“We had set an audacious target of 100 million users to be on the platform by the end of the year and we are well on course to achieve that,” Prakash Sikaria, Flipkart’s senior vice president (growth and monetisation), told ET.
Sikaria is leading some of the new initiates at the Walmart-backed company. He led the acquisition of used smartphone seller Yaantra and Cleartrip. He is also in charge of leading Flipkart’s monetisation efforts, which includes the advertisement business.
When asked about reports of his exit from the company, Sikaria said: “As far as I know I am here.”
Shopsy, which is involved in a heated competition with Meesho on a zero-commission model and is targeted at value-conscious customers, started off by having all of Flipkart’s sellers on it last year. But Sikaria said Shopsy’s rise had not resulted in the cannibalisation of Flipkart’s business in any manner, as 70% of Shopsy’s sales came from its unique sellers.
Discover the stories of your interest
“We had this advantage to start this platform with all the Flipkart selection, but we very well knew that this selection is not going to work just for completion’s sake. So, what we have done is over time, build relevant selection,” he said.
Flipkart chief executive
Kalyan Krishnamurthy in an interview in January told ET that scaling the grocery and Shopsy would be the priority for the company this year. He said at the time that there was “no such thing as social commerce” and that he saw Shopsy as an extension of commerce for a different set of users.
The seller base on Shopsy has remained at around 250,000 since December last year but over the last six months, it has recorded a 2.7-time increase in the units sold and a fourfold jump in the monthly new customer base.
Even though the reseller model, which Meesho popularised in the market, was at the core of Shopsy’s offering when it launched, Sikaria said two-thirds of Shopsy’s business came from direct sales to the end customer.
He did not disclose the total gross merchandise value that Shopsy is generating.
After the entry of Flipkart into zero-commision social commerce business, Amazon India in April bought Bengaluru-based Glowroad, which is into a similar business, in an all-cash deal.
Everything around commerce
Sikaria also heads engagement and loyalty for Flipkart and he said video commerce had emerged as an important way for the company to drive engagement and sales. In 2019, the company launched an over-the-top content platform similar to Amazon’s Prime Video, called Flipkart Video, but shut down the service and shifted to live and video commerce this year.
“We realised that there is a similar kind of engagement with video commerce,” he said. “Now we are doing a lot of live content, but in the context of commerce. So, what we are now thinking is everything that we do in Flipkart will be in the context of commerce. If you see in India, specifically, this entire notion of super app has not worked.”
Tata Group launched its super app called Tata Neu, which brings together many of Tata’s businesses across fashion, grocery and travel under one app.
ET reported on June 7 that the group failed to achieve its sales target in its first month and has only been able to achieve 11 million downloads despite heavy marketing throughout the IPL season.
“We want to be very aggressive in gaming and we want to be very aggressive in video, but always in context of commerce,” said Sikaria. “I will say that the ingredients that went into feeding a video commerce, my engagement is more than what I was doing with OTT and I think that is when you realise that you have found out your product-market fit.”