eCommerce Blog

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

Turning Web Analytics Upside Down

Posted by Darpan Munjal On December - 13 - 2007
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When I first heard about a few years ago, I couldn’t quite understand what’s all the fuss about. Since then I have been following this phenomenon closely, and have learnt quite a few things from this small retailer which now enjoys almost a cult like following from millions across the US. Woot is one of the very few sites that has a rare combination of simplicity and innovation – and yes, a great sense of humor!!. Here is an excerpt of a few questions from the FAQ section of

What is Woot and who is behind it? is an online store and community that focuses on selling cool stuff cheap. It started as an employee-store slash market-testing type of place for an electronics distributor, but it’s taken on a life of its own. We anticipate profitability by 2043 – by then we should be retired; someone smarter might take over and jack up the prices. Until then, we’re still the lovable scamps we’ve always been.

Will I receive customer support like I’m used to?
No. Well, not really. If you buy something you don’t end up liking or you have what marketing people call “buyer’s remorse,” sell it on eBay. It’s likely you’ll make money doing this and save everyone a hassle. If the item doesn’t work, find out what you’re doing wrong. Yes, we know you think the item is bad, but it’s probably your fault. Google your problem, or come back to that product discussion in our community and ask other people if they know.

What are my shipping options?
Currently, your shipping options are limited. An item can ship if you order it, or not ship if you don’t. We will ship by common carrier and try to stick with the same service for most items.”

I am sure that reading above FAQs probably doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about doing some serious shopping from this online retailer. But, it gets better. The site only sells one product a day. That’s right. The product changes every night, and there is only one product available for purchase at any given time. Products are never announced beforehand and can easily sell out in a few hours or even minutes of hyperactive buying and then the users have to wait till the next midnight for the next product to be listed – unless there is a woot-off which I will save for another discussion. The Woot model relies on the elements of simplicity and surprise – unlike the traditional online environment which is focused on expanding the product assortment. It is fun to read the product descriptions, which often mock the product being sold, and the community is encouraged to write negative posts to highlight the flaws in the products being sold.

It takes courage and leadership for an online retailer to be as transparent as Woot in educating the customers about the good things and not so good things about the product being sold. But more than this transparency and sense of humor, Woot has been able to do something that no other retailer has been able to effectively. Woot has literally turned the world of web analytics upside down, and made this analytics information available back to its own customers. Take is a look below at a typical product page, the page contains a sea of analytics information – enough to make the likes of Amazon and turn green with envy and more than enough to turn a casual browser into a well informed buyer. Read the rest of this entry »

Web Analytics – Do you really know your customers?

Posted by Darpan Munjal On June - 19 - 2007
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I finally experienced it – the unevitable reality of staying in Delhi – a power cut! Sitting in the darkness, waiting for the generator to pickup, I thought – imagine you are asked to play a game of darts in a room that is pitch-dark. You throw the darts in all possible directions, hoping that atleast one of them will hit the bullseye. When the lights are switched on, you find out that although a couple of darts came close, most other ended up far away from the target. This sounds like a pointless exercise – however, the reality is that a lot of companies do this to their customers every day.


Most of the online retailers continue to focus on a “one size fits all” approach where they throw all kinds of offers and promotions at the customers, hoping that the customer will accept atleast one of them. This approach certainly works to some extent and can result in some moderate sales however, this is like throwing darts in different directions and then, later drawing bullseye around them, to feel good about one’s actions. Read the rest of this entry »

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