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INTRODUCTION

Marketing management refers to the process of accessing and improvising the current marketing strategies that a company uses in order to achieve higher success through their efforts.  This report is about an electronic commerce company named as 'Flipkart', headquarters in Bangluru, India. It sales number of products online which includes consumer electronic, books, lifestyle, baby care and many more. This assignment talks about the background of e-commerce  and market positioning as well as USP used by Flipkart (Baker,2016). Further it includes description of market audit conducted using SWOT & PESTLE analytical tool. Apart from this it explains about marketing mix of company and methods to improve it.

MAIN BODY

Marketing refers to the set of activities that are used for communicating the information as well as importance of a commodity in order to influence customers to purchase product or services. Marketing management is defined as the process of analysing, planning, applying and controlling the program designed for approaching the target market and for achieving the desired outcome. Flipkart is an online retailer of India, which sell its product or services using its own website throughout the world.

Background:-

E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of good or services online with the help of World Wide Web. E-commerce market is consider to be one of the most powerful and fastest growing sector of the world. With the emergence of information technology, E-commerce market has also gained popularity in India and this revolution has changed the whole scenario of doing business in country. Now, Indian E-commerce market is now expected to grow up-to US$ 200 billion by 2026. Introduction of smartphones, 4G networks and increasing customer wealth are consider to be main reason behind the popularity of e-commerce market in India. With the e-commerce revolution, number of retail companies also started selling their product or services online to achieving higher revenue and sale (Fernandez,  Le Roy and Gnyawali, 2014). Retail companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon etc. are the greatest promoter of e-commerce business in India. According to present scenario, online retail sale in India is expected to increase by 31% in upcoming year.

Apart from this government of India also promoted the use of e-commerce by providing various opportunities to businessmen by initiating several schemes Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India and innovation fund. In these schemes government provider loans to small business so that they can expand their business over an e-commerce platform. The timely implementation of these programs support the growth and existence of E-commerce in India.

Flipkart Pvt. Ltd is one of the largest Indian E-commerce company, headquartered in Bengaluru. It was founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal in year 2007 when they use to sell books online. It was the most riskier decision taken by them to sell product online as that time e-commerce was not much exists. After gaining popularity company expanded its business in other product categories such as mobile phones, music, movies, etc. With the momentum gained by e-commerce in India, Flipkart started offering different range of products and now it offers more than 80 million products categories which includes computer and accessories, laptops, books, lifestyle products, home appliances, electronic goods, baby care, toys, jewellery and many more (E-commerce Industry in India, 2018).

Flipkart positioned itself as a customer friendly and trust worthy e-commerce brand by launching its 'cash on delivery' services. This option help in developing confidence as well as trust among online buyer. As they hesitate to pay online or disclose their financial information on web page. Cash on delivery option influence target market up to a large extent for purchasing products online. Further company also put more effort toward improving the supply chain system   for delivering product or services on timely manner. These positioning helped Flipkart in maximizing their customer share in market and now company has more than 100 million registers customers.  

Apart from this company's unique selling preposition also support company to achieve such heights in e-commerce industry. Flipkart targeted customer support services as their USP, where more than 2500 staff work 24/7 for offering better services to their customers (Flipkart – Company Profile, 2016). It also manage its own supply chain which includes warehouses and distribution centres across 13 cities of India. Other USP of Flipkart are quality and original product, genuine Feedback & rating  etc. These all unique selling preposition assists Flipkart in achieving popularity and building trust among target customers.

Market audit of Flipkart

Market audit refers to the process of thoroughly reviewing the firm's marketing approach, activities and aims to determine the potentiality and viability of current market strategies. It includes evaluation of business environment both internally as well as externally which further help company in identifying the area of improvement. These finding help in formulating the plan which support in enhancing the performance of the company. This analyses can be better performing using two analytical tools such as SWOT or PESTEL which help in accessing the current market condition and strategies to be formulate for further growth of the company.

SWOT analysis of Flipkart:-

Swot is a analytical and strategical tool which help in accessing the business environment to formulate growth strategies and eliminates various  threats that may affect the functioning of business. It is abbreviated as Strength, Weakness, Threat and Opportunities. This analysis will help Flipkart in identifying the actions to be taken for improving their weaknesses and eliminating threats that may affect its operations (SWOT analysis of Flipkart, 2018). Further it also support in grabbing the opportunities that are present in market which take it new heights. Following table describes about the SWOT of Flipkart:

Strength

Weakness

· Greatest strength of Flipkart is that it offer more than 80 million product categories which ranging from lifestyle product to electronics and kitchen appliances.

