Tag Archives: ecommerce

2013: My year on Indian e-commerce sites

Just had this idea of checking and analyzing how much money I spent on various e-commerce sites and doing what. So here’s a quick post sharing the same with the hope that it might be of interest of people running various e-commerce sites or thinking of doing so in future.

In the year 2013 I swiped card/availed COD across Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, Amazon etc. Here’s quick glance of my purchases

1) Flipkart – Items Purchased: 58, Amount Spent: Rs 50,218

items purchased on flipkart
Split of items
Split of amount spent
Average price of a book I purchased on Flipkart is Rs 299 and average price of a footwear is Rs 876 (3 shoes and 4 sandals/flip flops)

2) Amazon.in – Items Purchased: 7, Amount Spent: Rs 6,598

Great thing about Amazon is that it already provides you an option to see all the purchases you made in that year
Search Order HistoryHere’s the split of purchases (6 books worth Rs 1,599 and a Kindle worth Rs 4,999)

Split of purchases on Amazon.in

3) Jabong – Items Purchased: 1, Amount Spent: Rs 1280

*I actually bought two items but had to return one for poor quality (return process was super smooth though)

Purchased a clothing item worth Rs 1280 during GOSF

4) Myntra – Items Purchased: 2, Amount Spent: Rs 3854/-

Purchased two clothing items worth Rs 3,854/- during GOSF

5) Others

a) Yepme: Items Purchased: 2, Amount Spent: Rs 998/-
b) Inkfruit: Items Purchased: 7, Amount Spent: Rs 3,738/-
c) Shopclues: Items Purchased: 1, Amount Spent: Rs 42/-
d) Bookadda: Items Purchased: 1, Amount Spent: Rs 667/-
e) Purplle.com: Items Purchased: 1, Amount Spent: ~ Rs 2500/-

Summary (Items Purchased: 80, Amount Spent: Rs 69,895/-, Spent some 8K during GOSF, alone, Spent some 11K on online bill payments/recharges)
item_vs_amount

A peak into my mind as an online shopper
1) Convenience very important but not more important than discounts. Moved my bill payments online. I do all my bill payments and DTH recharges on Paytm
2) Almost all my purchases have been via desktop (haven’t got myself to buying things via apps/mobile site yet.)
3) I’ve crossed the chasm from COD to swiping cards. I now prefer to pay online for most of my purchases. I don’t hesitate to swipe card for my first purchase on sites I’ve heard good deal about (Myntra, Jabong, Shopclues etc). Earlier my first purchase on a new site was on COD
4) I got comfortable enough to made a big ticket purchase (bought a laptop for around 30K from Flipkart)
5) Discounts/Offers have an influence on my purchase behaviour (both on pre-decided buys and impromptu purchases). I spent some
6) I trust most sites to deliver goods on time, offer quality goods and a customer friendly return/exchange policy
7) Flipkart’s scan (barcode) and search feature is quite handy for a quick online vs offline price comparison
8) I’ve grown to compare prices across sites before buying anything. I definitely use mysmartprice to compare book prices
9)  Wishlists and notifications are a great way for me to store items and decide when to purchase
10) As a heavy user I’ve figured some hacks to avail the max discount on certain items across some sites;-)

 

Assocham-Comscore State of eCommerce in India – Report

In Sep 2012 Assocham together with Comscore came out with a report on the Indian ecommerce Scene. It had some known and some new stats/key points. You can download the report here

