Flipkart CEO responds to our cover story

Forbes India editor responds to Flipkart CEOs mail raising concerns over our cover story on their company

Indrajit Gupta
By Indrajit Gupta
Published: 25, Jun 2012

Sachin Bansal, the CEO of Flipkart, wrote to me over the weekend reacting to our cover story on the company. What he wrote to me is re-produced below ad verbatim. My response follows after his note.

Dear Indrajit,

The timing of the mail may be awkward, given that we're on that unfortunate cover story of Forbes this week, but could I please take a few minutes of your time in sharing my views on the story?

In the context of this letter, I'd not like to offer views on Rohin's assumptions on our business model, our core value of customer obsession or funding - as a seasoned journalist, he has every right to question and offer his opinions on those factors. Instead, let me focus only on one part of the story that I personally found disconcerting - our culture.

When we agreed to speak to Rohin for this story, we had a very different picture of what it was possibly about. Rohin has spoken to 6 people within Flipkart and has also met Binny, Karan and Ravi for a second time.

Some of the more contentious parts of the story refer to some sort of a power struggle within Flipkart. I'm surprised that our views on the company's work culture were not included when alleging that something is wrong with it. Considering the story talks about 'banding together as a secretive bunch', as alleged by an ex-employee (who incidentally may have a vested interest given his association with another e-commerce firm, a fact ignored in the Forbes story), I'm saddened that our views on the work culture, across Rohin's meetings with our people have not been given any weightage at all.

For instance, my colleague, Mekin Maheswari, spoke about the very high sense of ownership and gave practical examples like our warehouse software being built by engineers who then go to the warehouse and try it out to see if it affects the shipping process. Or the other example where he talks about us hiring generalists who look at our processes from end-to-end before it goes to specialists for fine tuning.

When Rohin spoke with Sameer, our digital head, he spoke about Flipkart being a bold place to work, with everyone liking a good challenge at work. He also referred to the deep-rooted integrity across levels, at Flipkart, as one of the things that impressed him with our work culture. Not just that... the ability to make decisions and delegating decision-making are an interactive process, and not top-down, is something Sameer also shared with Rohin.

I am left wondering why these long interviews with our people talking about work culture wouldn't be appropriate in the story. Right now, it somehow seems to give inordinate weightage to outsiders' views on the same. Is it Forbes and Rohin's assumption that anything positive uttered by current employees can be completely discounted? In fact, the entire story does not quote a single employee when it comes to work culture. Isn't it a tad unfair? I can fully understand that work culture is a nebulous term and every person will have a different view on it, depending on who you ask. But wouldn't it be reasonable for me to assume that when an esteemed publication like Forbes is making allegations of an unfavorable work culture at Flipkart, it also quotes perspectives from current employees?

In a similar vein, Rohin could have simply asked us for details on the number of people from IITs, IIT Delhi or IIT Delhi's Jwalamukhi hostel vis-a-vis people who are outside this so-called circle. I can list at least 6 people (off my head, there are more, I'm sure) in the management team who are not from IIT Delhi or Jwalamukhi hostel. Wouldn't it be fair to include such a list and let readers compare if there was favoritism to IIT Delhi?

Beyond culture, the only other concern I'd like to point to is the seemingly feeble attempt at disclosing the Homeshop18 connection. It is added as a disclosure while talking about competition - and that indeed seems fair. But given the magnitude of the allegation (a cover story, with an apocalyptic headline, no less!), wouldn't a more prominent disclosure be appropriate to let people make their own judgements?

Finally, I'd also like to highlight something rather simple and inconsequential. Your last cover story on Future Group got promoted on Twitter 4 times. The one prior to that - on BRIC countries - got 3 tweets as promotion. The Flipkart story, in less than 24 hours, has got 8 tweets from the Forbes India Twitter handle. I do understand that Forbes has a print issue to sell and that a Flipkart cover is good fodder for sales, but considering the story will go online next Friday, do we expect further unusually high level of Twitter push on the same? Could I please request that the moderation in promotion displayed by Forbes India on its other cover stories be applied to us too?

If you find it appropriate, could I please request you to carry this response of mine in the Forbes blog? We agreed to speak to Rohin based on a specific angle that was communicated to us. Considering that the actual story is a lot different, the least we could request is this response from us be carried in a Forbes India-owned platform - print and online, or at least online, since print editions tend to have much shorter life spans in these days of digital domination.

Best regards,

Sachin Bansal CEO - Flipkart.com

My Response to Sachin Bansal:

Dear Sachin,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate the fact that you've reached out to share your candid views on our cover story about Flipkart.

First of all, let me share some important background and context to put things into perspective. Before any feature story is published in Forbes India, we speak to many people, both inside and outside the company, before coming to any conclusion.

At times, the initial hypothesis we start with changes as the reporting gathers momentum. If something controversial comes up, as a matter of policy, we flag the people off who are part of the feature. This protocol was adhered to by Rohin and he got in touch with you, Karthik (Sreenivasan, your head of corporate communications), and your senior team.

As you've acknowledged in your email, Rohin spent several hours with your senior team. In the first session with you, your co-founder Binny (Bansal) and the CFO Karandeep (Singh), he raised all the key issues with you. But you chose not to give clear, direct answers. Soon after the meeting, Rohin communicated his concerns to Karthik. On his part, Karthik agreed with Rohin's concerns and added that Karandeep too felt the meeting was very formal and defensive.

On his part, Rohin could have chosen to go ahead and write the story based on this meeting. Instead, because his concerns were serious ones, he took the initiative, asked for another meeting and raised the issues once again. But this time too, you ignored or provided vague answers to pointed questions around culture, investor conflicts, cost pressures or the reasons behind the series of senior exits in 2010. This, in spite of putting all of what he had gathered from his conversations with various people on the table. Although the meeting was cordial and friendly, fact is, most of his questions were not answered clearly or sincerely. He gave that feedback directly to Binny, Karandeep and Ravi both during the meeting, and subsequently to Karthik over the phone.

I think it is, therefore, unfair to suggest he did not put enough effort to understand your team's perspective.

Now, around the specific arguments in our story. One of the key arguments he made was that decision-making at Flipkart is centralised and vests with a core group of people, all of whom share similar backgrounds that date back to their IIT-D days. This is also linked to the exodus of the first batch of senior professionals in the story.

This view wasn't based on a conversation with "one key employee" as you seem to suggest in your email. There were others, who chose to speak off-the-record.

Then there is Tapan Kumar Das, the ex-employee you refer to. His primary business Qua Nutrition (of which he is CEO), does not compete directly with Flipkart. His being involved with other websites that very few have heard of is, frankly, something I thought would be insignificant to Flipkart given Binny’s comment to Rohin during an interview saying “we don’t look at competition now, and our only growth hypothesis is to get more customers to shop with us”. I understand Das’ perspective isn't exactly flattering, given that he was the first to raise legitimate doubts about the veracity of Flipkart's financial statements (which you haven’t refuted). And there is no material evidence to question his integrity.

One of the points that came through repeatedly in Rohin’s conversations was that these professionals found it extremely hard to break into the inner circle.

As anyone who has covered start ups and organisations for many years would know, there are many factors that influence work culture. In Flipkart's case, we found the dominant one was shaped, to a large extent, by the initial set of people, many of whom come from the same academic background. I understand it may be difficult for either you or your colleagues to accept allegations of a ‘ghetto’ culture. But when people who chose to leave Flipkart brought it up independently during our conversations with them, we thought its difficult to ignore their version. To my mind, there is an element of some reality in there.

I'm afraid you've read too much into the social media activity around our cover story. There's nothing unusual about the number of tweets. The only new feature we've introduced from this edition--a video blog--will now be a regular addition to our bouquet of digital activities. Incidentally, the first video that highlights key stories in any particular issue was aired on our website was the one that featured the Future Group. My colleague Dinesh Krishnan posted a blog as well on what went behind-the-scenes to conceptualise and design the cover image on Flipkart. This is something we've done in the past as well.

Readers familiar with our body of work since we launched three years ago know we follow a policy of making clear disclosures in our stories. Which is why, Rohin highlighted Forbes India's connection to Homeshop18. I understand you think the disclosure ought to have been highlighted more prominently. But what we have done is in line with our policy. And please understand, we believe our readers are intelligent to draw their own conclusions from the vast body of research presented in the story.

Finally, we will most certainly carry your letter prominently on our site, blogs and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where we are very active, with my response appended.

Thank you once again for writing to us. I wish you and your team all the very best!

Regards,

Indrajit Gupta

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  • Ashish

    I love FlipKart. It's a fact that they have proven that one can provide world class service in India despite of the challenges of poor infrastructure and no customer friendly culture whatsoever in our society itself. I have bought stuff like books to electronics several times (at least 8 times) from these guys and praised their service openly on my blog. I am not saying that Forbes is doing something wrong by publishing article about intricacies of flipkart's business. It's good to know. I just wish that flipkart grows and fix their business model if it has any serious issues as mentioned in the article.

    on Sep 11, 2012
  • Sambodh Kaul

    Mr Sachin Bansal should teach his Customer Care Department some "Acknowledgement Etiquettes". I was their regular customer with an extensive Order History but they lost me on account of their Lousy Customer Assistance. His staff is not even aware of the precise difference between "Account De-Activation" and "Account Deletion". Sambodh Freelance Journalist

    on Sep 8, 2012
  • prajeesh

    dear fobes, i think your review was a little over the edge. you think what ever bull the american business culture brings with it is correct and what all others think is wrong. Do take time to appreciate the work they have done in an environment which 10 times as competitive as any europian or american market. flipkart well done guys , your work is excellent.

    on Sep 3, 2012
  • Andy

    Guys - FlipKart is an online portal - not a religion. I see no reason to get so passionately involved in disecting their inner functioning. You like the product and their pricing - buy from them. If you dont - go else where! Gawd, what a load of passion for something that is obviously a pissing match between FK and Forbes.

    on Aug 27, 2012
  • S Anantharaman

    Twenty-five years ago, I was interviewing an IIM alumnus, who having graduated through TAS, was one of the youngest directors in the Tata group. "So what's all this hullabaloo about fours and fives," he mused, "we even invoke our female kin in the board rooms." He was referring to an article about a close-knit Indian conglomerate run by four brothers. Forbes International had ripped the group apart, and one of the memorable quotes was “Four letter words are fluently used in their board meetings." To my memory, the group did not even take cognizance of the article and three decades later, continue to prosper under the same ‘culture.’ My advice to Sachin Bansal would be, if you have once erred by talking to the media, don’t compound it by writing to them. Concentrate on your figures, for that’s what matters. Not what the Exes, Whyes and Zees have to say.

    on Aug 25, 2012
  • Murli Kashyap

    Flipkart has been excellent experience as a buyer. I have bought two laptops and whole lot electronic gadgets and their prices and services has been excellent. You order today and the stuff is at your residence on the following day.The forbes report is one sided and does not give a true picturs about the company.

    on Aug 25, 2012
  • Siddharth

    The Forbes story has hurt the overall e-commerce industry by just focusing on maybe 5-10% negative which exist as part of all industries and completely overshadowing all the good which these companies have done. In terms of business journalism its important to take all stakeholders into consideration, consumers, VC's + also important to do analysis of trends from developed markets on how these models matured over time and kind of cycle which is seen in the industry. In terms of company structure and control centers, Traditional large enterprises like Reliance,Birla, TATA all have got formed in similar fashion driven by team of trusted core individuals who share same passion to build large business and there always have been people who would oppose the style. One feel its important to do cover reply story which takes response from larger business industry into consideration and let the verdict be out.

    on Aug 24, 2012
  • Sid

    Absolutely, I see a massive conflict of interest - CFA Ethics/ Financial ethics indicates that if you own a firm and you're commenting on a rival negatively/ positively, nobody considers your recommendation more than dirt! ... I'm surprised Forbes, of all people, is doing this. I had respect for Forbes but now, I feel let down big time! Hatsoff, Sid.

    on Aug 7, 2012
  • Augustine

    I am wondering if we consider the response of Mr Sachin Bansal on the Forbes article, there was a story in The Times of India about sinking Flipkart, having funds that can help it sail thru just for 6-9 months, and the investors turned their backs on it. With that can we not consider the Forbes cover story had some reality at least the title "what's wrong with Flipkart?" Can any one from Flipkart comment on it?

    on Aug 4, 2012
  • ajit agrawal

    I am sure flipkart is not going to last much. Its pricing is very deceptive. Many titles available at SPECIAL INDIAN PRICES by importers are being mktd by Flipkart on the original UK/US prices which are more than 2/3 times than those fixed for INDIA by the publisher. The bubble has to bust.

    on Aug 3, 2012
  • Rahul K.

    After going through some of the comments above, seems like many are either working for Flipkart or are ex employees.

    on Jul 25, 2012
  • Whizkid_no1

    I have been commenting on blogs and articles earlier on this site. I do find the article on Flipkart seems to have been written with a different motive-not subjective or analytical but more of a personal bias. Maybe the homeshop18 connection. For all their flaws, Flipkarts success has inspired a whole generation of online startups. Anyone with a bit of common sense will agree that any first generation business and especially in online space will have such issues till the business matures.

    on Jul 25, 2012
  • Abhishek

    Flipkart is getting worse day by day.

    on Jul 21, 2012
  • Abhishek

    I already knew of this when Flipkart came to recruit in my college. Hence, I gave this company a skip and opted for the better, Samsung India Software Operations, and now, I think, I really made a wise decision

    on Jul 21, 2012
  • Rajesh Grover

    Putting anything negative about a company who is still evolving and in a continuous phase of improvements is not only childish but shows immaturity of the forbes articles. Flipkart showcased India that dreams are possible and that too not only in the Silicon Valley but on the home ground also. The challenges that any company in India face won't be similar to some other countries. Flipkart is becoming a global brand with a local flavor.There are certain challenges with every company and FK is no different.

    on Jul 19, 2012
  • Colonel Arvind Gangoly

    I have studied the business model of Flipkart and find it quite enlightening and workable. Infact it seems an Amazon in a new Avataar. Incase they rein in their Supply Chain , it could turnout to be a winner Having said that , I feel the article has been too harsh on their work culture. There is no harm in attracting technocrats and like minded people as a team in the infancy stage of business when the team needs to bond like a team, lest things deteriorate. It is a journey, people will come and go as per their perceptions and Flipkart will have to endure that

    on Jul 19, 2012
  • Kishore Kumar

    Forbes indulging is scurrilous, yellow journalism! Yuck. Most things that Forbes India finds "wrong" with Flipkart and the kind of things startups go through: close knit friends starting a firm, struggling to raise funds, finding it hard to bring in professional managers. In addition Forbes India has thrown in the staple of any retail firm - low margins, the struggles of category management and inventory management - to paint a bleak picture. The think which Flipkart has done right - great customer experience from catalog browsing through order placement all the way through to delivery - are completely ignored by Forbes. I am a Flipkart customer since 2009 and I love their service - web site, product selection, pricing, delivery everything. Shitty journalism from Forbes India.

