#Onlineshoppingwoes: Beware of shopping from Snapdeal, Homeshop 18, Starcj
New Delhi: Today, when we spend most of our time in office, online stores are like the most wanted wish granted, as most of us can shop during the work hours, without wasting the time in markets – walking endlessly through narrow lanes and going through 100 things manually. Online stores are always a fantastic solution to our last minute shopping. But going by my and my friends' latest experiences, think twice before shopping online...
You can also call it a first hand account of a compulsive online shopper… There are certain things that we learn on our own and there are others that we learn the hard way!
The experience of shopping online during Diwali season was one such incident, when I learnt that online shopping is not a definite answer to the last minute shopping. Indian online stores still need to work hard to cater to the urban Indian shopper.
Websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Homeshop18, Starcj would be popular for there timely delivery, discounts and world class products but it seems these new-age online stores need to revise their strategies to meet the demands of their customers.
Online giants like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal started targeting customers as soon as Navratri started.
First it was Flipkart to kick start the online sale. The good part of it was the brand becoming the first to bring such ‘big online sale day' concept to India. The bad part was customers not finding the products featured in the ads and the ugly part was when customers got product cancellation mails the next day.
Being a regular online shopper, I also ordered products blindly during the Diwali season. But I was soon shown the mirror by the customer care of Homeshop18 and Star Cj. I received a product from Homeshop18 after 17 days of placing the order, that too in a damaged condition. And replacing that damaged product took another week. I only could get help from Twitter, as it had become the only medium for me to communicate with them - my endless calls to their customer care were falling on deaf ears. One of them even suggested me to pick the product from the courier company office (now, what would you say to that!).
Recently, Snapdeal came up with a new ‘hour sale' concept. On November 11, the Ecommerce giant started the day with grand advertisements in newspapers about its ‘grand saving day'.
It had ‘hourly discounted sales'. Google Nexus 5 phone would be selling at 9am for Rs 20,999 (MRP: Rs 28,999), Canon DSLR would be selling at Rs 16,499 (MRP: Rs 31,995). But it seems poor marketing strategy and poor technical infrastructure made it worse.
The sale that started at 7 am came to a halt within an hour, when the site crashed. Most of the people were not able to access the website. But this time, the customers didn't shy away from tweeting their grievances. People flooded the social platform with error screenshots and sarcastic comments on the site.
One of the friends ordered a book from Amazon, which was sent to her through speed post and not courier and also delivered to the wrong address. She wanted the book in Mumbai and it was delivered to her Bhopal address (now that's impossible, but it's true).
Another friend who ordered an electronic kitchen appliance from Starcj had to wait for nearly a month. During, which she cancelled her first order and placed a new one. And finally when she received the product, out of curiosity she asked the delivery boy about the delay. What he revealed made us think about how online stores are misleading and taking their customers for granted.
The delivery boy revealed that during the Diwali season, “we got orders in bulk so much so that we stopped taking any calls even from the online store. And even now, after so many days after Diwali, we have only been able to complete 35% of the orders.”
The surprising and common element in all the three stories is that none of them were ready to share the information with their customers. On the other side, customers were left confused, tracking their products and making endless calls to the customer care and courier company.
The little thing, website could have done was to run a small disclaimer that ‘the product delivery will take time'.
Taking cue from the recent faux pas, E-retailing firms should do a good home work before putting up such flimsy deals, as today's consumer is much more aware!