सावधान… इन्टरनेट पर सारी ओन-लाइन शोपींग साइट्स सलामत नहीं है ।

थोडे दिन पहले मुझे एक फोन आया । उसने बताया की मैं Crazy Deals India कंपनी से बोल रहा हूं, और हमारी वेब साइट पर आप को शोपींग पर बहोत डीस्काउन्ट मिलेगा । क्या आप अभी हमारी वेब साइट देख कर चेक कर सकते है? मैने उसी वक्त साइट देखी तो हर चीज पर भारी डीस्काउन्ट के ओफर लिखे थे । मेरे लिए यह मानना मुश्किल था ।

मैने पूछा: यह सब कैसे खरीद सकते हैं?
वह बोला की मैं आप को हमारी वेब साइट के एक दूसरे पेज का एड्रेस लिखवाता हूं, आप उस पेज पर जाइए, अपनी डीटेल दिजिए और शोपींग करिए ।

मैं उस दूसरे पेज पर गया । मैने देखा की वह एक  unsecured पेज था । उस पर एक फोर्म था जिस में मेरा नाम-एड्रेस तथा मेरे क्रेडीट कार्ड की फूल डीटेल CVV नंबर के साथ पूछी गइ थी । मैं एलर्ट हो गया की यह पेज unsecured है, और मेरी सारी डीटेल misuse हो सकती है । मैने उस सेे कंपनी का नाम-एड्रेस पूछा तो उसने फोन रख दिया । मैने उस फोन नंबर के खिलाफ DOT मैं complaint लिखवाइ है |

आज कल बच्चे भी e-commerce साइट्स पर ओन-लाइन शोपींग करते हैं । आजकल इस के बढते क्रेझ का फायदा उठाने के लिए कुछ cheater साइट्स भी ऩिकलीं हैं, जो लोगों के क्रेडीट कार्ड इत्यादि डीटेल लेकर उस का गलत इस्तेमाल करते हैं ।

यह समजना और परिवार में सब को समझाना जरुरी है की Online shopping की सारी साइट्स सेफ नहीं हैं । 
सामान्यत: secured पेमेन्ट साइट्स का एड्रेस https:// से शुरु होता है । ओन-लाइन शोपींग करते समय ध्यान रखें की अगर वेबसाइट सेफ है, ख्यातनाम हैं और भरोसेमंद हैं तो ही उन पर शोपींग करें ।

Please आप के ग्रुप में जो लोग ओन-लाइन शोपींग करते हैं, उन को यह share करें |

– संजय शाह (SME बिझनेस कोच, लेखक: “बिझनेस मेनेजमेन्ट सीम्प्लीफाइड”

How can Patanjali be even more successful?

Blessed by Baba Ramdev, Patanjali is really a great Indian brand. I admire the brand for its quality, honesty and the spirit of Indian nationalism behind it.

Patanjali’s products are excellent, even superior to its competitors. But, having excellent products alone does not promise success in consumer markets.

Proper marketing and branding has to match. With great products which compare with or surpass their MNC competition perfectly, Patanjali needs to work on its customer experience side as well.
Even though I am its customer and want to remain loyal to the brand, there are some problems which disturb me. Here are some weak customer experience aspects the brand must improve upon.

1) Good products must be made available consistently. Out-of-stock products give a window to competition to win our customers. When we go to a Patanjali outlet, we are not sure whether we will surely get a particular product or not, because one or the other product is out-of-stock regularly. Patanjali needs to stengthen its supply and distribution chain.

2) The stores are cramped. They look like a shop-cum-godown. A customer has to struggle her way through assorted items, cartons, boxes etc. spread across the store. The stores must be designed for a pleasant shopping experience. A revamp is a must.

3) The stores are under-staffed. The customers have to wait for a long time for their turn to be attended. Whatever staff is present, it is indifferent at best. They are like MTNL employees in the midst of the efficient telecom industry. They need to be customer friendly.

4) The stores have very restrictive timings. Also, they don’t give any carry bags (plastic, paper, cloth – nothing). Again, customer-centric approach is required.

Overall, the customer feels less than happy shopping at a Patanjali outlet.

This is typical of many Indian enterprises, which make great products but fail miserably in marketing, branding and customer experience management. This gives room to MNCs to succeed in the market with aggressive marketing even though they have inferior products.

I wish that brand Patanjali succeeds by being relevant to the largest customer base. In its today’s avatar, it is just another incarnation of a Khadi Bhandar. If it wants to compete successfully with the HULs, P&Gs, Nestles or Britannias it will have to shape itself up appropriately.

My swadeshi feelings may help me tolerate or ignore bad experience. But I doubt today’s younger generation will have patience to do that.
Either Patanjali should tighten its retailing to be more relevant or it should get out of retailing and get distributors who can sell it aggressively and appropriately in the manner the customer expects.

It is time Khadi Bhandar grows up. Or risk becoming overshadowed by swanky, modern malls.

Why all eCommerce ventures are not successful?

I have heard people saying that they bought something from eBay.in, flipkart.com, infibeam.com, snapdeal.com, amazon.in or jabong.com. But, I have not yet come across anybody talking about buying or selling something on OLX or QUIKR.

The only place where I have seen their names is in advertisements, which try to tell me that I can sell my junk through them. Somehow, I am not convinced that selling my assorted used items (which even the Kabadiwala refuses to look at) will be as easy as it is made out to be and people will be waiting to lap up my useless stuff.

I think there are many people like me who are not convinced.

This reminds me of a mother who grooms her young daughter and takes her to all parties and social functions to get her noticed by mothers of prospective grooms. The only objective is to get her daughter married to some boy from a prosperous family.