    on Jul 18, 2012
  • Kumar

    Very Well done Forbes.........You did write a good story on IITan,I really shocked to see that most of the Iitan are in higher position in FK,Can't they hire someone who is experienced to run the things smoothly.If they wont get rid of their habits soon.Company is going no where.......As i know company was purchasing a product on 100/-rs from vendor and selling the same thing to consumer of 95/- rs to make the customer data base now they are thinking about the good profit,It will definitely be a very tough task for the them to survive on the same because consumers are far clever than the investors. In India things usually happens Unusual,In other countries IITans are inventing something new for the country but in our country,Some are writing books,some are poets,Some are doing online business. forbes do something for authors also that they should stop writing craps and invent something new for our country to develop the things... A very Big Thanks to forbes and Well job by Rohin and Mr.Indarjit.

    on Jul 18, 2012
  • Azam

    Flipkart ceated the e-commerce wave.Like all companies starting they might be having a share of trouble.As troubles can exist with the best corporates. But a magazine of forbes stature to do a story irresponsibly, downing the new found digital way of business is nothing short of abusing the licence to print. Or may be they could not find anything more interesting than cooking flipkart. Forbes please be sensitive to people who try to bring new ways/models of business.

    on Jul 17, 2012
  • Munish Shanbhag

    Hey, this is one satisfied customer of Flipkart writing in. All said and done, what counts at the EOD in the service industry is customer satisfaction. And sure enough, Flipkart has more than once delivered their promises. So while the Forbes and team can go on writing wonderful stories, I would like to be on the Flipkart side in any argument. Mr. Bansal, aage badho, hum aapke saath hai. Rgds.

    on Jul 15, 2012
  • A. Saxena

    I am surprised here that people from a respectable magazine like Forbes are giving so many column inches to the utter non-issue about people from the same IIT or Hostel being in a close-knit group. Well, these guys lived and studied together for several years, so you do expect them to be closer to each other, wouldn't you? I mean Messrs Page and Brin do the same too! To run any business, the managers do need to understand each other well, and these people - having been friends for years - know the good and bad qualities of each other very well. So whats the big deal if they stick together. Others find it harder to break into the group, not because these people deliberately push them away, but because a new person would naturally need more time to gel that well with anyone (or perhaps because the new person isn't competent enough). Having read the article, the CEO's protest, and Indrajit's response to it - I agree that the Homeshop18 disclosure was indeed made in the article. However, I support Sachin's stance that the disclosure was rather feeble (notwithstanding its being in line with Forbes India's 'policy'). Finally, the article reeks of an attempt to increase the magazine's popularity (and hey! It has achieved that!) by creating a sensationalist news article about what is largely irrelevant. If Flipkart has accounting problems, its investors, seasoned VC and PE houses, are presumably literate enough to see them. Qualified audit reports are the norm, not the exception, for recent startups. As a respected publication, Forbes should certainly be bringing the problem areas in any company to their readers' attention, and indeed that is what they usually do. However, this specific article seems to base itself on rather thin or erroneous evidence. P.S. I have no links to either Flipkart or any other firm referenced in this article. I just happen to be a random reader who found it an amusing read, but got a bit bugged by the poor evidence presented.

    on Jul 14, 2012
  • mAX

    It's nice to see that flipkart.com has generated enough "me" votes to balance the negativeness that this article highlights. I think that this article is important. Why? Because it gets people to see the underbelly. And every company has one. I have friends in Google who are not happy with their jobs. I know people in Apple who hate working there. Everything has to have a flip side. Now, why is this story important? Simply because flipkart is now not a small garage operation. It has come to represent Indian ecommerce. If tomorrow - flipkart.com fails, it will send shockwaves across the ecommerce and VC community. That will affect everyone - employees, customers, stakeholders - everyone! I love flipkart. I know that they are selling huge numbers now. But I also know that a company survives on bottomlines - not toplines. If IIT'ians are a fit for the company - so be it. It doesnt matter - and it is quite surprising to see why it should be a big deal. Do we question investment banks why they prefer grads only from the top b-schools? That's a part of the company culture built by the CEO's and founders. It's okay as long as it works. But - if flipkart.com needs to reach $2 billion in sales just to break even, i'm a worried customer. Worried, because I am not sure that this "really nice company" won't make it very far. How about letting the techies take a backseat and having someone from "business" run the show? How about a couple of brilliant minds from IIM's coach the company and show it to profitability? Not suggesting any institute here, but when you're an entrepreneur - the company should be paramount. Bigger than your ego, and bigger than the relationships with your college mates. Because, customers blindly put their trust in you. A company is a free running enterprise. Do NOT try to own it, Sachin and Binny. You are just shareholders. Do NOT force a culture into it. Let it shape it's own. I'm no journalist or ecommerce expert, but I know a little about business. I run a fairly successful company myself. Don't let your ego get the better of you. Cheers, and good luck to flipkart. PS: For all those who are not happy with a clearly visible disclosure from Forbes on their relationship with Homeshop 18 - what would you have the publication do? Write this in their headline. As long as they had written it - and you could read it, it is all good. Stop being cry babies.

    on Jul 12, 2012
  • Nirman

    From the comments I found a couple of great sites for e-shopping. This is what going to kill flipkart. They will perform bad, people will take the social media to talk about them, people will talk about alternative source and hence reducing flopkart's customer base. Good luck Mr. Sachin Bansal with these so called writing back to "open-letters" and articles giving justification and somewhere trying to take a jibe on the Forbes India. This won't help you improve your image. So stop giving excuses and provide what you promise OR else reduce your domain and serve where you are comfortable.

    on Jul 12, 2012
  • Nirman

    In the comments there is this "Anonymous" poster who is talking about 1 person leaving and 99 staying. Let me tell you the the 99 *you* are talking about are those who have been there with flipkart since long. But as flipkart is growing its base in every place of this country it is unable to bear the load and the pressure which results in customer dissatisfaction. When flipkart was small and was only delivering to a handful to cities it was ok. But the need of money and the desire to expand is slowly killing flipkart no matter what others claim. You can verify all this if you go to blogs where flipkart is discussed. And I can tell you out of every 100 comments 99 are *negative*! People are discussing how their product was damaged, how they had to spend extra for damaged products that was delivered and how flipkart's customer base abused the customers. This is also spreading to bigger cities as well. I wouldn't bash flipkart if they keep their promise even if they have to limit their domain and serve only a handful cities. But when you LIE TO THE CUSTOMER and treat them wrong then things are not going right for you either. This is India and people will easily write off an *ONLINE COMPANY*. If flipkart continue to show such poor performance then their days are numbered.

    on Jul 12, 2012
  • Arjun V

    When I read the cover story although biased, it gave a perspective. I am a big fan of forbes. Heres my 2 cents ... I have used flipkart in the past and always preferred their delivery and their prices. At the same time, this was once upon a time. I get better deals through other online ecommerce platforms. Heres something to ponder. I always believe theres no such thing as a -ve PR plug. I substantiate that by simply asking any one of you to check the most popular posts in forbes (be that read, commented, emailed, etc.) All of them seem to be the Flipkart story. On the other end I read through the comments. I was surprised there were so many Flipkart loyalists. Not only do they swear by flipkart but also are ready to take on a war if required. :) In my opinion this has been a great PR plug for the mutual benefit of Flipkart and Forbes. Great Marketing link!

    on Jul 10, 2012
  • vrinda walavalkar

    I am surprised that Sachin Bansal has made so much effort to correct the work culture perception that may or may not have been created by Rohin Dharmakumar. As a reader i found the inordinate space spent on this issue considerably weakened the story and in my opinion the writer failed to establish the link between the closed non-transperant work culture and the company's financial performance or problems. Scores of professionals join India's most valued companies and leave as rapidly. I don't see India's leading publications examine why India's leading companies cannot retain professionals or on the decision making process in these companies. As a person who frequently uses Flipkart's services, I hope Mr. Bansal will take any valid critiscim the story contains to heart and fixes it. Regards

    on Jul 10, 2012
  • Mahadevan

    There are many people here who have assumed that just because Flipkart is India's most happening start-up success story the founders/top management have to be great guys. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Just like I am a big big Flipkart fan, but that doesn't necessarily make me a Bansal fan. Sometime back I placed an order on Flipkart thru my mobile that did not get fulfilled. Yea, Let me say this again, I placed an order and Flipkart did not even record it. I was a little miffed, that too only because I was used to Flipkart's ultra efficient ways. So, I posted this on a social networking site, when a friend connected me to Bansal. After a brief conversation on the social network, one of the founders of this "Hyper-customer-service" oriented company wrote me off with something like "You can't satisfy everyone, There enough people who are happy with us". I got pissed off with Bansal, but continue shopping with Flipkart as they are the best option for books today. Having said this, I still think that Forbes has done disservice to its readers by sensationalizing the story beyond necessary. As a respected biz mag we readers deserve more value than just item numbers like the Flipkart story.

    on Jul 9, 2012
  • Neelakanth Patil

    I love flipkart...Forbes please hire some good journalists who can interpret the facts correctly...Bansal's there may be some internal issues..But in the customer view you rock

    on Jul 9, 2012
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    [...] journal focused on the company’s woes – exacerbated in part by Sachin Bansal, CEO, Flipkart writing to the editor to explain his stance (and mild displeasure) and the editor replying to that. Washing dirty linen [...]

    on Jul 9, 2012
  • Jerome

    Writing an article like this may take a max. of 1 or 2 weeks only. And sharing it in the Social Media may takes a few second only. And it will helps to increase the readers and get more likes respectively. And also it will helps to loose the Brand name. But building a brand and creating a trusty Business is not that much easy and it will take more time and effort also!!!

    on Jul 9, 2012
  • Jerome

    The story may be true or false. But any way, before publishing these type of stories which will directly affect a brand, everyone should rethink atleast twice. "Making a brand may be some one's life time dream and achievement." And its not an easy thing too. So these type of articles are really like killing them.

    on Jul 9, 2012
  • Moon

    I personally had a very bad experience with Flipkart. For all those who support flipkart...kindly go thru the below mail sent by flipkart... ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: flipkart.com Date: Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 7:30 PM Subject: Regarding your order [OD20416120477] Dear Customer, Greetings from Flipkart.com! Order ID: OD20416120477 This email is in reference to your order for "Belkin N600 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+" We regret to inform you that there was an error in the price listed for the product on our website - Rs. 813/-. The actual price of this product is Rs. 4625/-. We have cancelled the order on your behalf and refunded the amount to your account. It will reflect in your bank account/credit card statement within 5-7 business days from the date of initiating the refund as per banking procedures. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Best Regards, Flipkart Team .......... Dear Order ID: OD20416120477 Item : "Belkin N600 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+" We understand your concern and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. The prices on our website are reviewed regularly to ensure we remain competitive. It also depends on the brands and the price at which these are supplied to us. So, there is a possibility of errors due to typographical or technical issues. We will do our best to remain accurate at all times. There was an error in the price listed for the above mentioned product on our website - Rs. 813/-. The actual price of this product is Rs. 4625/-. Hence, we cancelled the order and refunded the amount to your account. It will reflect in your bank account/credit card statement within 5-7 business days from the date of initiating the refund as per banking procedures. We completely agree that this hasn't been your best shopping experience. However, we will ensure such issues do not recur in your future orders. Help us improve our customer service by sharing your feedback here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Flipkart-customer-surveys?c=120417-003666-106 Please write back to us or call us on 1800 102 3547 should you have any other questions or need further assistance. Regards, Greeshma Flipkart Customer Support www.flipkart.com The Online Mega Store! Incident History Dear Flipkart Team, This is with reference with the below order. I ordered a wifi router today and paid the amount through net banking. However it seems that The amount you displayed was incorrect due to your technical inefficiency. I certainly don't find this professional. Flipkart is know for its trust and it's not customer's fault if something wrong has been displayed on the site. It is the responsibility of the organization to cross check every bit of info posted on the site. And if you commit something, you are expected to fulfill the same to your customers and not a regret mail of this kind to your customers. I am really unhappy with this kind of service. Request you to relook on the same and deliver as committed.

    on Jul 8, 2012
  • Venkat

    In the name of investigative journalism, this is looks more like a hit job. So what if there is an IITD coterie? I know many people who work in silicon valley who talk of the hold of stanford graduates. But this has benefited both Stanford and silicon valley. Totally lost respect for Forbes India and Rohin.

    on Jul 8, 2012
  • Bharat Kumar

    Flipkart isn't a public company, so in all fairness it could have asked the journalist to take a walk! The company has won the hearts of millions, even if it lost money and has set benchmarks which others ape. The fellows who lost the money aren't complaining:) It comes as no surprise that a media group, parts? of which is public money funded? and now sold off to a conglomerate ? , should try to run down a rare Indian innovation, probably because it refuses to bare itself or get consolidated! I would guess there are more things involved than meet the eye

    on Jul 6, 2012
  • Homepage

    ... [Trackback]... [...] There you will find 54599 more Infos: forbesindia.com/blog/editors-blog/flipkart-ceo-responds-to-our-cover-story/ [...]...

    on Jul 5, 2012
  • Shubhankar

    Flipkart For Customers: It has tremendous compassion, but now become lethargic.. the feeling is that "Customer to Ayega hi" Hallucinated by Satisfaction.. For Employees: The junior, mid level employees who do buttering they can survive easily there even though they don't perform well, and they are much satisfied there as compared to those who work with proper dedication... Some of the employees got promoted by undue influence; If you have a car your won, don't worry, you will easily survive, If you are IITian then you are the SHISHUPAL of Mahabharata, you are permitted to commit anything which is unusual, but unfortunately SRI KRISHNA is not there to take action more than 100th mistakes.. Company has the fancy trend to hire low-graded IITians every year, where there is no such type of work, where they have to perform on the basis of their academic background. But not all are same, most of them. Some of the employees work with full dedication, but he ensured will be given fair amount of appraisal at the certain span of time, while buttering is such a Bramhastra in Flipkart, an employee could avail it before even having less contribution and in much better amount than the employee worked with full dedication. And moreover when the employees' time to get promotion, they get new face from different field in the organisation to whom he/she has to report, who have very terrible knowledge about the product as well as the process. The significant thing is that now the employees associated with the Organisation started feeling they are new, and the new appointed fellows are overrated. Stop it Flipkart if you don't want to be a glimpse... Still I wanna say "I Love You Flipkart"

    on Jul 5, 2012
  • Abhay

    The article seemed like a motivated attempt to malign flipkart. Culture is nebulous term and there can be many interpretations of whether it is good or bad in a company. I would just say I have lost respect for Forbes after seeing this article.

    on Jul 5, 2012
  • shalini

    The reporter seemed to have a huge problem with Flipkart's customer-centric approach. Why is that an issue? It's so rare for a customer to be king in India. And if a group of hostel friends have got that right -- better than highly paid professionals -- good for them. Also, growing companies do face constraints while buying expensive software and professionals -- so it was a bit unfair to say Flipkart's taken too long to implement software, hire the right people. Sounds like Forbes is used to dealing with and reporting on large companies rather than start-ups and growing concerns like Flipkart.