Here are the main points 

Demographics
  1. 75% of online audience between the age group of 15-34 years
  2. Female population is about 40% of total users (July 2012)
Travel
  • The penetration in India is about 44% which is higher than the world average for travel
  • IRCTC get about 19.2% of all Indian online traffic (highest – 12mn uniques/month) followed by Makemytrip
  • Redbus gets about 2%
  • Surprise: Content type sites for ex: indiarailinfo (3.2%) and mustseeindia (2.3%)
  • Travelyaari and Makemytrip (2.3 mn uniques a month)
Retail
  • The penetration in India is about 60% which is lower than the world average for retail (72%)
  • Amazon gets about 15.4%, Flipkart (11.5% – 7.4 mn uniques/month), Snapdeal (11.1% – 6.9 mn uniques/month) of all India online traffic
  • Apparel is the most growing subsegment in retail
  • Flowers/gifts/greetings is the only subsegment with negative growth – 33% (Our coupons??)
Breakup of Payment Methods in India
  1. Direct Debit – 58% with avg transaction of 20$ (lowest)
  2. Visa – 21% with avg transaction of 48$
  3. Master card – 12% with avg transaction of 47$
  4. Cash on Delivery – 7% with avg transaction of 33$
  5. Others – 2% with avg transaction of 43$
  6. American Express cards apparently have the highest avg transaction size of 110$
IRCTC Specific Info 
  • SBI and SBI Direct – 29 +26 = 55% of all transactions
  • ICICI (17%), HDFC (14%)
  • Do a revenue of about 38 Cr
 Future 
  • Car rentals and bus booking online should go further up
  • home furnishing and lifestyle goods to contribute more
  • comparison shopping sites/apps to get more popularity

The Curious Case of Customer Service and Missing Personal Touch

Customer Service would easily be one of the most oft used(and abused) words in Business. For some people, customer service means giving their customers the kind of experience they would like to get (as a customer) but for others(majority?) it’s a mere formality, a lip service that you have to offer just for the sake of it.

While customer service in itself is a big subject comprising numerous things including principles,  processes and much more, there’s a particular thing that I feel is amiss especially when it comes to online businesses, i.e. Personal Touch.

Personal Touch in customer service for online businesses is according to me a great value add given the fact that unlike offline businesses the customers are not talking to a company rep face to face or they can’t talk at length(or decide to wait in the company’s office) till their issue gets resolved. In fact Customer Service, especially over email, which is the most prominent way of offering Customer Service/Support is by design(asynchronous) a customer-unfriendly method. Given the fact that instead of talking to someone in person or over phone you are literally talking to a computer and unless the guys at other end make some real effort to add some personal elements things are bound to not be smooth.Adding Personal Touch to any non-verbal communication not only helps build credibility/trust but also ensures smooth resolution of any issues that a customer might have.

Over the last few months I’ve run into(online) customer service reps of various services including E-commerce and Mobile operators and almost NONE of them have what one can say Personal Touch in their customer service. As expected, almost all of them just work on a few standard templates which their customer service reps copy and paste. What further intrigues me is the fact that contrary to being Personal some of these online businesses try to be the opposite i.e. being as impersonal as they can be.

While this reply Personal Touch - Kinda Personal

is still acceptable, these ones

Personal Touch - Company Name and Address

Personal Touch - Site Name

are completely unacceptable.
I completely fail to understand what is the ingenious thought behind hiding the identity of the person who is responding to these emails. Could it be the CEO/CTO/CFO himself?

Not only is the case of missing identity a big barrier in building any sort of rapport with the business it also complicates things as the customer never gets to know who was the person whom they last spoke to(over mail), who are they talking to now and how much do they already know about their issue.

It’s not Rocket Science that small things like how your customer service team addresses their customers (Dear Customer Vs Dear Mr Dhingra), the tone/format in which they talk or type emails(Pre-decided formats or customized replies), how they sign off their emails(Customer Service, XYZ.com or Shantanu, Post Sales Support, XYZ.com, Email:-, Ph:-) matter a lot. They especially matter a lot when you are an online business and even more so when you are just starting up.  BTW Dell India is an exception in this regard(at least)

Personal Touch- Dell

Isn’t it great to actually see the “Full Name”(unlike just the first name) of the person who just mailed you back?
Isn’t it re-assuring to know that you also have their professional email id, telephone number and even extension in their email signature?

Besides other things, businesses should realize that by adding “Personal Touch” in their customer service, not only can they solve customer vows more quickly and efficiently, they can expect to get more/repeat business from them.

So having said all that, does your Customer Service have enough Personal Touch?