The rise of some eCommerce ventures and their phenomenal valuations coupled with the easy availability of VC or PE funding has given rise to some silly and greedy start-up mindsets, whose only motive is to create a company which gets picked up or taken over by some bigger giant. They are not interested in developing a business. They are just interested in creating a hype, making a lot of noise and waiting for some idiot to come and buy their junk at ridiculous prices.

And they think that even if they sell junk, there will be hordes of PEs and VCs with loads of money eager to buy their company.

They don’t realize that if they could not convince a customer to come and buy/sell their stuff on their platform, only idiots will come and invest into such junk traders who themselves are soon going to be junk.

They must remember that in every Tech boom, everybody and their cousins want to ride that wave. Today, everybody wants to be an Amazon or a Flipkart. But most of them result into a mother desperate to showcase her daughter.

They should realize that it is not easy to “Bech De” their company so Quikrrrrr….

Making noise on advertisements (on easy VC/PE money) is easy. Making sense is not so easy.

BIG reasons of Big Bazaar’s success

Sometimes accused of being a Wal-Mart wannabe, Big Bazaar is surely not a Desi copying an Angrez for sure. It has received great success on its own steam and can be called our own home grown “India’s Wal-mart”, even though the comparison is out-of-place and unnecessary. 

How could Future Group’s Big Bazaar achieve what many Angrez companies still dream to do…? There are some very good reasons and learning lessons for all those who aspire to earn from the buying potential of swelling middle class of India.

1) Big Bazaar has given freedom of choice to those who did not have it in their life
Big Bazaar’s founder Kishore Biyani has popularized the very logical categorization of India in 3 divisions. India-1 is the Upper middle class, about 14% of the population that is the actual consuming class. Serving to this India-1 is India-2, forming about 55% of the country’s population. These are drivers, peons, cleaners, maid servants etc. etc. who have very meager salaries and live a hand-to-mouth existance. The third part is the balance 31% of India-3, which is struggling for the existence.

The Kirana shops which sell goods, do not offer the choice, ambience, service and of course the discounts Big Bazaar offers to customers. You imagine going to your nearby friendly grocer to buy a toilet soap. He will ask you “Which one do you want?”. If you know, you get what you what. But, if you want to know how many new brands, types, sizes are there to choose from, grocer will not be very happy to tell you or show you all this. Such situation is even worse for those from India-2. They are not treated very well if asked such questions or trying to get more information, trying to get a ‘choice’.

Big Bazaar gave them choice. A freedom to choose. It offers a very wide range of goods required for daily needs. You can have a look, touch and feel them, compare and then decide to buy. With the plethora of FMCG items occupying the shelves of stores, such choice is really convenient and facilitating the buyers. This choice, I think, is one very important reason for Big Bazaar’s success.

2) Big Bazaar connects with the masses effectively
The communication of brand Big Bazaar is sharply focused and to-the-point. Big Bazaar talks in local language. Observe Big Bazaar’s communication.

  • “Isse Sasta Aur Accha Kahin Nahin”
  • “Saal Ka Sabse Sasta Din”
  • “Hafte ka Sabse Sasta Din”
  • Sell your Bhangar at great rates”
  • “Purana Do Naya Lo… Badal Dalo”
  • Stall ke Bhaav Balcony
  • Chane ke Bhaav Kaju
  • Paise Jodo Kaam Aayenge

All this smart communication has worked wonders. Today also, you observe any of the advertisements of Big Bazaar competitors. Their tag lines are still in English. This Angrez attitude does not connect with Indians. Big Bazaar has understood it clearly and others have not yet woken upto this simple fact, giving Big Bazaar a clear, distinctive position in customer’s mind. Big Bazaar is perceived as a store which knows India and Indians well. Its communication has been successful in achieving this objective.

3) Big Bazaar has understood its target customer very well
If you go to a super store in any mall, we may find some very smart boys and girls greeting us. This may be good for some, but people like me sometimes get frightened by these fine and smart people, because they are so much better looking than me. They speak so much better than me. They are dressed much better than me. I get put off by all this and hence avoiding such stores who have very smart people greeting me. At Big Bazaar, the staff is helpful, but not overtly smart. You don’t get frightened by their style. This is very practical. The customer coming to Big Bazaar is of the middle class If they are greeted by people smarter than them, they feel uncomfortable. So, Big Bazaar has ensured that customers are not made to feel small by overbearing staff members. This is one very smart strategy of Big Bazaar and it reflects its deep understanding of the customer psyche.

4) Big Bazaar has understood changes reshaping India very well
With increasing urbanization, more and more people are migrating to cities from villages. In villages, there are no big stores, but in nearby towns there are weekly ‘mandi’ e.g. Somwaari Bazaar, Budhwaaar Bazaar, Ravivaar Bazaar etc. In such mandi set up, one gets to look, see, touch  and feel all the ware that is for sale. This is what the village customers are habituated to do. When they come to cities, they had to buy from small kirana shops, where the goods were not displayed freely. They had to ask for what they want and get away from there. Big Bazaar recreates that mandi environment for them. It gives them the same open display of all that is available, and that too, in elegant, clean, air conditioned ambiance with helpful staff to support the customer.. And I think, this is profoundly important from a customer’s point of view. The current demographic shifts happening in India are understood very well by Big Bazaar and are implemented profitably.

The mythical 50 Crore Indian middle class is a part of many smart projections of world leader retail giants willing to enter India. But, Kishore Biyani and Big Bazaar have succeeded in getting to the true understanding of Indian middle class. This a very important learning lesson for all those who wish to succeed in retail in India.