· It invest more over improving the supply chain system to ensure timely delivery of product or services through its own e-kart platform. Flipkart has more than 4100 couriers in the world.

· Company has tie ups with various big brands like Apple, Xiaomi and Motorola which help them in getting regular supply of product (Guesalaga, 2016).

· Company has logistic support from ekart   which ensures delivery of product on time.

· Due to huge competition present in market, lead company to invest more promotional activities for acquiring the attention of customers toward its products.

· Distribution channels of Flipkart is limited as compare to other competitors such as Amazon, eBay.

· It offers discount over their products during billion sales day which is too high for the company that they hardly make revenue as expected.

· Less knowledge about internet as well as negative perception about online selling in small cities leads to decrease in sale of product or services.

Opportunities

Threats

· Flipkart can expand its product ranges by adding other categories for example furniture.

· Improving the online payment system by adding more authentication process help in building up more trust in the mind of customers. This help in increasing the number of customers as well as volume of sale (Hakansson,  2015).

· Expand its global accessibilities also help company in growing faster in terms of number of customers as well as revenue generation.

· Promotion using social media sites leads company to approach youth that help in maximizing the market share of Flipkart.

· Increasing competition from international players such as Amazon, eBay etc. is consider to be the main threat for Flipkart. As these players are trying to grab each others market share.

· Switching cost is very low due to number of options available in front of customer. As same product is available and displayed by several other online retailers which may be at cheaper rate.

· Government regulation is also affecting the operations of Flipkart. As according to new GST bill the cost of selling goods online is increased in India. This may decrease the number of transaction which further can affects the revenue of company.  

PESTLE analysis:-

It is an analytical tool which is used by companies to identify various factors present in external environment which have an direct impact over the operations of firm. By using this analysis company can formulate strategies which help them in dealing with threats that are present in external environment and may hinder the functions of company. This tool consists of six macro environmental factors such as political, legal, social, technological, legal and environmental (Iacobucci, 2014). By using this analysis tool Flipkart can identify various threats that are present in external environment and  need to be consider while performing business activities. Further it also help in identifying various opportunities present in external environment which support Flipkart in expanding their business and in achieving higher growth. Following points shows the Pestle analysis of Flipkart:

  • Political:- It includes factors related to governmental regulation and political stability which may affect over the operations of Company. It includes government policies, tax policy, trade restrictions etc. Government of India is currently planning for boosting up the economy of rural area by promoting digitalization to each area of country. For promoting this growth government of India provide various schemes such as Digital India, Make in India, innovation fund (Karjaluoto, Mustonen and Ulkuniemi, 2015). This has open up number of opportunities for Flipkart as they can sell their products to other untapped part of country. Apart from it also brings some threats for company as new regulation may be formulated for E-commerce industry to promote economical growth which leads to modification in business operations of company. Further, this step of Indian government also open up the entry option other international retailers such as Amazon, eBay etc. which increases the competition in market.   
  • Economical:- It includes factors such as economical growth, exchange rate, inflation, disposable income, interest rate etc. which affects the profitability and way a business operates. E-commerce industry in India is one of the fastest growing sector and also bring number of opportunities for Flipkart to grow. With the increase in income level of people lives in India leads to increase in demand of commerce platform for purchasing and selling the good or services. Further there are other positive factors that help in promoting the growth of Flipkart such as increasing in the living standard of population, literacy related to information technology, less tax over online purchase and busy schedule. These all factors leads to maximizing the use of online platform to make purchases.
  • Social:-It is also known as socio-cultural factors and it includes shared believes, values and attitudes poses by customers. These factors affects the demand for company's product or services.  Plans of Indian government toward spreading the knowledge and literacy regarding the use of computer and internet proves to be a better opportunity for Flipkart to exert their services to rural areas (Kowalkowski and et. al., 2015). Further company also focuses over improving and delivering the better customer support services for maximizing the level of customer satisfaction. Company has more than 2500 staff members that work toward providing services and solving the queries of customers 24/7. this help them in building trust among customers.

Apart from this Flipkart is also take a step toward improving the work life of their employees by contributing toward day care expenses for their parents, maternity leaves also revisited. In addition to this, average age of employees working in Flipkart is 29 years which provide better solution as well as trending practices that help in delivering better services.