    on Jul 4, 2012
  • Tanni Mandal

    I forgot my uneasiness while waiting outside of my doc's clinic. Why? Was reading the flipkart's story and what a revelation it is... I personally salute the 3 journalist to put a brave front and write abt the Flipkart so openly. Honestly, I am one of the million customers of Flipkart, and can vouch anytime for their apt services and products. But reading something like this actually shook me up. Yes this is the corporate reality and it happens almost everywhere. But how many of us can actually read such honest piece without having any PR interference?? I salute your team to carry such a courageous art of work. Love you Forbes !

    on Jul 3, 2012
  • Sriak

    Having worked with media for over decade and a half, I am with Forbes on this and Indrajit has made it clear how an article gets published after getting all facts. Anyways, FK is not what it used to be. Their prices will shock you especially for books. I used to be a FK guy when it comes to books purchases but have moved on. Do check out www.comma365.com and you will be amazed with its clean pages focussing just on books.

    on Jul 3, 2012
  • Umesh Dhingra

    I was indeed shocked when I got to see the cover story and baffled that the cover was of Forbes India ed. Having been a subscriber to Forbes India from first issue, this cover story did smell of some mis aligned objective! Before I go ahead, yes I am from IIT Delhi, Karakoram hostel and as per my standards a very high spender on flipkart. I have also worked in senior management position of a start up of a top 5 Indian company, and, had no issues either with the investors or customers as quite a few of us were from another top company of India. Eventually what matters is the customer response,returns to your investors and CERTAINLY not as to why or which college or institution your senior management team is from! Undoubtly when you look at FK purely from the Buisness practises that have evolved and continue to perfect, wonder why should any journalist paint a low dynamic range painting? These days the numerous ecommerce companies have emerged, I am sure few of them have taken the motivation from the success of FK and some of the earlier ecommerce companies have in fact tightened the delivery and pricing aspect, so as to not to miss the bus in the Indian eCommerce scenario. Yes, I am aware that few products available on FK are not always the lowest on price front, but, even when I shop on Amazon, I do compare with few other international web sites and accordingly do my buying, but then this process where in Amazon is not price competitive on some items, does not in any way, dent the number one position in ecommerce of Amazon.com Infact the cover story on Forbes India should have been on the success of Flipkart and the same would have been appreciated a lot. With best wishes to Flipkart team for continue to raise the bar on customer service.

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • Phani

    Who is finally getting best publicity through this blog? Forbes or Flipkart? Request Indrajit not to decide on making this cover story chargeable for online reading, and release the same sooner than the proposed 5th July 2012. So that we can make an independent opinion on the same after reading online. Having said this, like any new business, FK too has a long way to go in building a good business and also a great company it started create. It took Amazon many years to stabilize and also face the ire from likes of B&N, Walmart etc. before achieving real profits. Often times, in the urgency to please investors and their plans to exit faster good companies, loose focus of building a great culture that lasts. I hope & pray our desi version of Amazon does not fall in this category. Still waiting to read the story.

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • Sandeep Todi

    It's important to have this kind of story. While FK might be going good, the aam junta should not be led into blind belief that all is great. If anything, such stories makes everyone sit up and take notice. If nothing else, FK will emerge as a better and stronger company, unless they continue with denial mode. I had a not so good experience with FK, when I bought a mobile phone in Jan 2012 which was apparently withdrawn by Samsung and was only available on FK. I realized later that the phone was inherently defective and it's already been twice to Samsung for fixing. That was probably the reason that retail stocks were withdrawn but FK kept selling it, perhaps having got hold of stocks at deeply discounted prices from somewhere. To me, this looked intentional and expected their practices to be much more above board.

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • m

    This is kind of interesting... Both of them think that they are doing this in the interest of the image of their companies - Sachin for Flipkart and Indrajit for Forbes. If you read this carefully (the article in the magazine and the online coverage of comments etc), both of them have done their jobs and have done it well. But it should have stopped there instead of publishing each other's letters and comments! What Next? - Flipkart is going to spend time and money doing online reputation management and head of companies will think twice and meet their corpcom heads a zillion times, before talking to Forbes!

    on Jul 1, 2012
  • Ravish Gusain

    Many comments have been made to appreciate the service in past or may be present, which has already been commendable till date. But the article is about the internal employees and future of flipkart. I assume that happy employees are the base for a good future.

    on Jun 30, 2012
  • R.Vetrivel

    nice arguments

    on Jun 30, 2012
  • R.Vetrivel

    குறள் 448: இடிப்பாரை இல்லாத ஏமரா மன்னன் கெடுப்பா ரிலானுங் கெடும். கலைஞர் உரை: குறையை உணர்த்துவோர் இல்லாத அரசு தானாகவே கெடும். மு.வ உரை: கடிந்து அறிவுரைக் கூறும் பெரியாரின் துணை இல்லாதக் காவலற்ற அரசன், தன்னைக் கெடுக்ககும் பகைவர் எவரும் இல்லாவிட்டாலும் கெடுவான். சாலமன் பாப்பையா உரை: தீயன கண்டபோது கடிந்து சொல்லும் துறைப் பெரியவரைத் துணையாகக் கொள்ளாத பாதுகாப்பு அற்ற அரசு, அதைக் கெடுப்பார் இல்லாமலேயே தானாகவே கெடும். Translation: The king with none to censure him, bereft of safeguards all, Though none his ruin work, shall surely ruined fall. Explanation: The king, who is without the guard of men who can rebuke him, will perish, even though there be no one to destroy him.

    on Jun 30, 2012
  • Hemant Garg

    jab log tumhare khilaf bolne lage samj lo taraki kar rahe ho .

    on Jun 29, 2012
  • Hemant Garg

    ...log tumhare khilaf bolne lage samj lo taraki kar rahe ho. - Guru Bhai (Lead character in movie based on life of Dhiribhai Ambani.)

    on Jun 29, 2012
  • banita

    All i would say is, its human nature.. if you say 100 positive things about something and 10 negative things about something, people would remember those 10 negative things and talk about it. And what has happened is just the same.

    on Jun 29, 2012
  • Anonymous

    I interviewed with Flipkart. It left a bitter taste in my mouth. Having worked for another well established offline retailer in a fairly senior management role, I asked them questions on their business model, especially the cash on delivery. The responses were very defensive and I was encouraged to leave the questions on the biz model and asked something that concerned me in a rather abrupt manner. They were also quick to trash established business strategies of the offline retailing space, with an arrongance that left me totally confused. Needless to say my opinion of the inner workings of the company have been based on this. There is something inherently wrong. Having said that, as a consumer I have not faced any issues with them. But after that encounter I went into comparison mode with junglee and found much better deals.

    on Jun 29, 2012
  • Karma

    Am sure this comment of mine will not be put up..anyways..I think/seen often times I have noticed Forbes in India and its edit team suffers from superiority complex..the key qualification here is ' u have to be a wordsmith..first off, if ur parent TV 18 evangelizes so much on freedom et al at IBN but..why are u moderating the comments and that itself shows ur insular approach..u people need some serious ego fixing..

    on Jun 29, 2012
  • Sharadini

    If Flipcart is doing so well, why are they not Publishing their Last Two years Results ? Being a Pioneer does not mean , one can keep on hiding Info for long....

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • P M Deshpande

    It is a bit disconcerting to think that Forbes, instead of supporting a concern like Flipcart with its declared customer-centred approach, is actually finding flaws. Flipcart may well have the flaws you mention but if it is really as customer centred as it declares, then they are an exception to the existing Indian retail culture. And a positive exception too. Learn to give a little pat.

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • Stuck_in_Cubicle

    Forbes can put this edition on Flipkart for sale!

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • Benz Thomas

    I read the article and a few things struck me from Flipkart's end. After reading I found the article would never affect my buying habit from Flipkart since the reason is great price and great customer service. However, I don't get Sachin's letter. Flipkart did not give any justification about what the article states regarding 1) Business model (2) Letsbuy acquisition (3) High customer acquisition costs (4) buying and hoarding SKUs (5) Huge discounts. And guess what, these were the exact points that struck me when I went through the article. Sachin's letter fails to address any of these. The letter talks about everything else which I find strange since the article is around the success and survival of the company which would have been addressed one shot by making the business model clear.

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • Flipkart Forbes Story | Binfikr

    [...] Flipkart seems to be one of the big issues raised in the article, and refuted by Sachin Bansal here, and responded to by the editor of Forbes India.  And the main allegation is there is an IIT Delhi [...]

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • Girish Huria

    All I can say is that a journalists job is to produce a juicy story (can be insightful or scoop based) which Rohin has done wonderfully for its employer. Flipkart should have remembered that a corporates reputation is built by the faith of its stakeholders (in their case - investors, customers, employees and vendors), which if it didnt see it dwindling then why worry what's been written. Ofcourse it is important to respond to allegations or correct infactual data, but the way to do it has to be delicately managed.

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • 164. Decoding a letter to the Editor (the FF* controversy) « amithpr

    [...] one has. As I write this blog the letter along with the Editor’s reponse which is published online has been viewed over 38,000 times in less than 3 [...]

    on Jun 28, 2012
  • Jeremy

    Flipkart article is a complete hatchet job! Expect more from Forbes. No relation between the cover and the article. Never been disappointed by Flipkart. Will never pick up a Forbes again.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Aditya

    Flipkart's closest competitor is Home Shop 18 which is owned by Network 18 which also owns Forbes India. So forbes story on Flipkart has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Jaspreet

    Comeon guys, its a story and like each story there are 2 viewpoints - one who consider FK as poster boy of e-commerce in India and others who are waiting for its downfall. Not sure whose side I am and who would win.. Disclosure: I don't like FK since it's the reason I am jobless today. Was an employee of letsbuy before FK purchased one of the most expensive domains to shut it down 3 months later. Agreed I got a severance package BUT also a VERY raw deal from their HR and hence did not have a fair experience dealing with them. I could write a blog about it later.. Now what I like about FK is its single minded concentration on customer service. Very basic but no-one followed it till FK did it. CoD, 30 days no-questions replacement etc etc..Agreed today jabong, yebhi, myntra, HS18 are putting equal importance to the "poor" customer. Lets' see how FK differentiates it self. Another thing I like is that they would never offer you mindless discounts like 1000/- GC on registrations, 50% (or more) off coupons which are available on any coupon sites. These mindless discounts are driving customer acquisition but is also causing a lot of bleeding in e-coms. Guess what, I got a 1600/- odd Reebok Sandal from jabong for only 1100/-. Not sure what jabong earned from it. Finally, will I buy from FK ? Probably not because of my bad experience with them BUT then don't think there is anything wrong with them. Elders always say - When people start commenting about you, you should realize you have grown big.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • G nath

    After having discontinued my subscription to Forbes a couple of year back, the buzz on Flipkart made me read it. I was not at all amazed to see the shoddy article. It is close to being a gossipy piece. Talking to customers would have given a better perspective for the article. Being a part of a VC myself, I would always take feedback from ex-employees of a startup with a large pinch of salt - for obvious reasons. Most are marking time to get their spurs either within or outside. Further confirms my decision to discontinue my subscription.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Vimal

    Why to shower love/hate only on two players??? There are many out there. Why can't we try them all, compare prices and get great deals. In online shopping, consumers are the Kings in a real sense. Why to play it emotionally and loss this power? It doesn't cost anything to open ten browser tabs at a time, right? And we must always remember that MORE THEY ARE, BETTER FOR US. :)

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Amit

    Looks like Flipkart was betrayed.. Why would they allow an external guy to visit them and publish bad about them. People do that for good publicity not bad..Unless you are so desperate that you think any publicity is good and I am sure Flipkart is beyond that If FlipKart wouldn't have entertained Forbes Robin, they would have been a better state... The article would might have come based on prejudices, but wouldn't have made a cover story.. So I am sure Forbes and Robin would have promised something that was not kept and hence we are commenting on it. Every CEO and executives knows there issues more than a random guy doing study of few months... The challenge lies in fixing them not reporting them is easy.. I am more surprised that why even Sachin Bansal bothered to reply.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • RS

    I have yet to find a media company not willing to sell its soul for the right price. It seems Forbes is no different. I have never been a regular Forbes reader. The only time I visit Forbes website is when they release the 'World's Richest' list. The reason being, most of their articles that I used to read earlier didn't have that 'quality' factor. This whole Flipkart thing seems like a cheap shot at gaining publicity using what could very well be our country's answer to Amazon.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • rohit

    Havent read such loosely written article. Clearly shows the Forbes India team has dearth of good journalists and reporters. Sad to see that an article made it to Cover Page, without having any critical facts. Seems like this article is motivated by internal or/and external factors. You have lost one reader of Forbes India.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Susheel Kumar

    The anonymous poster here seems to be Sachin Bansal himself.

    on Jun 27, 2012
    • Shubhankar

      Flipkart For Customers: It has tremendous compassion, but now become lethargic.. the feeling is that "Customer to Ayega hi" Hallucinated by Satisfaction.. For Employees: The junior, mid level employees who do buttering they can survive easily there even though they don't perform well, and they are much satisfied there as compared to those who work with proper dedication... Some of the employees got promoted by undue influence; If you have a car your won, don't worry, you will easily survive, If you are IITian then you are the SHISHUPAL of Mahabharata, you are permitted to commit anything which is unusual, but unfortunately SRI KRISHNA is not there to take action more than 100th mistakes.. Company has the fancy trend to hire low-graded IITians every year, where there is no such type of work, where they have to perform on the basis of their academic background. But not all are same, most of them. Some of the employees work with full dedication, but he ensured will be given fair amount of appraisal at the certain span of time, while buttering is such a Bramhastra in Flipkart, an employee could avail it before even having less contribution and in much better amount than the employee worked with full dedication. And moreover when the employees' time to get promotion, they get new face from different field in the organisation to whom he/she has to report, who have very terrible knowledge about the product as well as the process. The significant thing is that now the employees associated with the Organisation started feeling they are new, and the new appointed fellows are overrated. Stop it Flipkart if you don't want to be a glimpse... Still I wanna say "I Love You Flipkart"

      on Jul 5, 2012
  • Vineet Singh

    This is just a story and like all stories it has two sides of the coin! Rohin, is right in publishing the story as it appears and Binny is right in his views as well. It is his business to decide what culture prevails in his company and who becomes part of the think-tank and who doesn't. If Flipkart becomes a big success they would have done most things right! If they fail we all will know that they screwed-up. Time will tell! IMO, Flipkart is still evolving and yet to be a big success story of Indian ecommerce...in contrast to some media reports and commentators. Big money funding does not mean or translate into success! Now, the second part of the story where some employees felt that there are entry-level barriers to become part of the so-called "core cotrie"! Now, what is new to this? Every company has it. And as a professional employee your success is not indexed to your relations with the founders/owners. I have worked for 12 years in Info Edge and never really bothered whether the Owners were my pals or not! If you do well...you survive! if you don't...then even if you are family you will be booted out! That is the reality of business. You've come here to do a job...do your best and believe in Power of Performance! Flipkart's a great platform and its employees should be ready to shed sweat and blood for many years to achieve their big pay-day! I can say all this as I know the difference between 'just doing well' and 'achieving success'. Suceess is life changing..one has to work harder for that.

