Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dear Dear Dear Flipkart!

Dear Dear Dear Flipkart!!!
Why did you do this?
You might now be thinking what did you do?

Let me tell you, I am an avid shopper (yeah, you might have seen or read avid reader, but avid shopper, really?) Well, that's for me, and a million other Indians who find Flipkart much closer to their heighbourhood grocery store, had you been selling us groceries as well, you would have been something bigger than what you are today, and the grocers in this country would have all stood up against you. This, by all means is appreciation for the great work you do. By, pricing most of the products you sell on your platform, at competitive rates when compared to other online stores, by ensuring a hassle free shopping experience to the shoppers, and by ensuring before-the-time delivery, and your great customer support (I have an apprehension with that, as one of my customer support instance didn't go that well.)

As netizens, we still remember some of the most famous hacks, that too involving Multi Billion Dollar companies, that compromised customer data, credit card details and other sensitive information. These are just a few examples: Sony Hacking, another one entrusted on the task to secure the internet - Verisign, and then there have been numerous instances of financial frauds.

Not to mention the numerous scam mails reaching our mailboxes everyday offering us hundreds of thousands of dollars and pounds just for sending them our contact details.

Now, why am I writing this? Well, that is something I wanted to bring to your kind notice. First and foremost, I am one of your customers who used to shop over, one of your latest feather in the cap takeovers, then I have been shopping on as well, for well, around since 2010, as much as I recall. The first thing I recall you doing was to take over letsbuy and killing the brand. Though, I have nothing against that takeover, as I have had a bitter experience with them in my first ever purchase. By the time I could settle down with the awesome service your in-house seller WSRetail provided, you guys changed over to multi-seller marketplace model. Much to try to imitate eBay. Again, I, as a customer, worried about the expected deficiency in service and products I would receive from Flipkart, more than anything else. As a result of some experiences I have seen with friends, acquaintances and colleagues, I decided to stick up with WSR, as much as possible, and still prefer going over to check out your rival marketplaces eBay and Amazon, when I have to buy from a seller other than WSR. The reason, in case of a third party seller, the chances of ending up with duplicates increases by x-times. And in the wake of controversies we have had in last year or so, where major consumer electronics brands stood up to put down any After Sales Service request if one purchased from one of the online stores like yours, and even Amazon, the danger increased many times. Still, I have no complaints, as I never faced issues with any of the transactions I've had with you people, and if it ever needed me to reach out to you, the issue was resolved promptly, barring a single instance.

Now, your decision to turn into an app only platform is something out of my understanding, partially so because I don't have much of business sense. But from the perspective of a regular internet shopper, and a common man, I see this as you have closed one of the doors to force people come in your home from just one door, and that, is something I am baffled at. Instead of making your platform available seamlessly on as many platforms as possible, you just killed the very platform that gave you identity. It's a PITA (I won't be expanding that) browsing on a 4-5 inch screen of a smartphone, in comparision to a 14 inch screen of a laptop. It definitely is! So, I left Myntra there itself. No more shopping over, since it doesn't exist anymore.

I have heard that you guys too will take that route, 2016 onwards? If that is true, I will have no option but to look for alternatives. Believe me as I say, I have installed your app (flipkart app) around 2 months back, and haven't found it to be suitable enough to shop over it. You might ask why? Well, because, the browser on my computer allows me to open multiple tabs compare items side by side, read all specifications, compare the items with rival sites and then make an INFORMED DECISION! And your app doesn't let that happen. For us, it is either your way or we should go to hell. So, app's not cool for me. I am not that much of an App person, though, I like calling myself - a techie, who boasts of fair enough knowledge in the technology domain (hence this blog).

Then, while shopping on your site a few days back, I got a shock, a big one. You made it mandatory for customers to save details of their cards - CREDIT/DEBIT cards, if they use it to pay for their purchases. How much time, in your opinion does a customer take in entering the details of that credit/debit card on the payment gateway? Is that time worth more than the risk you are exposing us, the customers, to financial frauds? In the light of the various unknown people offering us millions of billions of dollars, just because our mail address ended up in their mailing list, or offering us unclaimed bank deposits of deceased people having an account in some bank in Burkina Faso, or some lottery for which we never bought a ticket, or the RBI sending us our share of the black money the government promised us to bring back and deposit in our accounts. It would have been still good had you provided that as an option which, if chosen by the customer saved the details of their cards for easier payments. HOWEVER IT IS OUTRAGEOUS THAT YOU ARE FORCING US TO SAVE CARDS FOR MAKING PAYMENTS. What if a customer wants to pay for his/her purchases using their card and at the same time does not want to store that information with anyone? Wouldn't that be a violation of their rights of privacy? HOW DO YOU GUARANTEE THE SAFETY OF THE INFORMATION YOU ARE FORCING US TO SAVE WITH YOU? Who would be heldresponsible in the event of another financial fraud?

I did save details of my cards, because I had to make purchases, and after making the purchases, removed the details as well. Is it enough that once we remove those details from our account, it will be deleted from all your databases? My technical mind says it is not enough. It makes me believe that actually you are not deleting the details of card I have once saved with you. Rather, it is being stored away in some other database, away from where the customer could see it. I do not want to be a victim to once such financial frauds if something like that finds you in the middle of the eye of the storm. I sincerely hope that someone, capable enough of taking important policy decisions, and understanding enough to understand a customer's apprehensions about his/her financial security stumbles upon this post, and we see something concrete coming out of these paragraphs.

With this, I think I should stop ranting now. It's more than enough of talking and trying to pass on an honest feedback of an honest customer!


  1. Nicely written. I too prefer to buy things from a computer. Don't know what made them take that decision with Myntra. BTY, your English is good. :-)

    1. What to do, when the leader chooses the wrong path, we can just repent. Nice to know that you found the language good enough. Thanks for visiting. :D