Online retail giant, Flipkart is planning to marry its online business with the offline sales market. In a move to expand operations, Flipkart is working towards opening what they call an "Assisted E-Commerce Model." Under this model, the company will provide customers an experience zone, where they will be able to get a feel of the smartphone of their choice. Customers will then be helped to purchase the devices from the Flipkart app and can either take deliveries at home or from the same store.
Flipkart already has 30 experience zones across 19 cities in the country but they haven't really advertised them much. These zones are set up inside Spice HotSpot outlets and the inventory of devices available is minimal. With the new, exclusive experience centers, Flipkart aims at cashing in on the ballooning demand for smartphones in India.
While Flipkart plans to open these e-commerce experience outlets in major cities, it sees more potential in Tier-3 and Tier-4 markets as the aim of these stores is to make people more tech savvy. Currently, the company is only planning to stock mobile phones at these stores as the category is extremely popular on the website and the app.
Recently, Flipkart held its Big Billion Days Sale over a period of five days and sold mobiles worth $200 Million. The company also ties up with certain brands like Asus, Motorola, Lenovo and Huawei for exclusive sale partnerships and an offline sales model will make these devices available for demos before purchase.
India has not yet seen such a marriage of online and offline sales become successful. Companies such as Reliance Digital also have an online and offline presence but their brick-and-mortar stores don't see much footfall. What's left to see is if Flipkart can flip this situation around and bank on its huge popularity to turn this into a lucrative business model.