Flipkart, India’s largest E-commerce company eyes on rival company Amazon’s biggest strengths. The Bengaluru based online store is intent on making books one of its prime businesses, with its priority set in order to fight its rival Amazon. The books segment had taken a backseat in Flipkart’s business model over the last few years, but now, it wants to revive it again.
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Flipkart had actively tried to strengthen this segment, and all their efforts did pay off. The segment grew by 70 percent over the last six months. Flipkart first entered the online bookseller business at the same time as its arch-rival Amazon India, back in 2007.
The e-commerce major is building a new strategy to regain its readers’ market share that has been lost to Amazon. This segment is mainly dominated by the urban shoppers, which is perfect for Flipkart at this point when it is trying to win back its customers from Major Metro cities and even the tier-2 cities.
While Flipkart was battling Amazon in the market, the book category was knocked down a few rungs on the priority list. More importance was being given to the sale of smartphones, appliances, and fashion because books on an average have low selling prices and thin margins. The result is that Amazon currently has a 60 percent market share in the online book market, according to a report by the Times of India.
Flipkart’s senior director for general merchandise, Nishit Gard said: “Consumers buying books have a higher engagement rate and as a consequence, they tend to buy products in other categories as well. We have more than doubled the collection to 7 million from about 3 million books six months back.”
Flipkart is targeting an annual growth of 100 percent in the book business and plans to bring e-books back on its platform. Even there, Flipkart has Amazon to fight with, since the e-book market is a stronghold for the latter. Kindle is currently Amazon’s biggest strength in the book market, as readership is rapidly shifting from the traditional reading experience, to e-Books, as the latter is cheaper, easier to store and carry and their conditions do not worsen over time. Simultaneously, Amazon also has another trick up its sleeve.
The US-based giant is looking to expand its audio-books business soon. The current roster of Amazon India’s audiobooks is a little weak, especially compared to the US market or the European market. Recently, the company also announced the launch of Kindle Lite, a reading app for Android in India targeted at smartphone users working with limited phone storage, which would increase its popularity among the cheaper, lower-end spec smartphone users. Amazon India also allows access to Amazon Global store, wherein the customers can order and import multiple products of their choice, chief among which are Graphic novels and Mangas, which are usually not hugely popular but do have an extremely dedicated fan base. Flipkart’s current strategy, in which there are no apparent plans for e-Books or audiobooks, does need to adapt and improve in order for it to a viable threat.