eCommerce Blog

eCommerce Blog – Opportunities in US and India (by Darpan Munjal)

Archive for the ‘Retail’ Category

Multi-Channel Retailing – Breaking the Barriers

Posted by Darpan Munjal On October - 12 - 2009
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I recently ordered a Boston Acoustics subwoofer from an Amazon marketplace seller because it was significantly cheaper than buying directly from Amazon or from a local retailer. 15 days later, all I hear is a whistling sound from that piece of equipment. Now I am not a big audiophile but if all I hear is a whistling sound while watching a loud thriller movie, I can tell there is something wrong with the sub. I know – hindsight is 20-20 but I should have probably purchased that item from a local retailer so I could have at least returned that 40 pound brick without much hassle. I can’t even imagine packing such a heavy piece of equipment and shipping it back to a 3rd party marketplace seller.

Marketplace concept has been fairly common with online retailers such as Amazon.com and buy.com. However, it seems that multi-channel retailers are also joining the bandwagon. Sears and Walmart have both opened up their online platforms to allow third party sellers to list and sell their merchandise. This definitely opens up an alternative source of revenue for retailers and in these trying times, who doesn’t want to have additional revenue sources. Read the rest of this entry »

Sears – Winning the crowd by crowdsourcing?

Posted by Darpan Munjal On August - 16 - 2009
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It was about 5 years ago but I still remember when my refrigerator stopped working two days after I ordered it from Sears. It took me more than 8 phone calls to get the situation addressed. I remember calling different customer service hotlines and finally getting a resolution after contacting some internal departments. All this happened when I was working at Sears!! I shared my experience with the appropriate groups in the hopes that others wouldn’t have to go through similar frustration. However, at that moment, I couldn’t help but empathize with the situation of other customers who had no good means to “escalate” the issue within the appropriate internal departments. .

Fast forward 5 years – enter the connected world! I recently visited MySears.com and was amazed at the community involvement! Even though you see customers occasionally venting about product issues and their experiences, what is really impressive is that Sears has taken a bold step to let it all out in the open. They have provided an online platform where Customers are free to post their experiences. This is bold because it demonstrates leadership as well as compassion that Sears not only cares about listening to their customers, they are also not afraid of letting customers openly talk about their experiences online, however negative they might be. Interestingly, Read the rest of this entry »

How transparent is your retail business ?

Posted by Darpan Munjal On July - 23 - 2007
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While we were wrapping up the last minute shopping for our trip back to India last week, my daughter insisted that we go to Toys’R’us store –she wanted to buy that new Barbie she had seen with her friend few days ago. As we were walking down the aisles of the store, it reminded me of my childhood. I used to love toy cars a lot and every time I used to go to the market with my parents, we would go to the Toys store almost as a ritual. The store was probably less than 700 sq feet in size and yet, these toys were like hidden treasures – hard to find and it was up to the store owner to show the toys he thought we might like. None of the toys had any price displays on them and store owner would “tailor” the price depending upon which customer he was talking to.  The total assortment was probably less than couple hundred toys. And yet, as a consumer, it was hard to find what you were looking for, not to mention that comparing prices across different stores was almost impossible. On the other hand, my 4 year old daughter even knew the exact location of that Barbie in the 50,000+ sq feet Toys’R’Us store!

 

The organization and maturity in the retail sector is inevitable in India. As the retail sector gets more organized, there will be more and more consistency in the assortment as well as the user experience across various stores. However, the retailers must demonstrate one aspect to be really successful Read the rest of this entry »

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