Inclusive innovation has been pivotal to the rapid growth of India’s economy and its retail industry, and Flipkart has played a key role in this growth. Our technology innovations have connected the remotest parts of the country and made e-commerce accessible to customers residing in the heart of India, the tier-2 & 3 cities and towns. In this Q&A with Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart, he reveals the work behind our capacity to handle immense demand, surpassing even global search giants, and how we’re using technology to make e-commerce accessible to all of India at the swipe of a finger.
Flipkart’s flagship sale of the year, the Big Billion Days, is a phenomenon that creates records year-on-year. It’s the most anticipated shopping season for our 500+ million customers spread across India. At Flipkart, our ongoing mission is to ensure that digital adoption is no just a mere concept, but a reality. We aim to make e-commerce accessible to every customer in the country, regardless of their location. Our commitment lies in crafting tailor-made, indigenous innovations that resonate with the diverse needs of India, ensuring that the benefits of technology are felt by all.
BBD is more than numbers, it’s about catering to every Indian’s dreams ー personalization at its peak. Here, every shopper, irrespective of their affluence or regional background, is met with tailor-made offerings that resonate with their individuality. An interface where the mere swipe of a finger opens up realms of rich media, where intelligent assistants powered by cutting-edge technology anticipate desires before they’re spoken.
In this Q&A with Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart, uncover the secrets behind Flipkart’s ability to manage colossal spikes in demand, a feat that outshines even global search giants, and discover the innovations that empower customers to explore online commerce in ways previously unimaginable.
Scaling for consumer demand is a top priority for Flipkart leading up to the Big Billion Days. Could you add a little perspective to this in terms of technology?
During the Big Billion Days, our scale is monumental. We handle an enormous volume of 1.5 million requests per second when the sale opens, showcasing our ability to manage extreme spikes in customer demand. To put this into perspective, our volume far surpasses even that of global search giants in average search queries per second.
This peak volume is a testament to the substantial scale at which we operate during this period. We aim to break our own records every year, and this time, we’re prepared to process over 2,000 orders per second on the Flipkart app, demonstrating our capacity to handle unprecedented demand.
How do Flipkart’s personalization efforts enable every Indian customer to shop with ease?
Over the past two years, we’ve focused extensively on personalization. Using our user selection, ranking, and relevant data science models, we’ve launched dedicated properties catering to various categories and regional preferences. This effort ensures a highly personalized experience for our diverse customer base.
For our customers with specific regional preferences, our platform tailors recommendations and offerings, enhancing their shopping experience significantly. This level of personalization reflects our commitment to understanding and meeting the unique needs of every customer. We have also decluttered the homepage and ensured a people-first app design that helps users make informed purchase decisions with ease.
What innovations have been made in the core Search product, especially in the context of fashion and lifestyle?
One of the notable innovations in our core Search product is the introduction of Immerse, a revolutionary search feature. Immerse allows users to utilize images along with descriptions, helping them articulate their search queries, particularly for fashion and lifestyle products. This visual approach enables customers to refine their searches efficiently and find products that align with their preferences.
For customers in tier 2 & 3 cities and towns, this will be a game changer in their experience with e-commerce. This innovation represents a paradigm shift in how users interact with our platform, making the search process more intuitive and effective.
This year, we also introduced an innovative chat assistant called ‘Flippi’, powered by advanced GenAI technology, on the Flipkart app. ‘Flippi’ has transformed the way consumers shop by offering personalized product suggestions tailored to individual tastes, budgets, and preferences. Acting as a knowledgeable guide (much like a shopping assistant), ‘Flippi’ assists customers with fashion tips, budget-friendly choices, and age-appropriate selections, enhancing their online shopping journey. While currently available in English, ‘Flippi’ will soon be multilingual, making it accessible to a broader audience and simplifying online shopping decisions for millions of users.
#FlipkartNews: @Flipkart introduces ‘SwipeScreen’; brings the power of #GenAI & video-led discovery to millions of Indians ahead of the festive season.
• Introduces Flippi, a chat-based shopping assistant, and Vibes, a video-led on-app browsing experience.… pic.twitter.com/xjUwys323A
— Flipkart Stories (@FlipkartStories) October 4, 2023
Our Customer First ethos has also extended to our tailor-made constructs specifically designed to cater to the preferences of GenZ and millennials. Recognizing their inclination towards interactive and intuitive experiences, we’ve implemented left-swipe and right-swipe functionalities. These gestures allow users to navigate seamlessly, landing on ‘Vibes,’ our new destination property rich in media content for product discovery. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, this feature enhances the shopping experience for GenZ and millennials, aligning with their interactive preferences.