Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Opinion: Discount wars between Flipkart and Amazaon

If you buy books regularly from web, you would have noticed that 66% off on popular books (Independence Day offer) on Amazon got over last weekend. During the offer period, the books available on discount were also changing on almost daily basis. And I think Amazon was quite successful in attracting traffic and acquiring the new customers.

Flipkart responded to this offer by giving similar discounts on same titles but I could see that it was limited to very few titles. As Amazon ended the offer, Flipkart too was very quick to roll back. I suppose they use a software engine to match the prices. Amazing thing these algorithms do.

My order on Amazon got delivered in a card board box, books were safely arranged, some of the books were shrink wrapped and some were not. Delivery guy sported a Samsung smartphone for taking digital signature which helps in closing the transaction when customer signs on it. The only drawback was, delivery guy could accept only cash as he did not have the device to use my debit card. I just had to tender exact change.

While it is anybody’s guess that Amazon’s offer was a promotional effort, it showed that price wars can go any extent benefiting the customer at the expense of these portals. Now Indian consumers have a choice with Amazon whose breadth of inventory and service levels match with Flipkart. My friends & colleagues confirmed that they too are checking the prices on both sites before placing an order.

This is just the beginning. Let us wait and see where the intensity of completion between these two firms will lead to. Until then, book lovers can romance more books.