  • Technological:-It includes factors like change in technology used, new methods of producing or distributing products, technological up gradation and  new innovation. These factors have direct impact over the way in which company market its product or services. With the increasing demand of using smart phone, company started offering their product or services over their own mobile application. It is assumed that Flipkart will go all mobile in upcoming future (Lovelock and Patterson, 2015)  In addition to this mobile apps also allows its users to use more customized and easier payment methods which results in increase number of visitors. Apart from this company also provide new innovated product or services to their customers in order to maintain their number of visitors over their website. It includes newly launched mobile phones and other electronic items.
  • Environmental:-These factors includes changes in the weather condition as well as various laws related to safety and protection of environment which are required to be followed by a company in order to market its product in that geographical area. Flipkart is not involve in any sort of activities which harm environment as it perform its business operations using e-commerce platform. Rather it encourage consumption  of more product or services by adopting various sales promotion activities to attract customers for buying more.
  • Legal:-This factor includes various laws and regulations such as health & safety law, advertising standards, consumer rights & law, employment law, product labelling & product safety. It is very essential for a company to identify various laws that are required to compel with in order to operates their business effectively and legally (Lusch and Vargo, 2014). There are number of legal issue faced by Flipkart which affected the reputation of company. This includes fake products delivered to customers from the suppliers lead the buyer file the case of fraud against the company. Secondly Zomato's breach resulted in the theft of client's data which increase the concern of company toward developing the ability of protecting the consumer data. This led Flipkart to be more aware about the property rights and trademark practices.

Further with the growth of e-commerce industry it also increase various types of government law and regulations implemented over companies like Flipkart which affected the operations of company. It includes new changes in GST tax of India leads to increase in the rate of selling online products. This leads to decrease in the revenue of the company.

From this above market analysis it can be determine that there are various threats present in environment which may affect the operation as well as profitability of the company. This includes, changing government regulation & taxation policies, increasing number of competitors,  lower switching rate of customers etc. But apart from this there are number of opportunities which are present in environment that help company to achieve higher growth (McColl-Kennedy and et. al., 2015). It includes increasing living standard & income level of population, governmental support toward digitalization and increasing use of smartphones. These all factors provide numerous growth opportunities to Flipkart in Indian e-commerce market.

Marketing mix actions

Marketing mix refers to the set of strategic activities or actions taken by company that help in promoting the product or brand in the marketplace. These strategies help company in achieving the higher market share which in turn will increase the volume of sale. Further it also help company in managing their strategies with current market trends. Marketing mix consists of  seven elements which are as follows:

