Ever since I started shopping at flipkart, I stopped visiting book shops. Flipkart is one site that I visit at least a few times every week and the size of my wishlist keeps growing. I have been absolutely fascinated by the experience of the site. Initially, they were peddling only with books and with time, they started dealing with mobile phones, electronic items etc. with some fancy advertising like 30-day money back guarantee. This is what I call an elaborate exercise of ‘chewing more than you can bite’.

As it is, the retail market for books is big and getting bigger – addressing this itself would mean a number of challenges like procurement, vendor relationships, logistics and payments. Add to this mix, the other products and we are multiplying the challenges by at least another 3-5x times. Looks like, they are bent on addressing all these challenges and coming out trumps. This in the short run will certainly increase their cash flow and would sound a great strategy, however in the long run they are bound to lose focus. This is only my assumption at this point and it can be disproved but the chances I foresee are slim.

In the last few weeks, I have been having issues with flipkart where one of the books that I ordered after seeing the availability did not get delivered. Initially, I received a mail stating that they would need 3 more days to process it. After 3 days, I was told that they are sorry about having not delivered and they don’t seem to find the book in any of their procurement channels and they cancelled the order. Today, one of the deliveries got messed up – the invoice details are right but the wrong book has been delivered. Cracks have started to show now in the efficiency and what appeared a winner through ‘word of mouth’ publicity is becoming messy with expensive advertisements and whole load of products.

Maybe, I am over-reacting here but could it be a classic case of lost focus? I keep my fingers crossed on the verdict and my take would be – the earlier they hive off other products and manage just books, the better it would be.