‘E-Commerce Marketplace – Trust & Safety View’ by Mr. Krishna Veer Singh, Director- Marketplace at Flipkart
A Pizza – with mushrooms, pepperoni and extra cheese – from a pizza hut in Santa Cruz, California, is said to be the first true online purchase ever made. Today, with approximately 3.17 billion people using internet worldwide, everything you want is just a click away. Of course we all know the buzz word – Yes, “ecommerce” it is. For the managers of tomorrow it has become all the more important to know this very ecommerce marketplace, its day in and day out working, as well as related developments and best business practices. And who better than an industry veteran can explain these nuances?
On the 28th of October’15, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur, welcomed Mr. Krishna Veer Singh, Director Marketplace, Flipkart, to present a lecture on “E-Commerce Marketplace – Trust & Safety View”. It feels great when an IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus visits your institute and tells you that it was the best hospitality he ever received from a college. With this positive note the lecture commenced.
The initial few minutes were a quick walk through the story of evolution of e-commerce in Indian context. This was coupled with Mr. Singh narrating his personal experience of first online purchase – the general scepticism among friends and relatives – which everyone sitting in the room could relate to. Then he went on to explain how buyer seller interaction improved, the watershed moment of the ecommerce industry and the buying cycle that followed. By citing eye catchy examples like – Apple vs Samsung – the speaker approached product and service sector concepts very subtly and within no time the entire room of above 100 students were actively interacting with him. The conversation then switched to ‘Marketplace’ in general and ‘ecommerce Marketplace’ in particular. Relating this to what we study in our day to day Marketing and Finance books, like – cost to capital concept, controlled processes, market positioning etc. – was something that went on making the interaction more and more binding.
We were then introduced to one of the domains of Mr. Singh’s expertise, ‘Trust & Safety’. After giving us an overview of the numerous trust and safety issues existing in the ecommerce industry, Mr. Singh went on to take diverse questions – MRP issues, reviews issues, fake customers etc. – and adding a tinge of personal industry experience to his answers, he so subtly managed to clear our doubts that we could hardly feel that we were completely new to this topic of discussion. All of this was then related to the current Flipkart scenario and what they were doing to overcome these issues.
The best part of the lecture was that, at every point our thought process was directed in such a manner that we would come up with the answers to our own questions. And also, it did not end with this ecommerce topic related discussion. We were given insights as to how we need to manage this B-school phase and make the best out of it. Learning from someone who has already played the game and emerged winner will not ensure your success, but will surely help you in understanding the rules of the game better. And Mr. Singh explained the rules really well.