Tag Archives: ecommerce

Amosta Solutions Tab for Rs.8 on Paytm! – Who will own the mistake?

The first thing that greeted me in office on otherwise Monday morning was an ecstatic WhatsApp message from a close friend. I or rather no one could have believed that a 4GB dual slim Android tablet from Amosta Solutions, with 2 MP camera, 4 GB internal memory and 512 MB RAM was available for just Rs. 8/-. Yes, you read it right, Rupees Eight only! Many had a merry time booking them in loads!

Amosta Solutions

Paytm soon (but not before 6,000 orders were placed) de-listed the product from website. The repeated searches throughout the day didn’t yield any Amosta Solutions product on the Paytm website.

Who is at fault?

  • Was it Paytm’s fault in updating the product list / feed on website?
  • Did Amosta Solutions make a mistake while updating the product feed (in case they had access to the product console)?
  • Or was it often sacrificed ‘technical glitch’?

Who should have owned this error?

    • As a customer if I have made a purchase on such a reputed ecommerce platform that keeps shouting ‘Paytm karo’ at every nook and corner, I would definitely hold them responsible for the ‘technical glitch’ or ‘human error’. Did Paytm clarify anything about this issue? The answer is big NO!
    • Some might argue that Amosta’s team could have committed this error. Assuming that they too are partner in crime (err glitch!), should they have come out and given any clarification? They did! Here’s what they had to say on their Twitter handle.

How did consumer react on Twitter?

Though there were no hashtags floated against Amosta or Paytm, buyers did once again vent their anger on Twitter. Let’s see how some of the buyers reacted on TwitterMost of them cornered Paytm and accused it for the goofup. But all complaints fell on deaf ears. Paytm, otherwise that claims to be an empathetic brand, kept silent on this entire fiasco and didn’t take any effort to pacify / clarify the buyers. 

Recent Case

The first thought that struck me was the recent Snapdeal case where a youngster’s purchase of iphone 5s 16GB for Rs. 68 was honored valid by Sangrur District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. How many of us would have even thought of filing such case and holding our patience?

Is there a solution for this situation?

Though the situation is serious, probably the vendor this time isn’t a big banner brand, that could have attracted the eyeballs. Hence, the damage has been limited compared to other social media fiascos by brands in the past. But, is there a solution for this situation? How will buyers get justice?

  • Should Paytm honor and execute the order as they were the first touch-point for buyers? Most of the buyers are expecting this from the reputed Paytm! Technical glitch might be a genuine reason behind this fiasco, but definitely it isn’t a satisfactory reason to pacify consumers in this digital savvy and informed world. Paytm could come up with some sweet offers just for these buyers to win confidence back.
  • Should Amosta Solutions leverage this situation and build a place in hearts of buyers by compensating with an alternative solution? Though the monetary margin of error is extremely huge, an unknown brand like Amosta could win hearts by actually delivering the product. Imagine spending an equivalent amount on some print advertisement versus gaining confidence of so many users who could potentially spread positive word of mouth about this situation.
  • Or both Paytm and Amosta just get back to work, as memory of people is fairly less in this country? This is probably the last decision both brands should take. However, its very likely that this is what would happen in due course of time!

It’s easier for brands to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship and make the most of it during best times. But, its equally important for brands to exhibit that synergy during tough times. The blame game is good for defending oneself, but not what customers would entertain.

Yet another crisis situation and a worth learning case study for brand managers on how to approach online reputation management for their brand.

What are your thoughts on this?

Pricing anomaly by online book retailers in India

Last night when I was going through my Twitter timeline a tweet praised about the book “Get to the Top” by Suhel Seth. I admit, I never heard of this book, until I read this tweet. My loyalty towards Flipkart (have purchased 4 books from them so far!), made me first visit their website to check the book’s availability. After noticing the price (Rs. 175) on Flipkart, I just thought to compare their price 2nd website that was at top of my mind, Indiaplaza and I found it to be Rs. 163. Now, this made me greedy and I then landed on Infibeam website, where the prices were Rs.150!!!

Wow! Now this was amazing three closely competing online book retailers having such price variations that too with hardly any difference in services. The research inquisitiveness in me, propelled to just try out a few more websites and the results were pretty interesting, you could see them in the following images!.

I compared the book price on 6 online book retailers. The lowest price was Rs. 150, on Infibeam and the highest Rs.225 on Bookshopofindia.com. Now, that is a huge price variation for a commodity (hope you agree to this classification!), with hardly any difference in value proposition offered by retailers. One could argue I didn’t compare certain invisible parameters like deliver time period, convenience and reliability of payment gateways, customer support services or regular updates by mail / phone about the shipment.

The major firm oriented reasons for such huge price difference could be because of variations in any of the following:

  • Procurement cost from book publisher.
  • Operational costs (technology + manpower + stock keeping + delivery + etc.) of the respective players.
  • Branding costs.
  • Profit making philosophy of the firm.

However, in today’s Internet prone world, especially considering the target audience for such books, the question to be asked is whether those online book retailers could afford to have such huge price difference? More importantly, if they do have valid value propositions to justify the premium charges, how is it conveyed to the first time user? To be very frank, I being a decent Internet user and with reasonable knowledge about online services, couldn’t make out any justifiable difference on websites that were charging higher than the lowest charging website.

Now, lets analyze the situation from a customer’s perspective. Even if the user is not aware of these many online book retailers, a generic search would definitely guide the user to retailers. With the basic human intent of minimizing cost, I don’t think an average Internet savvy user would mind spending 5 more minutes to find a better bargain. As, it took me hardly 5 minutes to compare prices on 6 websites. So, once a user does a basic search when he/she finds such dissimilarity, on what basis do these online retailers expect the customer to make a decision? Especially, if I am a first time customer, how would I know that how bad the service would be from the lowest charging website or how exceptional would be the service from the highest charging website? In the context of this product category, even if a customer is a repeat buyer, I don’t see a reason why he/she shouldn’t try out a new service provider for a better bargain. This is a very rational decision situation for an utilitarian product with no emotions involved.

If you were at my place, which website would have you chosen?