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Anjali

    I love this! Much deserved for Flipkart, India's biggest online shopping destination. Let me share my personal experience - the HR director of Flipkart, told on my face that they don't encourage new mothers at Flipkart. Throwing the offer at my face, he asked me to be just satisfied, in spite of that! I thought companies out here are encouraging mothers to get back to work by extending all possible support.

    on Jun 27, 2012
    • Shwetali

      Hi Anjali, I would not agree to your comments. As my son was just a year and 3 months old when I joined Flipkart. There must be a pretty rational reason for rejection of your candidature. Wish you all the best for your future.

      on Jun 29, 2012
      • Poonam

        I second you Anjali. Flipkart is not at all employee friendly. @Shwetali... there are always exceptions!!

        on Jul 8, 2012
  • Sandeep

    What i find wrong with flipkart is their attitude towards the serious issues raised in this cover story. Just yesterday I visited flipkart to buy "Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers" which costs INR 1356. I got a shocker when i visited Junglee.com and finally bought the book for INR 671 (the binding is the same on all the websites). And this is not just a one-off case. I can go on and on about the price differentials. It's one thing for flipkart to get maximum clients on board but the loss of clients can be equally quick, if they fail to address these issues. What flipkart's USP was is no longer theirs. I visited flipkart only to get best possible deal. I am sorry to say that I am moving away. Flipkart should address the right things before it's too late.

    on Jun 27, 2012
    • Shankar

      I agree Junglee has far better deals. Just bought a book "Emperor of all Maladies" for Rs.374 from Flipkart and then read this comment. Guess what its selling for Rs.284 on Junglee!

      on Jun 27, 2012
  • Shrikant

    Never used FK for any online purchase. have only seen ADs on TV. sm of my friends did some purchase. and in India today, every company has a culture that will only suit some 20%, not all 80%. This is publicity in a derogative way just so that it gets eyeballs and FK gets its another 15min of fame. India rocks.. incredible

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Quora

    What can be interpreted from forbes article about possible fall of flipkart?... Flikart's CEO's answer here: http://forbesindia.com/blog/editors-blog/flipkart-ceo-responds-to-our-cover-story/...

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Forbes-Kart « Amit Prabhu

    [...] Whats wrong with Flipkart. I am not a regular reader of the magazine and it was the exchange of letters between the CEO of Flipkart and the Editor of Forbes India that got me interested in reading the [...]

    on Jun 27, 2012
  • Saiyona

    I personally love the tug of war of comments between the Flipkart loyalists and avid Forbes readers but what surprises me the most is how some who have commented on this post have completely lost out on the actual story on Flipkart on Forbes. People always react ferociously at bad publicity of their beloved brands, what they fail to understand is that even the brightest stars are flawed and not all is perfect. People out here have gone ahead and have written about the excellent customer service of Flipkart and that it is a great company from a consumer's point of view... why is it so difficult for some of you to understand that Rohin has actually written about the internal employee communication failure at certain levels inside of Flipkart and not about how Flipkart treats its customers. You can actually listen to him praising Flipkart for its service delivery on this podcast: http://forbesindia.com/audio/maga-zine-extra/podcast-what-is-wrong-with-flipkart/33208. And those of you who are expecting Forbes to actually give solutions to Flipkart rather than bringing out the internal truths, then sorry to say, you are expecting just too much. Forbes is not a charity website that it will present solutions to brands for their failures, their business would have to be changed then! If it becoming too difficult for some of you to digest certain truths which Forbes has presented in its cover story, then all that can be said is the truth in reality has pinched you too hard and made you too bitter!

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Anonymous

      In that case, why not also put out opinions of people who've been with Flipkart? For every 1 person who's left, there have been 99 others who've stayed. If the author claims to not be biased, then why not carry the opinions of the other 99?

      on Jun 27, 2012
      • Kumar

        Mr.Why don't you read the page 3...All iitans are heading the company.Is there no one left who got 20 or more years experience to head the department and change the working culture.Don't they know difference between HR and technology???

        on Jul 18, 2012
      • Kushal

        @anonymous: and you are "a parent of a Flipkart employee who is in the middle management level". Well point taken

        on Jul 15, 2012
      • Ravi

        Ya true my friend...as the rest 99 those who have stayed back in flipkart are all iitians and iims...and as per the flipkart law...growth is only for iitians and iims...which is a proven fact...and also am sure all the post written supporting flipkart are all iitians and iims...

        on Jun 30, 2012
  • Anonymous

    Many comments have been made to appreciate the service in past or may be present, which has already been commendable till date. But the article is about the internal employees and future of flipkart. I assume that happy employees are the base for a good future.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • S.K.Dey

    Criticism and Feedback are two different entity. While feedback brings out a healthy environment ,criticism is just the other way. We the Indians in general have a great aptitude to criticise which costs practically nothing. But a healthy feed back is above board of ingenious attitude.In the present climate of attempted gobbling our indigenous enterprises by outsiders ( viz.likes of amazon.com) in the veil of M&A ,lest restricted by Govt. policy. we all should join to strengthen the hands of our guys to improve operational efficiencies by our valued feedback. This is only will be appreciated and not the mirchi masala story made , may be with vested interest. I personally feel ( as a regular customer),Flipkart as a co. has a good value system and their policy orientation towards customer delight is praise worthy.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Leya

    Here's a real story on Flipkart: http://www.cio.in/case-study/flipkart-drives-innovation-through-intelligent-use-it

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Girish Bhusari

    Flipkart CEO need to understand one simple thing that denial mode is the end of rejuvinative ideas, hence he should introspect his team than find faults with outsider like Rohin.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • kiwi

    Hey all you guys As you keep debating & commenting, someone is laughing about their free publicity. Let's shut down & do what we are best at doing. Nothing.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • antiset

    Flipkart is customer friendly ,efficient and cost competitive. I hope it stays that way.I cannot see how it matters whether it is dominated by one group or other as long as it delivers. In fact others domestic companies should learn from this successful model. Too often domestic companies become customer unfriendly and bureaucratic after initial success .

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Vimal

    Go to e-commerce portals, compare prices, find great deals, buy online, enjoy cash on deliveries, have fun. E-commerce has arrived in India. When you subscribe to an IPO of any e-company, think ten times. :)

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Anonymous

    I am a parent of a Flipkart employee, who is in the middle management level, being the head of an important product category. I have never heard him complain about work culture or say anything negative about the senior executives. He seems to be very happy in his company, and has not responded to enticing job offers from other companies, including one from Amazon.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Jarod

      Get him married as he has started to hide facts from you now. He's pretty grown up.

      on Jun 28, 2012
  • Srikant Suvvaru

    I think a lot of the comments are misplaced. No one said Flipkart isn't a great service organization. The point was that the work culture there isn't friendly to it's employees. There's a difference.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Brij

      Srikant, the point is employee culture might be a significant factor that would affect the stability and success of the company... its like a tree with hollow trunk... rotting internaly - its destined to fail.

      on Jul 11, 2012
  • Hemant Thorat

    Well, well, well! If there is any truth to what Forbes has written about Flipkart, and I suspect that there is atleast a little, then all those PE and VC investors who raved about Flipkart must be mighty uneasy. And not surprising, because when all these so-called savvy investors climb onto one bandwagon and rave about it to alland sundry, and tout it as the next big thing after Amazon and Facebook, you can tell that they are quite easily misled. Why? Because this is India; where anything can happen, any lie can be made true, and accounts fudged and auditors and Stock Exchanges fooled for years, a.k.a. Satyam. Flipkart appears good but there was no reason to go gaga over it. It's early days yet. The same goes for SnapDeal. These foolish PE funds who have valued it in the hundreds of crores will still have reason enough to sob. Wait and see how the skeletons begin to tumble out now...

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Apal

    seems like Flipkart favorites in the comments below are either being associated with flipkart, have their eyes closed to what we call consumerism or are the fellow IIT Delhi Jwalamukhi guys :P

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • K. Venugopal Menon (@VenuSpeak)

      Dear Apal, Feel free to google me Up !!!. My Credentials are open source everywhere, many of us here are "educated" not "literate" working professionals, who buy from Flipkart and are happy. Remember the maxim " Dear Customer, If unhappy tell us, if happy tell others " ? There is a link below in one of my comment please feel free to follow it. and do a thorough cross. check Or check my twitter handle / or klout / or / peerindex / or / kerd Venu Not a stakeholder in Flipkart but a customer

      on Jun 27, 2012
      • Teja

        Dear Gopal, You are right, as a Flikart employee personally I know how we are struggling to sustain in market as well as customer satisfaction and we are giving the best response from our side. As of now I didn't face a single problem with my seniors or any of the employees. In this article no need to discuss about work culture we are very much happy in this environment. I do agree some customer will not happy because it depends on them, we are not able to comment on that. I feel that in 100% of customers less than 5% of customer are not happy with our services. @Rohin: How do you come to know that Flipkart internal culture is not good...? have you worked in Flipkart...? do you have any interactions/transactions with Flipkart...? did you purchase any single product from Flipkart...? Do not take take the issue issue in consideration after asking 5-6 people or Ex-Employees of Flipkart....? What do you know about Flipkart...? If you want to comment on Flipkart go ahead on externally. You don't have rights to comments on internally.

        on Jun 28, 2012
      • Apal

        Dear Mr. Menon, With all due respect to your education I have nowhere commented on the customer satisfaction part. Forbes India found the issues within Flipkart and writes about the same and I feel there is depth in what Forbes India talk about. Kindly do not mis-interpret it as a conversation about customer satisfaction. This is all about a mis-leading management.

        on Jun 27, 2012
  • krishna

    Epicfail of Forbes..BS story from forbes. Now forbes has lost its reputation and it seems to me this article is driven by malignant intent to degrace flipkat. I been using flipkart from last 4 years and i never seen any issue with flipkart. Every business has some issues, but the logic & reason is flawed and selective information put on the magazine is bad. Forbes has more than a customer now

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Apal

    I have been a customer of flipkart and an online business entrepreneur as well. I believe that the questions raised by Mr. Bansal seems to be in an agony of getting the truth uncovered. The phenomenon of ambiguity behind the authenticity of financial statements which results in the money pouring in from investors in the Indian e-commerce industry seems to be a trend now. As a customer I am hardly bothered about the work culture they have (though it does reflect the service they may be offering in near future) but as citizen of India we should be aware of how ethical and reliable is the company from which we are buying our stuff. Forbes Thumbs up for the extended journalism :)

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Rahul DB

    If one were to list all potential problems with Flipkart, Customer obsession and IIT D guys shouldn't make that list!! FK may be building a marketplace by throwing money at it, and we love them for it. All of us who have received a flipkart delivery knows the 'this is not like the others' feeling and to that I offer my whole hearted support and wish their business model has the capacity to continue to delight us.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Siddharth

    Absurd...both, the fact that forbes decides to do a story around the work culture in Flipkart....and that Sachin Bansal chooses to respond to it...

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Srikant Suvvaru

    As someone who's known people who currently work or have worked in the past at Flipkart, I'm sorry to say that life isn't rosy when it comes to the online retailer. Flipkart is a company that has a keen focus on the business goals (which is a good thing) but at the expense of their employees. The customers might be happy but the people who make Flipkart what it is, aren't. Good leaders and managers have left the company because of personal clashes that weren't moderated because of favoritism shown to other individuals. Similarly, when issues were raised to HR, there was an initial flurry of activity that led to no great changes. The extremely high attrition rates within certain parts of the organization and the negative buzz about Flipkart as an employer will put off top talent joining the ranks of India's fastest growing e-retailer. When it comes to employer sensitivity, take a page out of the books of any of a dozen online companies like Google, Yahoo, Zynga, Makemytrip, etc. You can be a successful company without making your employees cry.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Binu

      Ya true my friend..i completely agree...HR is bais to iims and iitians..in Last 4 years there are people who joined as executive and still just reached to sr business development executive only...but there are many iitians and iims who have joined as a trainee and reached AVP level in hierarchy within a span of 1 year...this clearly shows that the hr policies are different for iims and iitians...so in short people apart iims and iitians who are ambitious and wanted to build a career then flipkart is nt the rite place to.be in...because rewards and recognition are only for iims and iitians..

      on Jun 30, 2012
  • Deepak

    Hi The number of users on flipkart is a testimony of success. Forbes should try hard to get into such a vast user base first before publishing such articles. A pioneer media house like Forbes should focus on building up new business ventures like flipkart rather than trying to kill them during its initial days. They deserve better treatment and respect.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Royal

    Stop using cheap tricks to make users use your homeshop18 which was the worst i have seen.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Satyen Hombali

    A blatant expression of a vested interest. That is all this story was about IMHO. It is a common thing in India given the rough-and-tumble environment that does not set much store by correctness or even ethicality, and it is no surprise to me that Forbes has chosen to fit right in. I have never been an admirer of the Forbes Empire (aka the mouthpiece of the 1%) and I will stay away from Forbes India after reading this exchange.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • PC

    So many customers speaking for Flipkart its testimony enough for India's leading online business house...and at the end thats what matters.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • K. Venugopal Menon (@VenuSpeak)

    Well no one dies of customer service , and does Forbes forget Murthy, Nilakeni, Shibulal, Raghavan & Gopalakrishnan all came from Patni, Shiv Nadar & his HCL Team worked at DCM . Teams build due to proximity. Rolling Stones Singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards were childhood friends. Successful teams build due to familiarity and comfort level. Dhirubhai and His brother-in-Law, Biz Stonem Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams were college mates and worked at Odeo . History proves, camraderie helps. Remember The Beatles ?

