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Flipkart adds sports & fitness category

India's largest e-commerce firm Flipkart is expanding its product basket in a frenetic pace. Just two weeks after entering the high margin apparels segment with the launch of a new men's clothing section, Flipkart has added the 'sports & fitness' products.

At the time of launch we spotted some 2,435 SKUs on offer across sections such as team sports, racquet sports, outdoor & adventure, indoor sports, other sports and fitness accessories.

While the recent entry into apparels puts it bang opposite existing players in apparel e-tailing such as Rocket Internet's venture Jabong, Myntra (which has a few common investors with Flipkart), Yebhi, Fashionandyou and Zovi, the addition of sports & fitness as a category would also pitch it against Snapdeal and SportsNest.

Sports Nest Retail (India) Pvt Ltd, which runs a little over one-yea-old SportsNest, had last December raised an undisclosed seed funding from early stage investor Blume Ventures.

In April this year, Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd, which runs the daily deals and now horizontal e-com site Snapdeal.com, had acquired eSportsBuy.com, an online retailer of sports and fitness equipment and accessories. eSportsBuy was started in 2011 by IIT Delhi alumni Prateek Agarwal and Amit Monga. Snapdeal moved on to shut the acquired site and eSportsBuy now links back to Snapdeal's sports section.

In terms of SKUs, both Snapdeal and SportsNest appear to have a much wider basket compared to Flipkart. However, Flipkart would seek to capitalise on the eyeballs and returning traffic to its site.

The products can be filtered according to price (high to low and low to high) and brand.

In April, when the company had added pens and stationery, home appliances and perfumes to its product categories, we had asked Ravi Vora, VP, marketing at Flipkart about the company's expansion plans. At the time, he had mentioned, "Currently we offer products across 12 categories. Going forward, we will continue to expand the range of products available on Flipkart. Everything except groceries and automobiles are fair game for us."

The company had completed its fourth round of funding in August this year, raising an undisclosed amount from two new investors, MIH (part of Naspers Group) and ICONIQ Capital, besides participation from existing investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners. There is a strong chance it used the funding to fuel its expansion into apparels.

Here's a look at how the company has been adding new product verticals/categories this year.

Feb: Flipkart launches its online digital music store called Flyte (one of the first such e-com players to do so), and claims it is India's largest legal online music store.

April: Expands into pens and stationery, home appliances and perfumes.

May: Expands its lifestyle-related product verticals by introducing health and beauty, watches, belts, bags and luggage categories.

June: Adds a toy section to its product portfolio.

July 19 : Starts offering baby care products.

July 25: Forays into private label for digital accessories such as laptop bags and camera pouches, under the brand Digiflip.

October 4: Enters apparels segment.

Flipkart had also registered two new companies in India, which were recently approved — Flipkart Payment Gateway Services Pvt Ltd was approved on August 31 and Flipkart Marketplace Pvt Ltd was approved on September 12. And if the names are any indication of the things to come, it looks like the company is all set to launch its own online marketplace business. Or is it likely to integrate the marketplace into the existing site. What would you bet on?

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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