Tag Archives: myntra

Size Matters? How Does App-Only Fit In?

17 Jul

Appified

Last week, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with posts like these:

– As an inveterate online shopper, (can’t remember the last time I bought at a physical store/grocer/mall) I am appalled to read Flipkart will soon go mobile-only. I don’t care what their analytics team says. To browse/drool/look/re-look on a teeny 3*5 screen….yikes! How terrible the experience is likely to be!

And a sample of some comments:
– …did you order that from the cell phone? I did try ordering from the cell phone and gave up half way.

– …Agree totally. Refuse to shop on the mobile:)

– …Totally agree – no matter how good the mobile app is, I can’t imagine peering at stuff on my phone screen and trying to figure what to buy

– …Interesting . ..have they done their research right with the correct tg?

– …The experience is beat when I use all my senses to see, hear, touch, feel, taste and smell the physical product. Even with books, I love to browse through every chapter before buying. Perhaps you may call me old-fashioned and not abreast with the times.

Here’s another one:

First Myntra, now flipkart! I am not ‘appy

With its comments:
– …I think they are moving way too early. It will be a while before the phone replaces the desktop in terms of Internet surfing. Myntra already recorded drop in sales after they moved. Not sure how it will end up for Flipkart.

– …Agreed …while I use the phone for a bunch of apps, I still like the exp of sitting on my desktop / laptop to shop.

– …Ha,, ha They are making sure that users land up with nice neck, shoulder, hand pain… they should soon start another division for treating their loyal users!! why is it that human factors are not considered with technology advancement?

Then my husband, who was tracking a gift order I had placed on Amazon, told me – It’s been despatched. When I said – where from? Bangalore or Delhi? He said, just a minute – lemme check on my laptop 🙂

Not only normal people, but “experts” are debating this – HuffPost carried an article on why this move could be a potential disaster for Flipkart; while of course other folks are hailing this move as a harbinger of an app-only economy in the fastest growing app market in the world!

myntraflipkartapponly

This move should make folks like my friend Debjani, whose company zineone has bet completely on a mobile ready world, and who makes very cool app support software for enterprises, happy and vindicated.

But clearly, many many people (users) are not.

The big reason really seems to boil down to size! Tablets/ Phablets notwithstanding, it IS so much better to see a 14 or even 11 inch screen than a smaller one. The whole experience changes significantly! Scale, in all its manifestations, we all know the benefits of – economies; distribution synergies; skill specialization enablement; technology consolidation; etc etc…infact, even in the new digital/ e-comm & m-comm economy, we are seeing actions and transactions that reflect the desirability of scale and size – you see companies consolidating, take overs and buy outs – which will eventually I’m sure result in a shakedown.

Other Side of the Coin?: You know, it’s interesting, that I actually started writing this post (with the same first part of the headline) a few weeks ago – and at that time, it was going to be an “anti-size” post!

What prompted it was I guess the time of the year – it’s back to school time, and most people my age have kids leaving home to go to college for the first time – parents thus facing shrunk households. This always, but always, leaves my tummy churning, with a dreadful sinking feeling – I just vicariously go through the whole empty nest thing, and badly so (I still thankfully hv a few years before this hits me – one of the few advantages of a late marriage). And the thought came to me – looking at all these large 5000 sq ft houses, what are two old people (and in some cases, a dog) going to do, rattling away in these houses? Maybe they should de-size/ de-clutter/ scale down!

Achu

It also struck me, when after visiting a friend’s lovely spanking new, set in a 1 acre plot house, built in the beautiful traditional Kerala style, with a drool worthy Prof Higgins like library, my husband told me – hey, let’s buy a plot there. And it struck me, there’s really no end to this – bigger house, bigger car, bigger salary, bigger bank balance, (and bigger tummy to go with it!); and, actually, rather than buy a plot there – I did kind of anti-action – convinced my husband to sell off one of our (bigger) cars. So, we learn to survive with just the one (we’re managing fine btw, the Ubers and Olas have made life so much easier)

See, one gets faced with it actually even in business – after expanding the no. of items on offer, a retailer almost always goes through a phase of SKU rationalizing; large companies, after many M&As, get down to downsizing; many larger size packages of consumables start getting sold in smaller and smaller “trial packages” (sachets being of course the Indian success story to aid purchase in a low Per Capita Income society.) It is no secret that none of the Big Pharma actually now have a super cool pipeline, it’s the smaller boutique Biotech and Pharma companies that are doing all the meaningful research to bring potentially blockbuster drugs to market.

