Ranjith Boyanapalli is no stranger to e-commerce; he’s been in the industry for nearly two decades now. During eight years at Flipkart, Boyanapalli rose to become a senior vice president at the company, leading three divisions: customer experience, marketplace business and fintech and payments.
At Flipkart, Boyanapalli was exposed to the intricate dynamics of online shopping as it matured in the country. One category of customers he was particularly drawn towards was the “power shopper”, which he defines as anyone who carries out around 100 transactions a year across 15-20 merchants.
A Companion for Power Shoppers
“And I was one of them,” he admits. “So I was a high frequency, high diversity power shopper. I just felt that there could be a far better method to the madness that was happening. and we did consumer research, and it was clear that powershoppers, in general, have trouble with two or three things.”
Boyanapalli said these issues included:
- Massive promotional spam flooding shoppers’ inboxes
- Trouble in active tracking of orders across various platforms
- Insights of past orders
- A lack of acknowledgment as a power user as no one platform had access to all shopping data
This is what spurred the idea for Flash.co in Boyanapalli’s mind – a companion app designed to streamline and organize e-commerce communications on one single platform.
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The app uses sophisticated algorithms that separate spam from transactional emails with precision. For the user, this translates to a clutter-free inbox where transactional emails are not just visible but easily accessible. Power shoppers, who often juggle multiple transactions, can use the app to navigate their e-commerce communications.
Moreover, a user can either create a separate Flash.co ID or link their existing gmail ID to the app. Boyanapalli explains that the app also allows users to view all their transitional histories with a number of brands and track delivery times in a single place.
The app has a dedicated page for each brand, where users can view their specific shopping relationship with that brand. Using artificial intelligence, the app also offers a bunch of rewards using the data and insights gathered from a user’s shopping trends to reward power shoppers in meaningful ways.
The Flash.co app has been up and running for around six months now. Boyanapalli says the firm has more than 1 lakh Flash.co IDs so far and processes hundreds of thousands of orders every month.
“The initial traction has been very very strong. In fact, it’s also gone a lot of new invested interest and things are progressing well on that front as well,” he says.
In September, Flash.co raised $6.7 million (about ₹55.7 crore) in a funding round led by venture capital firms Blume Ventures and PeerCapital.
The company says it has partnered with over 100 brands, such as Flipkart, Myntra, Samsung and Puma, for rewards. however, Boyanapalli says rewards are just an additional incentive and do not form the core experience of the app, which is to focus on streamlining the shopping experience.
Flash.co has recently added cab rides and flights and hotel bookings to its app as it diversified into new product categories. Boyanapalli is especially excited about this. “So, the next time you go to the airport, I want to open the flash after showing your boarding pass,” he says.
His vision for Flash.co is not confined to the Indian market as he views it as a “category-defining” product that will have an audience in other markets as well. He says the app is poised to enter the US market by the end of the year-end. He’s also looking to expand into other countries with high e-commerce penetration and an English-speaking user base like Singapore, UK and Australia.
Boyanapalli is committed to making the shopping experience even more fluid and rewarding for users. “I think it all starts with a concept or a bug, an idea, a change that you want to see in the world. And as you get more and more conviction about it and confidence about it over a period of time, you just want to drop everything and go make that happen,” he says.
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