Flipkart rejigs consumer durables category

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018


Brings back refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens and water purifiers

Almost a year after discontinuing sales of large consumer durable items, online marketplace Flipkart has completely refurbished the segment by adding refrigerators, washing machines, water purifiers and microwave ovens recently.

The Bangalore-based e-tailer has re-entered televisions and air conditioners early this year.

Value-added services

The company has re-launched refrigerators and washing machines just a few days before its “Big Billion Day” sale that also talks about getting new products in exchange for old ones. Customers can get options such as cash-on-delivery, 30-day replacement policy and in-a-day delivery guarantee. The firm has also provided some value-added services such as product exchange, scheduled delivery and exhaustive buying guide for this category.

Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal-founded Flipkart had downed the shutters of large and bulky items due to reasons such as high shipping costs, high returns, low margins, breakage, after-sales service facilities, and issues related to storage and supply chain.

The company had then said that these were purely business decisions and given that Flipkart is scaling up rapidly, decisions change depending on circumstances and are not necessarily permanent.

Stiff competition

Meanwhile, e-commerce experts are of the view that Flipkart’s decision to re-enter the category could be due to stiff competition from its rivals and Snapdeal.

Amazon sells TVs and washing machines along with a few refrigerators but does not stock air conditioners. Meanwhile, Delhi-based has recently tied up with the country’s largest electronics and consumer durable chain Croma to sell the later’s products on its website. That apart, Snapdeal sells products of several other sellers and has one of the biggest assortments in this category.

That apart, industry experts feel that Flipkart operated in the inventory-led model until last year and hence it had to bear the cost of stocking these large high value white goods and electronics.

However, now that it has transformed itself into a marketplace, a model where it does not require holding any inventory, it can sell these items through third-party vendors.

Arvind Singhal, Chairman of retail consultancy firm Technopak Advisory, said: “Large appliances are a huge market in the country. They generate large volumes (sales) and hence no retailer or e-tailer can escape stocking these products.”

Published on October 06, 2014

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