eCommerce Blog

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

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 »

Building Trust

Posted by Darpan Munjal On June - 7 - 2007
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Having led the eCommerce team at Sears, I often reflect upon what helped us grow our online revenues from about $20 million in 1999 to almost $1 Billion in 2006? Although I do think that technology played a key role in that growth, it wasn’t the primary reason.

An incident during one of the Christmas seasons helped me answer this question.  Christmas is the peak season in US for all retailers and majority of the online and B&M sales occur during this time frame. This is the time when kids hope that Santa will deliver all the toys that they wished for. The stakes are too high because one delayed shipment could mean a disappointed child who has been waiting for that toy for the entire year. So to set appropriate expectations, we added messaging on all our product pages telling the customers to place their orders before the cut off date to ensure Christmas delivery. However, few days before the Christmas Eve, our dashboards indicated that we would miss the Christmas shipment for about 300+ toy orders. We immediately formed a SWAT team and ensured that every single order was handled in a white glove fashion and shipped via overnight delivery. The team worked through the weekend to make this happen, and we certainly lost money on these orders. However we gained something really important Read the rest of this entry »

What about the customer experience?

Posted by Darpan Munjal On June - 3 - 2007
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I often think about my shopping experience at an online retailer in US – Landsend.com. I purchased a shirt from this retailer using their web site. I typically do not purchase apparel online, because of concerns related to fit and quality. However, I liked the shirt and decided to purchase it. Although the purchase experience was great, the story doesn’t end here. One year later, I called them to purchase some additional clothes. At this point, I casually mentioned to the CSR that I wasn’t too happy with the quality of one of the shirts I purchased from them in the past. The CSR first apologized and then offered to send me a replacement for no additional charge. Since this incident, I have probably shopped with Lands’End atleast 8-10 times.

This incident got me thinking Read the rest of this entry »

eCommerce in India

Posted by Darpan Munjal On June - 1 - 2007
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I have been thinking for a long time to start a blog on eCommerce in India and finally decided to take the plunge. In this blog, I will be posting various topics around opportunities in eCommerce and some of the best practices that can take eCommerce in our country to the next level.

Before I begin this journey, let me introduce myself. My name is Darpan Munjal and I recently moved to India after working for about 12 years in retail industry within US. Most recently, I was the Divisional Vice President of eCommerce at Sears Holdings (a $55 Billion retailer) and my team was responsible for building some of the best in class eCommerce websites within the industry. Before joining Sears, I did eBusiness consulting within US and led the implementation of a number of high volume web sites.

My goal of building this blog is to share my experiences, learnings, successes and most importantly, the failures that were part of building one of the largest eCommerce sites in the world. I think there is a huge opportunity in India to take eCommerce to the next level and my hope is that our collective experiences, discussions and learnings on this blog will help build a community that can lead that change.

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