Sunday, October 19, 2014

E-commerce: New ways in the market place

We are experiencing it real time.  The big change is happening, this year, in India.  India's prime minister Modi announced that there is a huge investment for Digital India.  

Few of the customers I have work with have come with a very simple phenomenon - there is a need - typically a demand, and there is a supply, and let us connect both.  In short,  a market place concept holds the modus-operandi for any idea going online.

The major factor in a market place idea is that you are connecting supply and demand, and this essentially means that you are not holding any inventory or rendering any actual service,but only enabling the transaction.  The idea of market place has evolved from our typical 'Santhe' concept, as it is called in Kannada.  In South India, we have this concept where every weekend, the vegetable sellers, hawkers come together in a flea market type of arrangement, typically an open ground, and the buyers go shopping. 
E commerce have challenges of service and cannot always replace
a smell-and-touch experience of real shopping

The idea has matured now - you can shop from home, and the shopped items are delivered at your door step.  How convenient?  Online market place models have become inconvenient to the extent of reducing commute, parking problems, avoiding the curious shopping steward who walks behind you, and more importantly, saving time.  

From a customer point of view, there are two major issues that need to be resolved.  One is how would service be rendered for an online purchased item?  For example, when I go to a dealer's show room I get all information about how the product would be installed and all the petty questions.  I would miss that in a purchase from flipkart or snapdeal.  The 'crib quotient' and the ' bargain quotient' misses from the bucket, as I fondly remember. 

Another factor, is the tactile and olfactory feeling is missed.  The visual and aural ( the look and the sound of it all) is achieved by stronger techniques, but the real purchase satisfaction of the world economy - touching a fabric, and olfactory - the smell, if you are buying a perfume, will be missed.   I don't see any technology in the horizon to resolve this issue. 

My online experience started with paying bills, and really indeed saved time in the queue.  Then I ordered few items of the shopping cart, and it did go well.  No complaints.   

More on some of the experiences later.  But how did you start to shop online?  Do you miss the old fashioned touch and smell purchase?  And shop for that little discount, at the end, for the heck of it. 
 Share your feedback. 


- Ashok Subramanian
(c) Cherunathury Tech Ventures 2014 


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