Flipkart crossed the 100 million user base past week. This makes it the 3rd start-up after PayTM and Hike to achieve these feet. So does the user base have any significance or is it a metric like Gross Merchandise Value that doesn’t mean anything!

Let’s forget the revenue bit and focus on the fact what does the user base of 100 million really mean for a business. For starters, it really validates the fact that the idea is scalable and has a large enough market to address which is pretty obvious.

If you had to draw a parallel between all these three start-ups to understand what really worked for them then the checklist seems to have ticks at the same set of items.

Lessons from Indian Brands with 100 million Users

Hyper-Focused on the Product 

Every business or idea starts with questions what problem are you trying to solve and it doesn’t have to be a world changing idea. As Elon Musk rightly puts it “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” Only when you are focused on solving the problem you continue to do it in spite of the possible risks involved.

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

The best entrepreneurs don’t get distracted by the noise around then when they are focused on solving the problem. AirBnB founders sold cereal boxes just to make sure they have enough cash reserves to run the business before they raised funding from venture capital. The idea of becoming the e-bay of space evolved from the time it was conceived to where the brand currently stands.

Listening & Talking to Users

Brands that make it to the top always listen to the users and make sure they address the concerns before they snowball into bitter customer experience. Hike launched Hike Direct for users to download and chat without the internet to ensure they address large base of 2G users in India who run out of data packs towards the end of the month. They only managed to gather this insight when they listened to the user made sense of the churn on the app.

Growth (Building Stickiness)

Building stickiness for the product is the secret sauce that holds the brand together. Great brands are all about repeat purchase & retention. Stickiness comes from building great customer experience. Flipkart in spite of competition in early days from likes of Infibeam, IndiaPlaza, and others, was able to hold its users together due to it’s on time delivery. The brand paid close attention to the fact that last mile logistics was a key parameter on which users would rate their experience. Similarly, Zoho in spite of facing fierce competition from likes of Salesforce still continues to add users for the simplicity of its solutions.


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