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Werner Egipsy Souza

    We need to talk about the vendor experience, about how most publishers are given a raw deal, and how difficult the vendor selection process is for other products. Customer experience is great, but employee and supplier experience is important too.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Jai

    Cheap Shot, Forbes. Really cheap shot.. You just lost a subscription.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Gopal S Golan

    The bottomline is that Flipkart's customers are a happy with the company. I am one of them, and I know many others who, like me, make regular buys, many times of high ticket items, from them. Your article also loses all credibility because of your relationship with Homeshop18. Considering that Homeshop18 and Flipkart are competitors, the disclosure should have definitely been more prominent, and your reason for it not being so, cuts no ice.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Rakesh Malhotra

      Gopal, Udit is my son. My/his comments are not attacks on Flipkart but on the unprofessional, unlawful and unfair trade practices by Flipkart. All our comments are facts and evidence based. A customer who has purchased a single product or a few products may not know the true conduct of a Retailer. Like you, we have also been regular customers of Flipkart, we discovered the facts about Flipkart's unprofessional conduct and unfair trade practices over a period of time during April 2012. You have mentioned you make big ticket purchases from Flipkart, Pls. i) look back into your Invoices of 2011 and check in how many Invoices the VAT/CST amount has been shown clearly. ii) If you have bought a Toshiba Laptop from Flipkart without Accessories like a Backpack/Carry Case, confirm from the Toshiba India website if the Accessories which you did not receive or paid for extra are actually accessories supplied with the Laptop by Toshiba India or not. c) How many times have received proper Cash Receipts for your COD purchases? d) Since you are also an old customer of Flipkart, as per the old Terms of Use of the website, you have entered into an agreement with a company which does not exist under the Companies Act, viz. WS Retail Pvt. Ltd. The company name was rectified only after my mail of 7 May 2012 but Flipkart customers have not been notified regarding the same by Flipkart, as such a notification shall make the 'Terms of Use' no longer binding on Flipkart's Customers (WS Retail Pvt. Ltd. being a non-existent company). In the interest of consumers at large, each and every comment posted by either of us including those related to "Terms of Use" of Flipkart shall be substantiated with evidence on my son's blog http://talkabouttech.com soon. Do check it out.

      on Jun 26, 2012
      • Anonymous

        Sir, WS Retail is the name of Flipkart's Customer Service vertical. The brand Flipkart only includes the warehouse, inventory and the finance dept

        on Jun 27, 2012
  • K. Venugopal Menon (@VenuSpeak)

    http://youthentertainmentnetwork.blogspot.in/2012/06/forbes-flipkart-and-customer-service-vc.html MY TWO BITS OF THOUGHT on the issue. Is an impartial witness, neither a geek, vc, pr personell or journalist

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • ashok pai

    whatever the story, one disconcerting fact is that a company run by a bunch of buddies seems a bit odd, friendship is one thing, but consistent hiring irrespective of the "fit" into the company will result in friction, as is evidently the case. Maybe from the CEO's point of view the bonhomie might co-relate to a clique operating better as a team. a clique operates smoothly as long as the teams are tight and small. Again I'm no statistician, but as the company scales this would mean trouble. Many Indian companies in the IT sector specifically are plagued with this problems with linguistic divide that is most pronounced and apparent. the kind of misgivings internally are fraught with risks for any company that handles sensitive data like customer details, credit card information and more. Homeshop18 has been around for sometime now, and quite oddly, they do not seem to have the same growth in mind share as flipkart has done in a short period of time. While, flipkart has been good at whatever they have done so far, it would serve them well if they are professional in their hiring. Homeshop18 has been a disgrace to Indian online retail scene. pricey, cocky sales/ support, and the "we have arrived" attitude reeking all over. thankfully we have competition now, in the last couple of years. Although the author clearly says that he's given his disclaimers - the subterfuge meter seems to be glowing bright red.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Kiran K

      If you are willing to pay more than the MRP of a Product or are willing to receive less than what is due to you, it is not a display of your affluence, but that of foolishness and being a customer of HomeShop18 who has shifted over from flipkart I can clearly say that they are the best in terms of packaging, pricing and delivery of books right now in India . Why dont you try ordering for yourself and check the service dude instead of making blanket comments?. PS: I am not connected with HomeShop18 but have been really amazed at how they have created a 4000+ crore business in 5 years with all the problems they would have faced inside network18 and outside network18

      on Jun 27, 2012
  • The small matter of Culture « Confessions of a Digital Immigrant

    [...] (the article actually goes down granular to a particular hostel in IIT-D). Sachin Bansal chose to write back to Forbes India on the story and rightly for a CEO, took pains to clear the air on the issue of culture than other [...]

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Kapil

    All said and done, as a customer I care only about the experience I go through. And with flipkart, it is outstanding, the way it was for Kingfisher Airlines at one point of time. So much so that I have begun to buy things from flipkart which I never thought would by online. Beyond that, how hey run their business is upto them. And with this article, I am beginning to wonder if Forbes has motivation to publish articles beyond journalism.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Sandeep

    Irrespective of the authenticity of article,it appears to me cynically that Forbes simply made Flipkart a scapegoat in an attempt to garner eyeballs.What makes me think so is,does an inner wrangling in an e-commerce company with the business being still evolving, an ideal candidate to occupy the cover page of a coveted magazine?Moreover a lot of attempt to reinforce their cover story with satellite behind the scene stories,which is an attempt to authenticate themselves. Journalists,now-a-days simply need hot selling stories.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Maverick

    Folks Lets be objective here. Indrajit's job is journalism and digging out facts about people/organizations/issues. He surely has done some good work and that's he still has his job! Sachin's is doing his job while building Flipkart. He has his stakeholders and they must be happy which is why he still has his job! Now all the issues raised by Indrajit are typical to any organization- India/Global. Nothing new. If he hires from a particular hostel of IIT so be it...whats wrong with that. Let his company and HR take a call on that I am sure Flipkart/Sachin has legal remedies if there is something done by Forbes/Indrajit which is in contravention of law: defamation/breach of trust/misrepresentation of facts etc etc What is that ONE need for Sachin to react in this manner. I am sure Sachin must have done his diligence on Indrajit/Forbes before allowing him to meet his people and sharing the information and I am sure he must have had his "highs" when Forbes must have approached him to do the story Why this public display of disappointment now...why this clarification!? why this explaining? Is it coz we as Indians dont have tolerance to accept views that are critical in nature! Imagine Mark Zuckerberg taking a gag order from Indian courts against the release of THE FACEBOOK in India on similar pretext or crying out loud against the same on a public blog! But remember how Mark came out of his poor public performance in 2010 at D8 conference and improved remarkably by the time FB was to do roadshows for its IPO! I think we need some resilience...some maturity in the way we deal with criticism! Remeber even Forbes said: "Whats wrong with Flipkart" which means everything's not wrong with it...still!

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Remella

    What is being thrown up of all this is, the larger picture beyond the specifics of minor aspects of everyday life : 1. Consumer activism is at its peak. Going beyond the passions of loyalty, intelligent analysis, the most evident fact 'there is someone watching the business entities in India and no one can get away. This is the true winner. 2. Role of media. The underlying fact that this has augmented the conversation - irrespective of various dimensions, the fact about central role of media in a ever changing society stays validated.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • K. Venugopal Menon (@VenuSpeak)

      Remella don't say the "Central Role of Media " :-) Paper shredders were invented to shred newspapers and magazines, and papier mache art grew because illogical printed matter could be better converted into beautiful "Kathakali" Masks . The flipkart consumer behaviour and reaction is evident here , that Forbes has got it wrong. I'm sure if sold on flipkart, this issue will have a deeper discount. :) Atrocius logic and vested PR has job this !!!

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • Sunil

    Are you in any sense a relative to Tapan? Which company does not have a close group controlling? Forbes story seems sponsored by Electronic or book store owners? IS there a declaration that you dont have vested interest in it? Media trying to pull down a successful startup based on morales which media has lost in an era of sponsored journalism.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Sachi Mohanty

    What is wrong if a bunch of friends from college start a company where they are the only senior management? Surely Flipkart doesn't have more skeletons in its cupboard than the biggest daddy of online commence, Amazon. Flipkart is whipping the competition -- that's the bottom line so far.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Amit

      There is no problem if a bunch of friends start a company and are the Senior Management who take all the decisions, but the problem is somehow being an Engineer from IIT (why do they call themselves IITians and not Engineers) they feel they are God. I have worked in on such similar company FutureGroup, so I understand what the writer is trying to point.

      on Jun 26, 2012
      • SK

        Mr Amit, if you look closely at the article it will come to your notice that a lot of non-IITians have made it to the senior management level. The designer of the site is not an IITian for instance. Is it not phenomenal enough that 2 college graduates began a company and now it is ready to compete with Amazon? If the service is good, prices are less and we as consumers benefit.. why is it such a big deal that a few HoDs are IITians? I think it is the mindset in our minds and not theirs that we need to change. Please do think over it

        on Jun 28, 2012
  • Subho Ray

    The man who has done his level best... is a success, even though the world may write him down a failure, B C Forbes...

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Ranju

    Like Indrajit said "... readers are intelligent to draw their own conclusions..." and my conclusion is below (Not saying I am intelligent) - Forbes India is trying hard to get some readership and responses here. - Forbes India is degrading their standards on conducting responsible research and journalism. - Forbes India is venturing into paid/sponsored research/journalism. - Forbes India is restructuring to get positioned as Yellow Journal - Forbes India EGO is hurt big time on personal issues with the FK leadership. Now there may be obvious reasons for not publishing this comment.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • SK

      Sir, I completely agree with you. Forbes India is trying their LEVEL best to sell the magazine. Their desperation is dripping all over the pages of the story. What does it contain anyway? MASALA!! About irrelevant matters- who is from IIT or a hostel. Or how the ex-employees are angry and stiffer(as all ex-employees are!) Bah! It is sickening. You want to make only talk about the 10 unhappy ex members and not the 5000 happy ones. I have been to the flipkart office!! Its exceptionally awesome, fun and the people are great! They work hard and are struggling, its true but they have reached so far up.. why not talk about that huh?

      on Jun 28, 2012
  • Rahul

    My own experiance is just good enough for whenever I ordered books in Mumbai, however, when I had ordered books outside Mumbai in slightly smaller towns such as Chandrapur, it is pathatic. Flipkart would not even respond to your questions on their helpline. It looks as if they are just not bothered once the money are recieved by Flipkart. They had sent one book by a good courier company which gets delevered and another two books with some other company, the name of which I had not heard of which does not get delevered at all and when I called the helpline, I was told that, the courier company had stated that, they cant delever the same as that is out of their delevery range. If that was the case, then why at first place such an order was accepted by the courier company and why had Flipkart sent two books by another company? Is it that, they at Flipkart do not want to apply their own mind at all? To top it all, when you call them, all kind of ivasive and vague answers are given by the helpline. Another point, I would strongly suggest, please do not buy anything from Flipkart except books at any rate, as the services their are even more pathatic. I had ordered AC and a fridge from Flipkart, that too in citi of Mumbai and I had a nightmare till the time it was delevered. Having said that, I must state that, so far, whenever I ordered books "in Mumbai" the experiance is not too bad. I got delevered in time. I hope Flipkart would do well to learn from these mistake in future, else they would face lot of consumer litigation to start with and the clame made by Flipkart that they are good at consumer delite would become consumer plight.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Sanjay

    Lost all respect for Fobes, I thought it was for the knowledgeable but its for the page3 lovers.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Sudeep

    @Indrajit- So the employees gave vague answers and hence to look for an answer you trusted some "unidentified ex-employees" and also draw your own conclusions from "the vast body of research acquired for the story" ?? eh?

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Vishwa

    I have used flipkart lots of times and have had no issue till date. They delighted me with quick and professionals service on all occasions. In my mind, this article reeks of sensationalism with less than firm grounds for why the website will fail. Rather than facts of why FK as a company will fail, I am left with a bad taste of what forbesindia has done with its journalism.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Ashish

    How does it matter if decision making is centralized and vested in a small group of people until the right decisions are made. There may be a culture problem, but customers are clearly happy

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Udit Malhotra

    Friends, Please don't start shooting the Messenger without knowing all the dirty facts about Flipkart. It seems success has gone over Mr. Bansal's head, he wrongly believes that he is always right and can no longer hear anything against him or his/his team's wrongdoings. (all these traits go against the stakeholders of Flipkart). In my opinion, Forbes India should publish a series of investigative and evidence based stories to expose the mess-of-affairs in Flipkart and the unfair trade practices by Flipkart. Flipkart has definitely turned from the Best-to-Worst in the recent past. In a short span of 9 months, I and my family members ordered over 100 products worth over a Rs.1 Lakh to Flipkart. Our orders translate to a new order to Flipkart every 2.5 days. From a company which started out with very competitive pricing and excellent customer service, Flipkart has downgraded itself as another street-smart operator, more like a Hawker, unlike any respectable Business. Today, Flipkart has 'No Business Ethics' and 'No Customer Commitment'. Flipkart neither abides by, nor has any respect for the laws of our Country. Sounds unbelievable, but it is true. As an erstwhile loyal customer of Flipkart, I regret to say that Flipkart is now resorting to many 'Unlawful and Unfair Trade Practices' viz. 1. Non-Delivery of Ordered Products after acceptance of the Orders by email and receiving Full Payments in advance for the same. (An offense under the Indian Contract Act). 2. Misleading Advertising and Sale of Multiple Products like Books and Office Supplies above their stipulated Maximum Retail Price (MRP). (An offense under the Legal Metrology-Packaged Commodity Rules). 3. Misleading Advertising and Sale of select models of Toshiba Laptop Computers, by removing the Carry Case/Backpack of the Laptops, (included by Toshiba India as a supplied accessory) and selling the Laptops at marginally lower prices than their competitors. In good faith, the Customers wrongly believe that Flipkart is cheaper than its online, on-air and other competitors. This action by Flipkart not only cheats the Customers but also creates unfair competition on the marketplace. The removed Carry Case/Backpack is sold separately to make extra and illegal profits by Flipkart. (An offense under the Consumer Protection Act). 5. Incorrect Invoicing of Products without mentioning the amount of VAT/CST charged and Invoicing Interstate Sales as Intra-State Sales. (An Offence under the VAT and CST Acts). 6. Use of a non-existent company name "WS Retail Pvt. Ltd." in the Terms of Use of the 'flipkart.com'. No Company with the aforesaid company name exists on the website of the Ministry of Company Affairs, Govt. of India. Consequently the "Terms of Use" are not binding on any User of 'flipkart.com'. The correct name of the company is "WS Retail Services Pvt. Ltd." The wrong company name was rectified by Flipkart only after my communication regarding the same on 7 May 2012 to Mr. Balkrishan Bansal, Director, Mr. Tapas Jagadeesh Rudra Patna, Director, Mr. Sachin Bansal, Co-founder, Mr. Binny Bansal, Co-founder, Mr. Sujeet Kumar, President Operations, Mr. Ravi Vora, Vice President (Marketing) and Mr. Karthik Srinivasan, AVP (Corporate Communications). However, users of 'flipkart.com' have not been informed regarding the name change till date as a communication regarding the same shall give the Old Customers of Flipkart the option to accept/reject the Terms-of-Use of 'flipkart.com' since the non-existent company was supposedly a legal entity established under the Companies Act. (This is an offence under the Companies Act and the IT Act). 8. The Senior Management of Flipkart including all the names mentioned herein above do not bother to respond to Customer Grievances and Complaints, leave alone try to resolve the same. Read more unknown and dirty facts about Flipkart on: http://talkabouttech.com/2012/05/12/homeshop18-beating-flipkart-at-its-own-game/. Incidentally, in the recent past, Homeshop18's Pricing and Customer Service has improved from Poor-to-Very Good. During the last 3 months, upon multiple purchases from Homeshop18, I have found that in the Books Category, Homeshop18 provides the Lowest Prices in the market, Excellent Packaging, Fast Deliveries and Excellent Customer Service. If Homeshop18 continues to improve across all Categories at the same pace, it will be sooner than later that Homeshop18 will be the preferred destination for online shopping.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • K. Venugopal Menon (@VenuSpeak)

