New Delhi: Walmart-backed Flipkart is betting big on categories like grocery, furniture and its range of private labels to bring new customers onboard its platform as well as expand its share in the user’s wallet, according to CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
Speaking to PTI, Krishnamurthy said Flipkart will continue to invest in innovation for consumers and sellers in the coming year as it focusses on “impactful, inclusive growth” to get the next set of 200 million Indians shopping online.
“E-commerce continues to happen heavily in the more traditional categories like consumer electronics, fashion, appliances, home goods… we need to ensure that a lot more categories get into the fold of (online) shopping. That’s the reason we are solving for a lot more categories,” he said.
Krishnamurthy said segments like grocery, furniture and even refurbished goods will play an important role in attracting more customers to its platform — with many of them shopping online for the first time.
“Today, barely 20-25 per cent of customer’s wallet is served by e-commerce categories but if you solve for these new categories, suddenly that goes to 70-75 per cent of the wallet served,” he explained.
Flipkart — which competes head-on with American rival, Amazon in the Indian market — clinched the biggest retail deal in the country this year with Walmart picking up 77 per cent stake for USD 16 billion.
“We are investing heavily across the customers’ journey — right from getting them to the platform, to their browsing and shopping experience to the delivery and post purchase experience of installation. E-commerce is still at a growing stage…experience plays a crucial role in driving repeat purchases,” he explained.
He added that by providing quality, affordable goods on its platform, Flipkart is well-poised to bring the next 200 million customers into the e-commerce fold.
Asked about adding languages to its platform, Krishnamurthy said this would be done but the development would take some time.
“There is a difference between launching a product and solving for a construct. What players in the market do is launch their products and then try and understand and optimise. We will eventually offer multiple languages to the Indian customer but there is no timeline because we want to ensure that we offer the right thing to the customer,” he added.
The company, which has seen many senior-level exits this year – the latest being co-founder Binny Bansal, remains unperturbed and believes that 2019 will be a “watershed year” for Flipkart Group.
“We are the leaders by a far distance in key e-commerce categories like mobile, fashion, large appliances, as established repeatedly by independent market observers.
In the coming year, we will continue to lead in these areas,” Krishnamurthy said.
Cabinet clears setting up of centralised GST appellate authority
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of a centralised Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) under the goods and services tax that would decide on cases where there are divergent orders at the state level.
The setting up of a centralised AAAR would require amendments to the GST Acts. The centralised authority as an appellate body will only take up cases wherein the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) of two states have passed divergent orders.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and comprising state counterparts, in December decided to establish the centralised AAAR.
“The Cabinet has cleared the GST appellate authority,” a source said after the meeting of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In view of the confusion created by contradictory rulings given by different AARs on the same or similar issues, the industry had been demanding a centralised appellate authority that could reconcile the contradictory verdicts of different AARs.
Urbanisation to be big driver of Indian economic growth: Kant
Davos: Urbanisation will be a big driver of economic growth in India going forward, supported by favourable macroeconomic factors, accelerated infrastructure building and continuing reforms, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.
Speaking here at an event on sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, he also said the Indian economy may even exceed the IMF growth forecast of 7.5 per cent for the country.
Kant said IMF has forecast 7.5 per cent growth for India despite a gloomy outlook for the global economy and this itself is good, though there are expectations that this estimate would be surpassed. He said India is giving a big push to urbanisation with more than 100 smart cities being developed.
The country is also using technology in a big way to change the way business and governance is done, he added. Besides a massive infrastructure building is happening, bank credit flow has rebounded and macroeconomic factors like inflation and fiscal deficit are also being supportive, Kant said.
DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek noted that states are competing with each other to attract investments and all political parties have adopted the economic reform process. He listed various reform initiatives undertaken in India, including on areas like ease of doing business, FDI, manufacturing and taxation.
They were speaking at Institutional investors’ breakfast roundtable, organised by the industry chamber CII and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Other participants included CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee and leaders from Indian and foreign companies.
On questions about some persisting issues in doing business including on tax and insolvency related issues, Abhishek said a lot of efforts have been put in to remove all bottlenecks and starting a business doesn’t take more than a day. Besides, special provisions have been made for startups and angel investors, he added.
Kant said efforts are also being made to remove all physical intervention and digitise the entire process of inter-ministerial and inter-department consultations to fast-track the decisions.
India will surpass China, says Raghuram Rajan
Davos: India will eventually surpass China in economic size and will be in a better position to create the infrastructure being promised by the Chinese side in South Asian countries, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said.
Addressing a session on Strategic Outlook for South Asia, Dr Rajan said that the Indian economy would continue to grow while growth rate is slowing down in China.
“Historically, India had a bigger role in the region but China has now grown much bigger than India and has presented itself as a counter-balance to India in the region,” Dr Rajan said at the WEF Annual Meeting 2019.
“India will become bigger than China eventually as China would slow down and India would continue to grow. So India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region which China is promising today. But this competition is good for the region and it will benefit for sure,” he said.
The comments assume significance with China working on a lot of infrastructure projects across the region. In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a GDP of $2.59 trillion while China was the second large with a GDP of $12.23 trillion.
At the same session, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli cited collaboration with China as well as India as reasons for the economic growth.