Happy Shopping

Here’s my take on the “big billion day” fiasco. My opinion is rather mixed and this could be a rather lengthy read.

Shopping is fun when, after a hard fought bargain, you finally do end up getting something you desire. Even if you fail to get anything at all, it can still be a considered a very good pastime if you do it on a regular basis; at least you end up meeting some charming characters.

That was shopping as I recall. In a technologically shrinking world with an even faster shrinking affordability for the common man, we have come to trust quality and brand over honing our bargaining skills or developing an interest in meeting a new person.

The world of e-shopping can be alarmingly addictive and abhorrently nauseating at the same time. If you ask me what I understand about e-commerce I will state this – the much talked about ‘power to the consumer’ is a myth! You could be shirking from buying an item that was well above your purchasing power yesterday, simply because it became “oh so common” today. An offer of 90% on your dream product could either get your head spinning in ecstasy or send your brain into a tizzy trying to think of all the nightmarish reasons that had sent the cost spiraling down in the first place.

In general, however, it is fantastic to see the brand/ product you desire is now made affordable to you even if it is all thanks only to the obscure profit marketing of your favorite e-retailer or the confusing consumer patterns that simply reflect just how unclear this entire area of business is becoming by the day! However the human mind is fickle, after all, and desires tend to change.

While we do manage to draw a line that determines a product’s merit in the given moment of our life, the drool-worthiness tends to change the moment we spot an even better product or our needs change or when we spot our neighbor doing having something even more enviable! That’s where the e-commerce sites and retailers come in; that’s their big role according to me i.e. to keep our ego alive or at least make us believe for some time that our buying prowess is still very much alive.

Consider for a moment that you operate the leading e-commerce portal of a booming economy that is packed with no less than a billion active e-shoppers. Better yet, pretend for a while that it was your portal that aroused this desire of the first Indian version of Black-Friday like shopping experience.

Normal circumstances would call for you to be either cautious in hyping such a day or be wary of the wants of your audience (given their numbers). Even a mediocre retailer would have given these parameters a thought. The day is either make or break for you (the retailer) and what do you do?

I am not sure what you would have done but, reading the trending hash tags in social media and sensing general public mood, it appears that one of India’s biggest e-commerce site seems to have ensured that the good image earned by them through years of hard work came plummeting down in one day. They are now at the butt-end of all jokes with respect to the way a sale day is carried out. It is not about the sale itself, but the quality (and quantity) of the products, customer support, transparency of sale and the variety of products – everything matters. On hindsight, I guess they did fairly well in ensuring the products on sale were diversified.

Though it was my favorite (or shall I say only) e-mail commerce site of choice, I was not an active shopper myself. But from the way the site was designed, to the way items were organized I completely felt comfortable (and secure) shopping with them from my first interaction with them.

A couple of days before the D-day a few blog posts discussed about the authenticity of current prices of various listed products. It seemed as if prices were inflated just a few days before the sale. I for one didn’t want to buy such stories. I dismissed it saying that conspiracy theorists have a job to do as well. Only when a few close friends asserted this, after doing their own research did I feel unsettled.

[Total: 3    Average: 9.3/5]

Author: Rajesh Narayanan

A small speck of dust in the ever expanding ether

2 thoughts on “Happy Shopping”

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