Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Does season influence a marketer's mood?

With the advent of winter in the plains of north India, I was thinking how two of my marketer friends would react to this change,one looks forward to it with a wide smile and other one is looks depressed and is cursing the cold winds which are sweeping the place. Both of them are in the beverages business , but one is with soft drinks and the other one sells tea. The change of season has a different impact on the sales of both the product categories...

There are many other product categories where this shift happens, Air conditioners, you can see the sales guy dusting his stock of room heaters and getting ready to sell, the street vendors also shifting from selling of cucumbers to boiled eggs, the street side cloth shops shifting from cotton to woolen...

But what is interesting to note how the mood of a marketers also gets influenced, if you talk to my soft drinks friend he is all cheerful when the summer is at its worst, it maybe also a reflection of how involve one is in his business, and how far your job influences you..

Monday, November 29, 2010

Online Shopping - Over promise and underdeliver!!!!!

Some say we are at the inflexion point with regard to online shopping in India. People like Kishore Biyani of Pantaloon retail are betting big on the sector with a target of 1000 crore from their recently started online venture.

I personally am a great believer in the power of Internet the impact it has had and will have on shopping (overall marketing) , and I personally have shifted most of my book buying to Internet. But the test of these things when there is a glitch in their operations, system or rather the faith in it gets tested when there is a problem......

I will share the recent experience which I had with flipkart.com, while buying books. I have been buying on the site for last one year, and the service has been very good. They have sent the books at the promised time and I have recommended the site to a few of my friends who are also happy with the site.

Then last Saturday night I wanted to buy a few more books, and did my usual net banking transaction only to find that the money was transferred from my account but the flipkart site said payment not received. I knew that these kind of glitches do happen and so I checked their site where they had given a helpline number saying you could call it 24X7 on any day of the week. So i called on the number and , was put on hold saying the operator would attend, and then no response.... I tried a couple of times and then mailed their customer care, there at least I got a email after a few hrs saying they are looking into the issue and would get back to me in 24 hrs , and ...no response. I ultimately after more than 48 hrs I tried calling the number again and this time (being Monday) some one responded and was able to get the issue sorted out. Hopefully will be getting the books in a few days.

Looking back I was trying to understand why was I getting frustrated by the experience as the issue was sorted out in less than 48 hrs, which could be considered a very good response time, from what we have been used to till now, but then the problem is because of the promises which the vendor was making , a 24 hr helpline (paid, not a toll-free!) which does not work on a Saturday and the customer support saying that it will respond in 24 hrs or less and then you are the one who has to again call up and get a response. Do not promise something which you cannot deliver- if we look many other helplines, they mention the timing 9am-5pm on weekday and we do not expect them to respond to my phone call on a Sunday....

I hope to listen more from reader on their experiences and opinions on online shopping

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