  • Product:-Flipkart is an online retailer company based in India which offers number of product or services ranging from lifestyle products to electronic items. It deals in more than 80 million consumer product categories which is the main reason behind its largest market share in Indian e-commerce industry. But with the increasing popularity and usage of internet leads people to  search each product or services online. Therefore, it increase the use of online websites for purchasing commodities (Morschett, Schramm-Klein and Zentes, 2015). So in order to keep up with the demand of external environment company is required to maintain its stock to fulfil the demand of customers. As due to higher brand recognition and number of visitors, products get easily outdated. Increase in the stock volume leads to decrease in customer switching which provides maximum revenue. But apart from this it also leads to increase in inventory cost of Flipkart.  
  • Price:- Flipkart has developed its strongest marketing model which help them in competing with  other e-commerce players.  In this model company generally minimizes the price of their product by forcing the to compete among themselves for achieving higher revenue. This leads sellers to decrease the price of product which results in increasing the  number of customers (Papadopoulos and Heslop, 2014). Apart from this company also offer 1 day delivery services to their prime customers but charges extra service and installation amount. Increase in competition leads to minimizing or eliminating the cost of delivery for attracting customer to purchase products. But on the other hand Flipkart charges minimum 500 Rs., as a delivery charge this leads to buyer switching. So, company is required to minimize its delivery charges which are higher than that of competitors. This will help in reducing the customer switching but on the other hand it increase the cost of company.  
  • Place:-Flipkart is one of the greatest electronic commerce company, headquarters in  Bangaluru, India. It offer wide variety of product or services across various areas of country with more than 80 million product categories. It has number of distributors centres in more than 13 cities of India. But with the emergence of globalisation and use of internet leads to increase in the use of e-commerce platform for purchasing or selling the product Yang and Su,  2014). This leads to increase in competition in this industry and in order to cope with this situation Flipkart is required to expand its business in other countries. This help in restricting the competitors to destroy the demand of Flipkart's product. But on the other hand it leads to increase in the cost of exchange, inventory, operation cost etc.   
  • Promotion:-For promoting its product Flipkart currently uses Google, SEO and Ad-words services which leads customers to search their product as well as download mobile application. This app help customers in getting alert about new product, order status, current offers and various gift coupons (Sandberg  and Aarikka-Stenroos, 2014). It also uses TV commercials for displaying their creative and interesting advertisement. But on the other hand competitors are using various other sources to promote their brand such as social media site. Therefore, in order to keep up with current demand Flipkart is required to modify its promotion activities by adopting different channels of communication to promote their brand such as social media (Smith, 2016). This step will help in approaching the youth which are consider to be the largest segment for e-commerce market.
  • Process:-Flipkart uses several business processes for ensuring the smooth execution of services to customers. When a person open up the webpage of Flipkart, the offers and products are categorised over home page. By using this options customers can select the product of their choice. After selecting the product they can either add it to cart or buy by clicking over purchase option. When order is placed the product is packed, processed and shipped from the centre and send it to customers place through distributors. This process includes number of mediators through which product pass on which increase the time of delivery. Further it also leads to replacement of original product that affects the goodwill of the company. Hence, Flipkart is required to improve it current process in order to reduce the time of operations.
  • People:-Flipkart focuses more over delivery better services by hiring large number employees which work toward solving the issues of customers and providing better shopping experience. These employees work 24/7 to solve all the problems faced by customers while purchasing or using of product or services. But as their is increase in  use of advanced technology leads company to fail in various areas of operation which includes customer security, failure of network over internet, hacking of data (Swani, Brown, and Milne, 2014). This requires the company to recruit employees that are IT background which leads them to solve network security and other related issues quickly. But along with this it also somewhere increase the cost of recruitment as well as training & development cost.
  • Physical evidence:- Flipkart uses its own web page to sell its product or services online through out the country. It designs its website in such a way that customers can easily get the product they are searching for. Number of options or categories are placed over their which lead them to filter the product, brand and quantity they want (Wu, 2014). But on the other hand this websites is managed properly. As during its sales promotion, ads of offers get popped up every where which leads  customers frustrated and they exit the app. So company must manage their website properly so that  customers didn't get confused and frustrated.   

CONCLUSION

From the above report it can be summarized that it is very essential for a company to manage it marketing activities which help them in achieving higher success. It also help in determining various factors that are required to be improve ion order to improve their current marketing strategy. In order to analyse the internal and external environment, SWOT  as well as PESTLE consider to be the best analytical tool. These tools assess the various opportunities that help in further growth of a company. 

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REFERENCES

Baker, M. J., 2016. What is marketing?. In The Marketing Book(pp. 25-42). Routledge.

Fernandez, A. S., Le Roy, F. and Gnyawali, D. R., 2014. Sources and management of tension in co-opetition case evidence from telecommunications satellites manufacturing in Europe. Industrial Marketing Management. 43(2). pp.222-235.

Guesalaga, R., 2016. The use of social media in sales: Individual and organizational antecedents, and the role of customer engagement in social media. Industrial Marketing Management. 54. pp.71-79.

Hakansson, H., 2015. Industrial Technological Development (Routledge Revivals): A Network Approach. Routledge.

Iacobucci, D., 2014. Marketing management. Cengage Learning.

Karjaluoto, H., Mustonen, N. and Ulkuniemi, P., 2015. The role of digital channels in industrial marketing communications. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing. 30(6). pp.703-710.

Kowalkowski, C. and et. al., 2015. What service transition? Rethinking established assumptions about manufacturers' service-led growth strategies. Industrial Marketing Management. 45. pp.59-69.

Lovelock, C. and Patterson, P., 2015. Services marketing. Pearson Australia.

Lusch, R. F. and Vargo, S. L., 2014. The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions. Routledge.

McColl-Kennedy, J.R. And et. al., 2015. Fresh perspectives on customer experience. Journal of Services Marketing. 29(6/7). pp.430-435.

Morschett, D., Schramm-Klein, H. and Zentes, J., 2015. Strategic international management (pp. 978-3658078836). Springer.

Papadopoulos, N. and Heslop, L. A., 2014. Product-country images: Impact and role in international marketing. Routledge.

Sandberg, B. and Aarikka-Stenroos, L., 2014. What makes it so difficult? A systematic review on barriers to radical innovation. Industrial Marketing Management. 43(8). pp.1293-1305.

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