nothing but a warehouse. However, talking about books, it is a popular opinion that Amazon is cheaper dealing with when it comes to books. Not only does it involve less shipping charges, it has more seller options usually.

Model of working - Comparing Flipkart and Amazon, one can dig out the old pages and the new and can infer that both the companies had started with their own warehouse but today, both follow the common similar marketplace model. However, talking about the same, Flipkart and Amazon India are known to be sharing a difference which is again about books. While Flipkart enjoys putting its warehouses into good use when it comes to stocking books, Amazon likes to continue working in the trend it enjoys – that is, with the marketplace model.

Presentation - Now, do we really need to put up our own opinion about the presentation and looks of both the brands? While the website of Flipkart is presented with the use of bright colors and beautiful buttons, Amazon lags much behind in the name of presentation and colours, if not in anything else.

Amazon Kindle - Now, Amazon has an extra advantage, the advantage of technology, invention and innovation. We all know about the Amazon Kindle. And in case you do not, Amazon Kindle is an ebook reader specially designed by Amazon for enabling its customers buy ebooks from Amazon and read on the Kindle. Kindle is blessed with charged ink technology and does not use the normal LED/LCD displays, hence reducing the strain on the eye to an extent, it almost pushes you to buy the ebook instantly for your Kindle. And anyway, ebooks come at much lower price than the hard copies of books. Not only do they save paper, it seems they are the future of reading. On the other hand, Flipkart doesn't seem to be doing that awesomely when it comes to the sale of ebooks. Definitely, Flipkart has not been of much use when it comes to invention. They do not have something like the Kindle of their own and it doesn't seem likely to be in near future either.

Amazon's Google App Store - Now this is just brains, not too much technology, not another 'invention'. Besides trying its hands on all other kinds of business, Amazon has its own collection of Google App Store products which you can purchase and download. Flipkart does not have a business of this kind.

Ease-of-Use and Convenience - When it comes to ease of use and convenience, we do not hesitate to vote up the brand from the nation. Flipkart does have a very appreciable and convenient way for the typical customer. Log on to the Amazon India website and all you find is a confusing set of links. You do not understand where to click and where to not. Besides, if a user wants to order something at Amazon India, let's say a book, he cannot do it just like that. One needs to have a user account at Amazon, separately registered by the user. This kind of rudeness is something which the Flipkart people haven't shown. If you have a Facebook or Google account, all you need to do is use your credentials, feed in the details and place your order. There is no need to create a special Flipkart account, registering separately for the same (even though you could, if you really want to).

Amazon has a lot of stuff like Prime Membership and a lot of more confusing booty traps which Flipkart choses to avoid. Even the search facility on Flipkart was something we greatly admired.

Same Day Delivery - Recently after its entry into the Indian retailosphere, Amazon India came out with something called 'same day delivery'. According to this plan, if you are a customer and are so desperate to get the products you ordered that you want them delivered on the same day, you can enjoy this facility. All you have to do is pay an extra fee of Rs. 99. But recently, even Flipkart launched the same feature; however the better bet here is because you have to shell out Rs. 9 less. You need to place your order before 6 pm and the order will be delivered to you within the same day. If however you place your order (on Flipkart) after 6 pm, your product(s) will be delivered only the next day. So, when comparing Amazon and Flipkart on same day delivery services, both offer pretty much good services.

Delivery Manners - There's a subtle change in the manner both the companies. Let's say you order two things – a book and a movie DVD. It may be possible that you receive your book the next day by Amazon and the DVD may arrive a few days later if the seller takes more time to ship it. However, the same is not usually true with Flipkart. What Flipkart will do is – it will ship the two products together, in the same package and will most likely make you wait. While some favour Flipart's shipping habits, the others believe Amazon India does it better. Some may like the responsibility Amazon takes by shipping the product as soon as it can reach the customers, some believe Flipkart understands how a person expects his products to come all together, keeping things simple. While some say that Flipkart does this to save its expense on shipping the package, some opine that Amazon too saves its expense by avoiding any midway intervention in the delivery process.

Selling your product - A mere look at Amazon India's top left area will let you to the 'sell' page. It elaborates the user as to how he/she can actually sell his product on Amazon India without going through an elaborate process to get his business listed in the website.

Conclusion: Which is eCommerce service is better - Amazon or Flipkart

Any business starts and advances because of many virtues. One of them is public goodwill. Over the years, Flipkart has earned a lot of that in India but then Amazon cannot be overlooked just because it's new in India. It cannot be ignored that they know how this system works. They understand this business as they are the trendsetters. While Flipkart seems to be giving Amazon a tough go in India, Amazon is trying its bets. Flipkart offers you simplicity, beauty and ease of convenience, Amazon offers you a promise which comes to it through the expertise. Amazon has readymade advantages like Amazon Kindle, other revenue sources and easily approachable system, it seems as though it is trying to play rude with people who want to buy products from its market by compelling to open up their own accounts in Amazon even when almost everyone has a Facebook account and can easily use the same to place the order. Flipkart seems to understand that a user comes to it to buy products and not to buy its tantrums.

It would be too early to decide which of the two is going to dominate the Indian markets, but one things is sure: Flipkart is going to have a tough time if it does not keep up.

Read Amazon offers 15% affiliate commission - best affiliate commission structure in India

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Author: Bhakti Savla19 Dec 2013 Member Level: Gold   Points : 7

Hi Gyandeep,
You have compared the services offered by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart in a very systematic manner. Indeed, Amazon is a proven performer globally, whereas Flipkart has proved itself in India with less competition around. As mentioned by you, it's going to be an interesting tussle between Amazon and Flipkart in the coming years. Both Amazon and Flipkart offered good deals during the recently concluded GOSF and it is expected that both will offer good online discounts during Christmas.

Amazon introduces new things pretty quickly and Flipkart will have to do a lot of catching up. For example, Amazon started affiliate program in India offering much higher commission rates than Flipkart used to offer with it's already existing affiliate program. This strategy of Amazon forced Flipkart to increase it's affiliate commission rates to come closer to the rates offered by Amazon.

Another example of Amazon is getting tied up with Indian cashback site like Pennyful.in which offer cashback up to 10% for purchases done from Amazon site. Flipkart is not tied up with any cashback site in India yet (even though it did offer cashback for a certain period of time only via some cashback site).

In this tough competition between Amazon, Flipkart and other upcoming e-commerce websites in India, customer is going to be the real winner.

Guest Author: Shikhar01 Apr 2014

I would like to give an update. Flipkart has its own brand now - "DigiFlip". It has a range of computer accessories like mice and laptop bags. But according to my opinion, Flipkart is on high ground only due to lack of competition. The e-commerce giant delivers to many places at which Flipkart doesn't. At some instances, there are the same sellers on Flipkart and amazon. The seller on Flipkart doesn't sell to some areas while while the same seller on Amazon sells.

In a day delivery id available only to some major cities and some small cities near its warehouses, but, according to my experience, Amazon, despite being a foreign based company, gives that privilege to the whole country.
If we haven't selected any special delivery option, i.e. One day delivery or two day delivery(Amazon exclusive), Amazon ships quite fast. I ordered a mouse on a Monday and got it on a Wednesday. Flipkart usually takes much more time.

According to what I think and my experiences with both the companies, Amazon should be trusted more than it currently is. And if Flipkart wishes to stay in competition, it has a lot catching-up to do.

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