      Wow , now this has gone to the Memorandum of Association, probably, this is deep research, better than the article itself. Take note, who is laughing all the way to the Bank. Its Flipkart folks. Without even buying a column centimeter of advertisement space, or a Google Ads banner/ square banner placed :-) It is just a coincidence, that I have to mention, have written a blog post comparing Micromax Funbook, Karbonn Smart Tab and HCL XE low cost Android ICS Tablets. AND DO YOU KNOW , which Google Ads I normally find there ? Indiatimes, Naaptol, Jabong, Myntra and Homeshop 18. Never Flipkart. Why can that be? Draw your own conclusions. I have presented my case This is a case like that DNA @Swamy39 " Virat Hindu " Story ! Pure sensationalism

      on Jun 27, 2012
      • Udit Malhotra

        Venugopal, Flipkart's aforesaid unprofessional, unlawful and unfair trade practices are only waiting to be exposed to Customers at large and the Authorities concerned. The rest shall be decided by the Customers and the Authorities in due course of time.

        on Jun 27, 2012
    • Manisha

      The points that u pointed out doesnt seem to be Something flipkart "Resorted to" , they are errors so of which which have already been taken care of. 1. Non delivery of Products for which order has been made. (This too is very very rare case.)I have received every single item i'v ordered for. And Am Glad that even if i order something and decide to cancel it, they dont force it on me, They Do Return my money back to me. - 2. About selling more than MRP. This must have been a reaallly rare case, ur report should have also reported how in-frequently this happens, if its rare then say so! I'v always got the price that has been listed on the website. N if i do have any problem i'm sure their custommer support would help me out. 3 & 4. About toshiba laptops... Hey they sold what ever they have promised on the website. I already have enough bags and better bags with me, and if I have an option to pay lesser and get my laptop, i would gladly go for it. 5. VAT details .. as a customer it doesnt matter much to me. yeah am sure they'll look into it for the law perspective. dont thinik thats a big thing to write a cover story on Forbes magazine about. 6 and 7. Regarding the registered name- They have rectified it na? whats the problem. 8. Regarding Customer grievances and Complaints : The senior mnagement have created a very efficient and prompt Customer Support to deal with all this. Doesn't seem too bad at all. :-)

      on Jun 26, 2012
      • Udit Malhotra

        Manisha, Your comments "they are errors so of which which have already been taken care of" and "Regarding Customer grievances and Complaints : The senior mnagement have created a very efficient and prompt Customer Support to deal with all this" coupled with your tone and attitude makes me believe you are not a Flipkart Customer but a Flipkart Employee/ Associate commenting on behalf of Flipkart.

        on Jun 27, 2012
    • rakesh

      hmm.. quite shady... you are a hands-on social media management professional! I'm not sure how many are aware what is done to manage.... is it going all around in internet forms to repeat the same drivel and point out links leading to a slanderous article? yeah of course, this will increase the page ranking for that blog in Google search... very clever!

      on Jun 26, 2012
    • abhishek

      By your comment you totally state your vested interest, I have been using flipkart for long now. And am assured its expensive than its competitors but is at-least 10times better than them. I don’t mind paying a slightly high price. And if u thought it is doing so many frauds go to court , than crying like a baby here and advertising . As a consumer I care for quality and service , which I get from flipkart and as a individual I am happy paying for it.

      on Jun 26, 2012
      • Udit Malhotra

        @Gopal & @Abhishek, It seems just hearing the name 'Homeshop18' gives you guys the jitters. If I will comment Homeshop18 is 'bad' you guys will unnecessarily start flipping in the kart. Grow Up Guys...Face the Facts. We live in a dynamic world, yesterday things were different and things will be different tomorrow. Look back in the past, there was no Flipkart, tomorrow there may be no HomeShop18. For Books, I repeat for Books; Homeshop18 is the best online retailer today in terms of pricing, packaging as well as delivery. I standby my statement without any vested interests. Before ordering any book online, compare its price on junglee.com, mysmartprice.com and isbn.net.in and in just a few minutes you shall discover the facts. @Abhishek, Spending a little extra for your armchair convenience may not matter to you, however for a Student who has limited funds, getting a book cheaper online, may help him in getting another book needed by him at a lower cost/no cost. If you are willing to pay more than the MRP of a Product or are willing to receive less than what is due to you, it is not a display of your affluence, but that of foolishness. If you have entered into an Agreement with a non-existent company (if you are a Flipkart Customer before 7 May 2012, unknowingly you already have), don't read Forbes India, read the Companies Act and the IT Act and know your rights. FYI, I am taking Flipkart aka 'WS Retail Services Pvt. Ltd.' for their Unlawful and Unfair Trade Practices to Court shortly.

        on Jun 26, 2012
    • Gopal S Golan

      You stink of prejudices, and your plugging of Homeshop18 towards the end of your comment gives your game away. Your comment is a lot of barking without any bite.

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • Forbes , Flipcart , Failures and Frugal journalism - ManagementParadise.com - Worlds Leading Management Portal. Online MBA | Classroom to Boardroom and Beyond

    [...] did. He published Flipkart CEO's mail along with his reply as justification. You can read it here : Flipkart CEO responds to our cover story | Forbes India Blog Since the article was getting wide publicity and the website was raking in moolah from increased [...]

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Kaus

    Dear Sachin, I understand that customer delight is your ultimate goal and passion but I ask at what cost. Recently my roommate ordered couple of soaps, a oil and a loofah that cost around 200 bucks, and the parcel arrived in 3 packages all on different days and all with custom flipkart packing (that we all are in love with). But the fact that a 200 bucks package arrives in 3 different days makes me wonder how profitable it is for flipkart to deliver it everytime at my doorstep and add to that guilt of paper and polythene wasted at each package order. Dear Flipkart pls consider environment as a factor too while serving your customers.Package arrived 2 days latter with 1 packing and a half page of an A4 sheet as a bill would suffice us. We love flipkart service but do consider our environment as well. Regards

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Susheel Kumar

      That's a foolish question. If you know that the packing is done the moment the product order is received and the product is available. They send whichever product is available and do not wait for all 3 products to be available, to save on customer's waiting time.

      on Jun 27, 2012
    • Sandeep

      If i read their business model, it's purely "Made to Sell" model. Making money is not on their minds. they are more bothered about the eye-balls and customers to increase their valuation.

      on Jun 27, 2012
  • Nupur Gupta

    Also, while we are talking about conspiracy theories, here's another one. Perhaps Amazon's Indian arm that was recently launched i.e. Junglee had a vested interest in badmouthing Flipkart and hence, the sudden slew of negative publicity. Inspite of all this, I will shop with Flipkart as long as the front-end service stays the same.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Nupur Gupta

    Perhaps Flilpkart has issues on the back-end. Regardless, I have to compliment them for their work on the front-end. It is FLAWLESS. I used to shop in the U.S. primarily using Amazon. Having moved back to India, I must confess, I barely miss Amazon (definitely not for the books). Excellent job done, Flipkart. Regardless of such stories, your loyal base would stay (in my opinion).

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Somen

    I have been ordering from flipkart for many years now and should say that I am satisfied with their service and professionalism. Well Flipkart should stay away from such attention seeking journalists and magazines who promote sensationalism. Forbes has actually given a negative feedback about itself more than flipkart. It might happen in this case that vested interests are playing a definite role here. Being a part of startup and having more than 18 years experience in corporate industry I can say with certainty that ex-employees should be left out keeping relationship intact otherwise for a startup they might create problems later on. All said and done flipkart is one of the best e commerce retailers in this country and am proud to be a customer of it.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • moninder

    Flipkart rocks !!!!!!!! All other is bullshit !

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Pranav

    We are also in the ecommerce business Bluebustees.com and all I want to add is if the VCs are happy with what the flip kart is doing with there money no one should question how they run there business. No one should talk negative just for there own profits. But then again this is India and we feel happier to see a company fail rather then be successful.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • kiwi

      should i open your website in incognito window?

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • Kiran K

    Flipkart is using this very smartly as a PR opportunity crying out loud - " Oh my god, I am a scapegoat . Forbes which has a piss drop relationship with Homeshop18 is telling I am a fraud". People will always be with scapegoat even when scapegoat has done wrong. How soon people forget about the 1 billion PR bubble that flipkart created and vanished into thin air :)

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Ex-Flipkart

    Looking at the comments below it seems people are under the perception that forbes did the story because of their connection with Homeshop18 . Are people are under the impression that there are no problems within flipkart and everything is fine. As an ex-flipkart employee I know how the system works and dont be surprised if the company shuts down in next few months. Dont order in flipkart and your money is not in safe hands. These jokers called bansals have runout of cash from VCs and wont be able pay vendors any more. Past is past and flipkart willl serious problems or may shut down in next few months. It is better to order offline rather than from any of online sites like flipkart.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Gopal S Golan

      Your comment shows why you were made 'ex'.

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • Prabhat Kumar Mathur

    dear Mr. Sachin Bansal, All I can say to relieve you of the pain caused by this website is that your site is awesome, your products are awesome and you guys are doing great. I dont care what your business model is , what is going on in the company and where you are headed to in the next 1-5 years time frame. The day you stop delivering on time the quality products to my door step and stop the great discounts - I will be the first one to raise fingers on your company. trust me, I am an engineer with MBA and believe well read and educated to stop worrying about the things that does not matter to me. Your VC's, stake holders and creditors may take notice of the mundane stuff mentioend here. It does not matter to a customer like me. I want things to be served on plate and not what goes behind the wall . Regards, Prabhat. Dear Mr. Indrajit Gupta, I don't understand why the issue was not brought up again and again about the clear cut answers directly with Mr Sachin Bansal rather than informing the rest of his crew. Sounds a lot absurd!!! Or was it just passing the buck to print it and gather the media attention(which you are doing now!!!) . I do believe everyone of us have a circle of office mates with which we are comfortable wrking with and so the IIT-D issues is simply ridiculous. Forbes India has lost its credibility by this mud-slinging articles in my view. All the best to you, Rohin and the entire team. Regards, Prabhat

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • L K Singla

    Wonder why people are blaming forbes, when business standard was the first paper to report the issues in flipkart @ http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/investors-wary-as-flipkart-shows-growth-pangs/475863/. Forbes does not have any vested interest in the story other than the connection with HomeShop18 and considering that they didnt even cover HomeShop18 in earlier articles on ecommerce like http://forbesindia.com/article/work-in-progress/bestsellers-from-flipkart/16872/1 . It is evident that flipkart management expected this to be another story with them as posterboys of Indian E Com but they shoot themselves on the foot by evading the question of journalist.

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • Anonymous

      If you read Sachin's letter deeply, you'd notice that he's not concerned with journalists questioning the business model or profitability. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Likewise, Sachin, as the CEO of a privately held company, is completely entitled to not answer the journalist's questions on the business model. A lot of those questions will not be answered by any private company! Even for a public company, do you expect to walk into Google's office, question the CEO and expect all answers? Most likely you'll be redirected to the PR office for a bunch of well defined, but not-to-the-point answers. The core issue is of questioning the character and credibility of people working there, and that's the reason I think why Sachin chose to respond only to that allegation. It hurts the people inside, hurts the brand, and is an ethically and morally incorrect thing to do. These are people who've toiled hard to get where they are. For the likes of Mahesh Murthy, always looking for a way to bash Flipkart, look at Sachin's mail more closely. When he's asking about why so much extra attention for this article on the social media by the Net18 companies, he's being sarcastic! Why else would he ask the letter to be an open letter if he had to suppress the tweets for them? I think he's drawing attention to the fact that most Net18 companies advertised this article, including Burrp, which has absolutely no relation to Flipkart. Don't you think it was highly conspicuous?

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • RS

    The story and the title indeed are sensational. And as suggested by a few other readers - forbes should also do an article on Homeshop18. To put it simply, the podcast does seem like a vendetta of sorts by a competitor on flipkart and i'm assuming forbes will get more of negative publicity for this article. I've heard more negative views about Homeshop18 than positives by customers and the vice-versa is true for flipkart. I for one am a flipkart customer service fan and nobody has beaten their experience till date. But the intention for this comment is to point out to readers that apart from the flipkart bashing that has occurred, they should look at what the article reveals about the e-commerce industry in general and where it is heading right now, which sadly was only in the last 4 minutes of the podcast. Instead of targeting only flipkart, forbes could have done well to cover the industry as a whole, targeting more players, as the same problems (apart from the culture angle) exist with other players in the industry. (Homeshop18 would have been much happier then!)

    on Jun 26, 2012
    • L K Singla

      Wonder this homeshop18 connection has any merit at all considering that Forbes never covered HomeShop18 in any of the earlier articles as well @ http://forbesindia.com/article/work-in-progress/bestsellers-from-flipkart/16872/1. If you avoid HomeShop18 connection most things fall into place and there is something seriously wrong with FK for sure and may be with other players as well. But as poster boys of Indian ECom they have to take whipping a they have taken hugs as well from media

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • Abhishek

    I have a fair idea of e-commerce in India, as I am working (technical) in this field for the last 5 years. All I can say is that - no particular site is profitable till now. The biggies are thriving on VC funds and some survive as they are part of some large business house. Flipkart, from its beginning has concentrated solely on customer delight and has done a great job till now. I have followed the journey of many Indian e-commerce websites, and I must say, Flipkart is at the top. Still, I agree that, the way things are going, it's not going to be a sustainable proposition for any b2c e-commerce house. Homeshop runs a channel selling cheap(in terms of price, not quality) Spice phones or Reebok sets. Now, running a channel is no joke. And even a layman can conclude that it's very difficult to break even selling stuff and running channels.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • gautam

    Congratulations to the Forbes team! This is going to sell a lot of magazines.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • Whereindiashops

    Mr. Rohin and the Editor of Forbes, please stop using the publication for your personal vendetta. Mr. Bansal, please stop reacting so cheaply to cheap articles and getting too short tempered. But here, Forbes is wrong in publishing such an article.

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • varun

    may be good fr cust but not very impressive regarding the work culture for the employees

    on Jun 26, 2012
  • rajat

    Grow up Forbes. Don't know about the facts, but Forbes should have highlighted the connection with Homeshop18. Come on Indrajit... saying "this is in line with our policy" is not a honorable cover for "we jabbed our competitor" kind of story.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • van

    Very bad journalism..has the writer published this story for his own gain- a personal vendetta or was it ordered by the owners-Homeshop? I thought highly of this magazine..well, you just made us realise, this is another tabloid magazine. Why dont you write an article about home shop and its methods. Every company is built with sweat and hardwork. There has been no unfair illegal practices, that they are following. If they hire from IIt or they they have a closed group policy, its their way of working. people have commented on how they ve had a prob with flipkart. every customer-even apple customer will have some problem..its impossible to please all. Their investment decisions are theirs and nobody else besides the managing directors . If their investors are fine with it, why does anyone else have a problem?but to defame flipkart is obnoxious and bad taste.. What moral grounds does it give you to question their way of working?? There ll be happy/unhappy people everywhere esp when the company becomes big. what right do you have to question that and make it into a cover page. any outsider can easily write an article on Homeshop/forbes culture, with enough people, who think there might be politics play amongst staff..is it a cover page worthy??

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Arindam Biswas

    This smacks of to be released film publicity stunt. Of course, its not. But to a common reader, Forbes India comes out as a distant second. Flipkart can fail in its due course of time, and you can shout out your i-told-you-so from the rooftops. But till then, flipkart is giving good service to its customers. You, sir, are not. :-)

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Shiva Prasad

    To begin with, I do not understand why FK needs to respond in the first place.. This clearly shows that FK is growing and obviously so called entities like "Forbes" who make a living by rating businesses and individuals :-) would like to get their share of visibility - good/bad god knows!

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • The Best of Web: 25/6/2012 — Conversations on Conversations

    [...] Flipkart CEO’s response to the Forbes Story(and their reply) [...]

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • snemax

    I dont understand why we Indians tend to be filled with negativism and cynism. Thats not how build a silicon valley. I am not saying ignore the bad stuff, but are you forgetting the lot great stuff thats happening. My experiences with flipkart have been awesome, and also with Indiaplaza. So I buy where I get things cheaper. The startup has grown so quickly, its valued more than many stocks listed on bse. There will be issues and many issues. Issues are core of life and give rise to business ideas. And flipkart has many larger issues at hand than handling ghettoism. Nothing of the issues are intentional. The founders put tonnes of sweat blood and tears into building something. Though you have every right to write what you want, as one of your intelligent regular users and young entrepreneur I term this story immature and irrelevant. If at all you want to be cynic cover coal companies, land builders, business where everything wrong is intentional, if you have the guts in you.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Electro

    We are in similar ecommerce business, but though Flipkart has become the number one online store in India, and though it might have its own shortcomings and positive aspects, we think that the Forbes are doing this for sensational journalism. This is not the way to publish an article about an extremely successful webstore, and we in fact should learn from Flipkart how they went on to become successful even when internet penetration in India is at its lowest.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Rajesh

    Just bought an issue of the Magazine...to my surprise, 6 pages of the cover story were torn from inside...I don't want to comment on who could have got it done

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • K. Venugopal Menon (@VenuSpeak)

      It could be a smart Alec Indian, perfect in Indian jugaad way, who does not want to waste his hard earned money, on useless stuff, but is eager enough to know, what Forbes wrote.

      on Jun 27, 2012
  • Subrata Mitra

    Hi, I represent accel partners, one of the investors in Flipkart. I was contacted by Rohin (see transcript below) for discussion around the said article. Seems like he had a change of mind or his research burden became so large that he had to ignore speaking to the one investor who has been associated with the company the longest. Wonder why (esp since I have done a few articles with him in the past)! ----- From: Mitra, Subrata Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 5:09 PM To: 'Rohin Dharmakumar' Subject: RE: Your views for a story on Flipkart Rohin, would you start by sending me a set of questions? Lemme think through & respond by email; we can then have a call. Best, - Subrata --- Subrata Mitra www.accel.com From: Rohin Dharmakumar [mailto:Rohin.Dharmakumar@network18online.com] Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 2:02 AM To: Mitra, Subrata Subject: Your views for a story on Flipkart Dear Subrata, how are you? I’m reaching out to you for a big feature story I’m doing on Flipkart. Essentially it’s a story about the challenges and pangs faced by a smart, aggressive startup as it morphs into a large, 5000-employee organization. The issues I’m looking at include - people, culture, business expansion and overall ecommerce strategy. I would like to speak with you for this story. I am of course speaking to Flipkart (in fact to all the function heads in addition to the Bansals). Would it be possible to meet on this sometime early next week? Sent from my Windows 8 PC

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Rohin Dharmakumar

      Hi Subrata, this is to put on record the fact that we sent you our detailed questionnaire on Flipkart on 26th June, which you acknowledged on 1st July. We will continue to await your responses to those questions, especially because you felt we had ignored your views during earlier reporting. Rohin Dharmakumar

      on Jul 2, 2012
    • Rohin Dharmakumar

      Hi Subrata, you're right. I did write to you for your views and did mean to send you the questions subsequently, but missed doing so. The error is mine entirely. I will however send you those questions today, and carry your responses to them on our website with the article. Rohin.

      on Jun 26, 2012
      • ajith kumar

        Dear Mr. Indrajit Gupta and Mr.Rohin Dharmakumar . Congrats on a wonderful piece. Just wanted to comment on a statement made by IG "At times, the initial hypothesis we start with changes as the reporting gathers momentum. If something controversial comes up, as a matter of policy, we flag the people off who are part of the feature." . Can you kindly let me know if your policy will make you report on the TV 18 - RIL deal? I think you folks at Forbes India are doing a wonderful job but I pity the Forbes International ppl who have trusted you. The joke is on them.

        on Jun 26, 2012
      • Gopal S Golan

        "missed doing so"? LOL!! Your offer to publish Subrata response now, is even more hilarious.

        on Jun 26, 2012
    • Swaminathan

      not to mention lies you spread about customers who reach out to you eh?

      on Jun 25, 2012
  • Anil kumar

    Is Forbes India going the page 3 way? Already a shoddy patch when compared to the International edition (including by the way even the paper feel of the magazine), and the semi-skilled lot that goes under garb of financial journalist, the publication would do well not to indulge in cheap unsubstantiated barbs for sake of increasing circulation. Now let's see how fair the editorial is in carrying criticism when it's aimed at them!

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Shubho Sengupta

    This is a disgustingly scurrilous attack against an Indian success story. This is a literary supplement, was expecting some financial analysis.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • PlayMore.in

    I am from PlayMore.in and we sell Sports goods online. I think this article was not written in good taste. If Forbes really stands for unbiased journalism then i request you folks to write an article talking about the negatives of HomeShop18. I am in the senior management of PlayMore and i don't plan to shift either to flipkart or homeshop18, but i buy books from both these sites and i am a happy customer. I am sure because the ecommerce is in its early days all the players are working hard to succeed. So to show that forbes journalism is unbiased, please write an article highlighting the problems faced by homeshop18.

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Anil Kumar

      I have bought more than 30 books from Flipkart.com and i just love their collection and service. I think this comment by PlayMore is right, we want to know the problems of homeshop18, so that you can make it clear that this article was unbiased.

      on Jun 25, 2012
      • Lohit Jagwani

        I have been a customer of Flipkart for many years now. Their customer service is brilliant and personally, I think its the best in the industry. I have also been reading Forbes for sometime now and I think its a good magazine. In the interest of fairness, Forbes should come out with an equally critical story of Home Shop 18 as well. If they dont then it will be awfully clear what their motivation was in writing the cover story on Flipkart.

        on Jun 26, 2012
  • Susheel Kumar

    REPOSTING WITH TYPO/GRAMMATICAL CORRECTIONS: View on Forbes Article: Forbes, you were indeed quite bold and sensational in terms of your cover page and the way you narrated the article, without presenting any facts and figures or evidences of good journalism or the substantiation of the content of your article. 'Sources' can be anybody, 'off-the-record' can be anything, even an F letter word for the employer or the organisation; who doesn't swear by his boss? everybody does. Everybody is unhappy with payscales, increments and work load. There's always more for need, less for greed - quoted. There seems to be some truth in the story, but there is also an element of improper conclusion and assumption made by Forbes, and it seems very clear now that Rohin/Indrajit/Forbes Journalists might have felt humiliated or dissatisfied that their questions were not answered directly by the likes of Sachin Bansal, and hence you went on to show the might of your pen or mouse, and published an article that shatters the essence of the success of Flipkart. If you were so good at judging work culture and management style, why is your advice not taken by Homeshop18.com and why is it not more successful than Flipkart then? It is for sure, the fact, though I am a dissatisfied customer and hate their service due to my bad experience, that Flipkart remains the first ecommerce emperor of India, though can be overtaken. After reading your article, the only thing that every reader will start thinking is that Flipkart's inner circle is strong and secretive (which is not incorrect if it is for the good of the company and for the good of the management and it is great to have that kind of group),- that the employees are not very happy, atleast some of them; that Flipkart's balance sheets are or may be falsely portrayed; that Flipkart's inner circle is going through 'Julius Caesar' and 'Et tu Brutus' of it. One thing is clear that Rohin felt personally humiliated so he went and took some good 'momentum' of journalism more quickly to take opinions from the ex-employees of Flipkart and the anti-Flipkart employees of flipkart. Though Rohin may be right in getting upset on behalf of good journalism and loyal readers of Forbes for being denied a good revealing interview, but to not print the positive aspect of Flipkart, shows wrong journalism and sensationalism. A Forbes should always show class, and this article seems against that. Also, Sachin Bansal in his email to you, in fact, was much polite the way he has reacted with his anger subdued deliberately, but as readers we can tell you that to have an article showing an anti-flipkart article so boldly as if you had material evidence to say it, amounts to Defamation. If I were Sachin, I would sue you for that. OK, now one thing good about Forbes, that I would like to point out is that atleast you brought out the fact that there is something wrong with Flipkart, and it might be a balloon waiting to burst. To us people, this story is like Wankhede Security Guards insulting SRK big time, and beating the excreta out of his ego and showing him his place for behaving so rudely. Except that the Wankhede Security had the right to do so, whereas you did not have to become like Wankhede Security Guards. Rohin, the journalist, can take his revenge out elsewhere and not on Forbes India's publication. Now if you wish to print this feedback or not, I am an Ex-fan of Flipkart, and I was waiting to read an article to know something like this, which instills confidence in us in an old saying that everything that glitters is not gold. Flipkart : - Do what you are doing, focus on customers and please do not cheat, you are too big now to cheat the customer or the investor, if you are. If you are not, you are going right. But please get your attitude modest. Forbes: Please get to good journalism and concentrate on giving the right headlines. The headline 'what's wrong with flipkart' is not apt and you are not an HR magazine to concentrate on that aspect majorly ignoring the business aspect.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Susheel Kumar

    View on Forbes India Article: Forbes India, you were indeed quite bold and sensational in terms of your cover page and the way you narrated the article, without any facts and figures or evidences of good journalism or the substantiation of the content of your article. 'Sources' can be anybody, 'off-the-record' can be anything, even a F letter word for the employer or the organisation, who doesn't swear by his boss, everybody does. Everybody is unhappy with payscales, increments and work load. There's always more for need, less for greed - quoted. There seems to be some truth in the story, is also an assumption made by Forbes, and it seems very clear now that Rohin/Indrajit/Forbes Journalists felt bad that their questions were not answered directly by Sachin Bansal, and hence you went on to show the might of your pen or mouse, and published an article that shatters the essence of the success of Flipkart. If you were so good at judging work culture and management style, why is your advice not taken by Homeshop18.com and why is it not more successful than Flipkart then? After reading your article, the only thing that every reader will start thinking is that Flipkart's inner circle is strong and secretive (which is not incorrect if it is for the good of the company and for the good of the management and it is great to have that kind of group), the employees are not very happy, atleast some of them; that Flipkart's balance sheets are or may be falsely portrayed; that Flipkart's inner circle is going through 'Julius Caesar' and 'Et tu Brutus' of it. One thing is clear that Rohin felt bad so he went and took momentum of journalism more quickly to take opinions from the ex-employees of Flipkart and the anti-Flipkart employees of flipkart. Though Rohin may be right, but to not print the positive aspect of Flipkart, shows wrong journalism and sensationalism. A Forbes should always show class, and this article seems against that. Also, Sachin Bansal, in fact was much polite the way he has reacted with his anger subdued deliberately, but as readers we can tell you that to have an article showing an anti-flipkart article so boldly as if you had material evidence to say it, amounts to Defamation. If I were Sachin, I would sue you for that. OK, now one thing good about Forbes India, that I would like to point out is that atleast you bought out the fact that there is something wrong with Flipkart, and it might be a balloon waiting to burst. To us people, this story is like Wankhede Security Guards insulting SRK big time, and beating the excreta out of his ego and showing him his place for behaving so rudely. Except that Wankhede Security had the right to do so, whereas you did not have the become like Wankhede Security Guards. Rohin, the journalist, can take his revenge out elsewhere and not on Forbes India's publication. Now if you wish to print this feedback or not, I am a Ex-fan of Flipkart, and I was waiting to read an article to know something like this, which instills confidence in us in an old saying that everything that glitters is not gold. Flipkart : - Do what you are doing, focus on customers and please do not cheat, you are too big now to cheat the customer or the investor, if you are. If you are not, you are going right. But please get your attitude modest. Forbes India: Please get to good journalism and concentrate on giving the right headlines. The headline 'what's wrong with flipkart' is not apt and you are not a HR magazine to concentrate on that aspect majorly ignoring the business aspect.

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Ashish

      Since you already accept and agree to many issues present at Flipkart, why dont you also accept that someone else can and may come up with different conclusions. If that happens, why take it as an affront. This is a process of debate. Further, if you really have real stuff to tell, Sachin would have countered on financials, on why he did not reply earlier, on why decision making remains coterised. It would have made him a bigger man. His fear lurks somewhere in his writing. For one - 1. He himself was not involved in the revised version of the article. 2. try to argue on areas which are easy 3. Why others may have a different opinion of his company but how it remains immaterial since it does nothing to help him build his company. It is wrong to expect everything is right with posterboys of the world. If someone brings out the truth, we dont need to see it as an attack. it is just a debate.

      on Jun 25, 2012
  • Ashish

    Why is it that when someone finds something unpalatable, he/she tends to pick the most easy (but highly hazardous) route - accuse the writer/magazine having vested interests! Reader-writer relationship is like husband-wife's. Even though you may not appreciate other person's opinion does not make it a reason to accuse other person of vested interests. If there was a reason why one picked up this magazine earlier (due to its quality, writers, independent stand, objective writing or even sensationalism. Whatever your reason is) then that reason does exists even today. If the magazine deviates from that position, markets will react to it and the mag will suffer. And why is it that Flipkart cannot have issues of its own (i personally know a lot of people from that company and it is one awesome company). BUt what if the writer arrives at these conclusiosn that are different than mine? It is okay, because i don't think i know it all. And there is a pride in knowing more about things. As for the accusations of closed decision making, i have heard a lot stories that support this arguments very much. But knowing it does not reduce the respect i have for Flipkart . Same way, knowing that Flipkart is a good company does not make me close my eyes and ears to reality. Be open is that mantra!

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Susheel Kumar

    Sachin Bansal, at some point of time, last year, wrote to me, me being a regular customer of flipkart, that 'I should look elsewhere to make my future purchases' if I was expecting better customer service than the one that they already have. Well, all I was expecting from them was Invoice in my name and not the giftee's name everytime I made purchases. I was expecting that Flipkart delivers products on time, some times they did not send the product for more than 10 days. I wrote to the CEO citing these problems and told him that I always looked up to you as you started from scratch and built Flipkart, but his reply was too 'reacting' rather than convincing as a CEO, he wrote like a hawker. He also asked me if I was a reseller because I ordered products to gift to various people across the country. Magnanimity should come from the heart of a leader and show in his words. Please everytime a star shines, do not forget, a comet falls.

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Ashish

      rightly pointed out. If sachin Bansal was so worried about building a great comoany, then stop whining. His reply smells less than stellar performance of his company. he should better focus on building his company whihc is already doing great.

      on Jun 25, 2012
  • Praveen Hari

    Dear IG, The story Forbes has chosen to do on Flipkart, I think is an attempt to tarnish the image of one of India's finest start-up successes. You and your team may have your own motivations behind doing such a story and I don't even want to know what they are. Give some credit to the bunch of guys who have done a splendid job of building one of the finest e-commerce portals in India and executing the idea to perfection. You guys must be really kidding when you compare Flipkart with Indiaplaza and the way both the companies stock inventory. If Indiaplaza was 'the' idea how come no one wanted to bet on them or their strategy? And as for the culture, I am really not sure if you or your colleagues ever worked in a start-up. Please understand as founders you tend to count on people who deliver and you could get counted too if you have delivered more than what is expected of you and contribute to the business. But in a fast paced, high growth environment like Flipkart, I think there is no room for B players with C attitude towards the business or the common goal and I am sure as founders none of us would have time for that kind of people. If Sachin or Binny didn't let them in to their inner circle the B player can either work hard to get there or leave the company and join Flipkart bashers and sulk with them. I know a Flipkart that offered a profile to someone who just walked in seeing a board outside that said "we are hiring" and when asked about compensation he said "anything works". They saw the passion here and I am sure he is not from the IIT-D Jwalamukhi Hostel. I know a Flipkart whose first order got fulfilled by buying a book in one of Bangalore's malls in Koramangala and hand delivered one of the Bansals. While these are inspirational and nice to hear stories, there might be another side full of horrific stories. But every coin has 2 sides and really depends on how you want to look at it. You can either present a story of success, story of hope, story of determination and grit and do the company a world of good or you can always present the dark side, sensationalize the story and sell more copies "this month". I think your team has been too short sighted and decided to take the latter approach where you want to increase your sales by a few percentage points. I am sure you will succeed for now but this might hurt your brand if you are to be serious about business journalism in India. For heaven's sake the guys have toiled hard to get where they are and they have braved all odds to get here. Don't try to discredit them. Write them off at your own risk. I guess one bad press cannot put a great idea like Flipkart down. If you think I am a Flipkart employee, you are mistaken and have never worked with Flipkart. I am just a guy who has been following the company for a while and a great admirer of the kind of things they do.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Ashwin Morey

    It is sad for Forbes India to sensationalize what is otherwise the norm in most companies. Be it a closed-knit inner circle or irregular financial statements, all of these are fairly common occurrences in most companies. Honestly it feels like a feeble attempt to cash in on Flipkart's success! Guys please respect the fact that despite all the seemingly negative factors, Flipkart today is the one of the biggest and most successful online business in India. It was in more than one ways a disruptor in how Indians shop. As the owner of an IT firm as well as a regular user of Flipkart' services, i firmly believe that we don't need to go overboard with factors that some feel are wrong.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Anonymous

    I think Sachin shouldn't have even replied to this article. The most successful of companies have always received such allegations including the best ones like Apple. Flipkart is a great company which is taking e-commerce to the next level in India so it shouldn't bother about such articles... Keep going and Livestrong!

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Arjun Malakar

    I agree with what Mayank has said in his comment. The whole thing seems like a case of paid and biased journalism. The story seems planted and IG's response is as pathetic. Flipkart is setting standards which our country has not seen previously and the best Frobes India could do is try and pull it down? This is something we Indians are best at anyway. Why could not the article be more balanced proposing ways which could take Flipkart even higher. The cover page graphics is even more pathetic. The worst kind of vindictive journalism I have seen.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Sumit Rai

    Injustice has been done and no amount of debate here or elsewhere will change it. Forbes India has benefited from publishing an attention seeking cover story. Flipkart is indeed the new 'darling' of the growing population of online shoppers (and for good reason), not many know Forbes launched in India 3 years back. So, this story gets them fresh readers - some of whom will stick. If the story was about how good Flipkart is, it would be just another story. But this one says, "What's wrong with Flipkart - India's e-commerce darling is headed for a fall". I for one walked a few steps back while passing a newstand last week to confirm if I read it correct. If this headline was not sensationalism, one may have to drop the word from the dictionary. On the other hand, it serves it's group concern Home Shop 18 which has failed miserably in service, culture, or quality by hitting the one competitor that has set market standards and continues to dominate. Speak of two birds with one stone.

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Kiran K

      Sumit - Have you ever ordered from HomeShop18?. They are pretty good and charges much lower than flipkart. You are mistaken if you order from flipkart at a higher price because of the aura that is "Suppoed to" exist in customer service. Check http://talkabouttech.com/2012/05/12/homeshop18-beating-flipkart-at-its-own-game/ for details. Flipkart services started deteriorating when they ventured into categories other than books. They are as bad as anyone else in Indian Ecom scene now

      on Jun 25, 2012
      • Sumit Rai

        I have made 51 orders on Flipkart starting 09.06.2009 of almost 2 lac in toto. Mostly books and DVDs, mobile accessories etc. My experience has been impeccable every single time. I am not swayed by their 'hype' so to say - I discovered and became a fan only because I could now get books in India I never imagined I could. The customer service only came as a surprise and has indeed been shockingly positive. Some examples: a) I once ordered a book that had just won the Booker. Paid around 800 for it. The publisher cut the price in the next couple of days to 350 (higher volumes expectations). My order had shipped but not received it yet. I wrote an email (not expecting much) saying I felt stupid to have ordered early. They responded by giving me the new price and refunding the rest as store credit. There was no reason why should have indulged. b) I bought a DVD series box pack at 50% list price. Did not get around to watching it for almost 45 days. When put in the DVD on the 45th day, it didn't work. I wrote an email (again convinced nothing can be done since it was too late). They sent the new set within 4 days (no questions asked) and picked back the old one in the next few weeks. No ecom guy will ever do this. I understand that everyone's experience at customer service is different, but I can vouch on mine. Also, the extraordinary indulgence (like these) may not now be possible given the volumes (though I hope it continues). But if any company has shook the market sheerly by a flexible customer service approach (as opposed to standard responses) it is Flipkart. Jealously is fine. But why not instead copy it. Also I find the democratic structure blah blah argument in running an organization absolute rubbish. Be it Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or most other innovators, they have been closely held and centrally controlled. If its not centrally controlled, it will be run by "industry standard" and never spring innovations - bold ones.

        on Jun 25, 2012
  • Ravi

    The article by Forbes states the truth. The culture part is pretty close. I know some senior ex-employees of Flipkart who shared the same story -- the opacity of the Bansals, their closed minded-ness to views other than their owns or of their loyalists. Anyone with an independent and diversely different view from Bansals or the inner circle may not be welcome -- is obvious from various conversations. Kudos to Forbes India for not licking the boots of surely going-to-be rich startup guys but stating facts of the rotten culture thats a part of large portion of India's corporate and startup life. Few people call the crap out. Forbes India has just done that. In reality nothing much will happen. The VCs will pat their backs and write nice sounding personal notes to them and carry on. Perhaps they should rethink their investments and whether the current management team is the right one.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • S... you flipkart

    What is your problem with flipkart management?. Obviously they were taking huge losses to acquire customers and have ran out of funding. When you were a darling of everyone everything was fun and hunky dory and when people point fingers at you there is an issue with people. Please shut down your shop fast and after reading this article I think you will shut it down faster than I thought you will :D.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Praveen Kumar

    As a close observer of how technology business is covered in Indian media, I thought that the cover story, the CEO's response to it, and the counter response from the editor were all weak in substance. In accusing Forbes India of bias and polarised reporting, Mr. Bansal is employing a very clever, but crude, strategy to take focus away from some of the more serious insinuations by the magazine. And in not spotting it correctly, Mr. Gupta also responded in an inane fashion. Last year around the same time, Forbes India carried a cover story on ecommerce and the reporting team managed to miss some prominent ecommerce players - including one from their own fraternity - homeshop18.com! While it is tempting to think that magazines like Forbes provide authoritative reporting on the subjects they cover, there are too many instances when they do less than complete job of painting a fuller picture.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Anubhav

    Company Culture being in question is a fad these days, so not much to worry about Mr. Bansal, however, issues raised on the veracity of your financial statements needs to be taken seriously. Given the fact that, Forbes is a much more established brand than flipkart, people will definately take their statements more seriously. However, nothing much to worry about uptill you are able to put smiles on your current & prospective customers' faces.

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Ambrish

    Forbes India As an avid reader of business journalism, I tend to agree with most of the points (not all) mentioned by Sachin Bansal in his rebuttal. Your story on Flipkart is an attempt in sensational journalism. His point on carrying statistics on people with educational backgrounds different from theirs (i.e. not from IIT - D) is very vaild as it would have helped us form better opinion. The issue of culture as rightly mentioned by Mr. Bansal is a 'nebulous' one and is subject to multiple interpretations. Yes, may be there is a strong inner circle in Filpkart but if they are taking the right decisions for the organisation and customer - its only fair. Having worked in few large organisations, let me tell you many a times the decisions are made by an inner set of senior management employees and rest have to adhere to the same and implement. A well run organisation need not put every action well thought by a competent bunch of people 'to vote'. In that scenario - Apple's story would be sure to attract only brick bats from your reporter Rohin (at least on the culture aspect). Yes, as clarified by Mr Gupta - the responses on financial practises adopted by Flipkart does require more inputs. But the undue impotance given to the culture aspect of Flipkart does 'undermine' your investigative journalism quite substantially. Also, the points made by Mr Bansal about twitter promotions too can be ignored as they are more a rant about a 'not so great story' about their company. Lastly, the reader does have a mind of its own and if this was an attempt to attract more long term readership - your publication did not do a great job!!

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • sameer gupta

    To your last point , here i am trying to draw my own conclusions :) http://www.quora.com/Flipkart/What-can-be-interpreted-from-forbes-article-about-possible-fall-of-flipkart

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Quora

    What can be interpreted from forbes article about possible fall of flipkart?... Related : Venture Capital: What makes lack of clarity over accounting strategies of a venture a deal-breaker for investment committees or venture capital funds ,but not for hedge funds? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dofqKd-51yc&feature=player_emb...

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • theswamy

    Articles that don't propose solutions to problems are just gossip. It would've been awesome if the great brand called Forbes had written an article saying "How Flipkart can be even more successful". Forbes Magazine - you CAN & SHOULD do better!!!

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Ravi

      In response to "Theswamy"-- i think this guy is making sensational statements. Forbes India is calling out the need for introspection on the rotting culture in Indian startups of basically inexperienced guys. They started something -- maybe some experienced folks need to run the organization to scale it. The IIT-D youngsters and their closed group has had enough of a fun ride. All of these are solutions really -- pointing out the need to view critically the hiring policies of companies and how people group up and screw outsiders in companies. Surely theswamy cannot read between the lines for the solution!

      on Jun 25, 2012
  • arunpurohit

    If you give me a billion dollars to burn, I can become customer obsessed company and ship Condoms in a Mercedez Benz I can then have a word of mouth from delighted customers saying ..I am out of the world . My silly shipment came in a Mercedez free of cost with Cash on Delivery ? Is that a business ? I need education sir, or I will continue to envy the intelligence of Tigers and Accels.

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Gopal S Golan

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

      on Jun 26, 2012
  • sangram

    Why does Sachin not defend the business model and financial stability and prospective profitability of Flipkart and focus only on defending the culture?

    on Jun 25, 2012
  • Pradeep Mehta

    Dear Mr. Gupta, Having read your cover story, Mr. Bansals response and your response to the same I would like to put forward my views on Forbes and Flipkart. I have been a Forbes reader right from the 1st issue in India and I have been a loyal client of Flipkart for over a year now. For few reason I feel Forbes has not done justice to Flipkart in the cover story. Of what I understand from Mr. Bansals response is that they agreed to be interviewed based on certain expectations from Forbes. Flipkart has spent alot of time positioning itself in the market and it obviously expects (when being on Forbes cover page) to be focused on key issues they feel are important and the way it is picturised. I am the founder/owner of a start up in Hyderabad and was interviewed by many local papers and magazines here. The initial discussion about what was the focus of the interview and what gets published were totally different. It not only created difficulties to position ourself in the market (cause of the wrong perception of the reporter/author) it also took us a while and cost us to over come the damage. And all this for no direct interest in the business of the interviewee. As a journalist i understand you need to publish facts and your views. Your views end of the day are not facts, they are just opinions based on certain data gathered from various direct and indirect sources. But those opinions should not become a base to project the negatives of ones hard work. In this matter I do go with Mr. Bansal and not appreciate the way Forbes and your response to Mr. Bansal have worked on the cover story. Regards, Pradeep

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Shiwani

      If a company wants the publication to sing peans about them and print what they want, then they can always pay and get an advertisement. And if readers expect journalists / magazines to give solutions to the company's business problems they are looking in the wrong place. They should look at business consulting firms to provide solutions. The job of a journalist and a publication is to do their research / interviews and share their "perspective". Which is what the story does. Like Indrajit said, readers are smart and have to form their own opinion. If you are finding it difficult to digest the journalist's perspective then as a reader you have the freedom to do your own research further to form your own opinions.

      on Jun 25, 2012
      • Ashish T

        Very well said, Shiwani. a person picks up a magazine what the writer had to say. If he/she does not like it, then that's part of writer-reader relationship. You don't accuse the writer.

        on Jun 25, 2012
  • Ajit

    Everybody is seeing that flipkart is losing customers loyalty. Look at some of the relevant blogposts - phandroid.com/2012/06/23/warning-to-our-indian-readers-be-wary-while-buying-devices-from-flipkart dearflipkart.blogspot.com http://sushrutbidwai.com/?p=271

    on Jun 25, 2012
    • Rajashekar G.

      "What's wrong with Flipkart - India's e-commerce darling is headed for a fall" If this isn't sensationalism, tell me what is. The headline plus the cover image makes it seem like a foregone conclusion that Flipkart will fail.

      on Jun 25, 2012
  • Mayank

    Forbes, your arguments are really not as logical as you want to make them sound. Investigative journalism is great - but making comments such as a company should not care about its direct competitors because board members said competition is not a benchmark - you have got to be kidding us if you use that kind of a defense-mechanism. Of course, every single company cares about competition, and if an employee who is working at a competing firm speaks against Flipkart, its just one man's word against another's. Also, you guys say many employees spoke 'off-the-record' - really, what is in it to make the reader believe these employees are not fictitious? I am an avid Forbes reader, but sensationalist stories like these mean I will definitely looking at better avenues to satiate my appetite for business-related journalism.

    on Jun 25, 2012
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