Incidentally, even downsizing is not easy. Read this interesting POV on retail store resizing problems.

Dino Extinction

It is said that Dinosaurs went extinct because their bodies scaled up disproportionately as compared to their brains; (and it is said that human beings will become extinct because our brains will become too big as compared to our bodies!)

So maybe it is a circle of life thing. One is small, then wants to become bigger, so expands. When one is too big, one has to reverse direction and cut down. Anti Size! ….One is single, then gets married, then has kids, then the kids fly the nest and you hunker down…anti size! 😦 ….Company gets many quarters of growth, starts becoming bigger, acquires diverse competencies, then…realizes is becoming inefficient, so, downsizes…anti size!

So, which is it to be? Big or Small? Website or App Only? Scale or Anti Size? Laptop or Phablet?

While you ponder this, I think that the defining “default” answer on “size matters” can be found in the Friends episode below. Enjoy 🙂

Advertisements

Surrender to e-commerce; OR, the Power of Disintermediation in Retail

12 Dec

second hand books store

I did the unthinkable! I did it! I ordered clothes – yes, CLOTHES – online! This, after having laughed at my young nephews and cousins, who ONLY buy online (we swear that the flipkart/ myntra/ jabong delivery guys ALL know our address better than their own! because of young nephew Dhruv, who ONLY seems to shop online – some of those exciting looking brown paper packages don’t even get opened! ) My point always was, OK, I understand buying books and music online (though even there, why would you deprive yourself of the pleasure of the lovely lovely smell of books…and, if you really want bargains PLUS better olfactory sensation – go to second hand book shops! I think I know ALL of these in ALL cities I have ever lived in, and am on first name terms with the proprietors!). But, like I said, I still get it – standard items, MRP the only basis for comparison shopping, the great deals, very often a larger inventory available than at store, sometimes the hunt for that rare book that you aren’t getting anywhere else (I’ve bought many of my Chalet School editions online on ebay and amazon), the convenience of sitting at home and ofcourse, anyway you are ever connected, so you may as well order stuff. I also ofcourse get electronics – after all, where else would you get them cheaper! Thats why after all, Best Buy is supposed to be the store front for amazon!

But clothes – that touchy/ feely/ trial-ly/ dithery-over-colour and fabric thing??? When the malls as well as old mom and pop shops are, like, right next door? Not to think of the fact that a shopping trip gives me a reason to go out and grab a cup of coffee? NEVER!

Well, famous last words – I did order some (for my daughter Riddhi’s 13th birthday). Reasons?

a) I needed to buy a dress – this is a prospective teenager! – and, I don’t know where to buy them from physically (don’t wear them myself!), so, the web is easier
b) I keep ON getting offers/ suggestions for all these online stores on Facebook/ youtube/ email – see, advertising WORKS (I have to confess, this is probably the first time online advertising has worked for me – but, who knows, maybe I have unleashed a frankenstein within me who will now become the second shopaholic Becky (of Kinsella’s famous series)).
c) My cousin – yes the one who buys everything online – and then returns many of those (which piece of logistics very often I have had to get involved in) – showed Riddhi many really nice dresses recently on which she got fab discounts 🙂
d) Given that Riddhi’s social schedule gives her no time with parents, and I am desperately looking for avenues to bond with her, we had a great fun time shopping online!
e) I got ADDITIONAL 35% DISCOUNTS on all of them! (thats the interested-in-deals-but-normally-can’t-find-time-middle-class-me speaking!)

If you look at disintermediation, it first started with the big format organised retailers who bought directly from manufacturers, creating efficiencies in the supply chain. Despite the low penetration of organised retail in India (between 5 – 10%), specially grocery stores have become quite popular in urban India, with fairly large Indian players participating in the arena. (As most folks know, FDI in retail is allowed only to the extent of 51% in multi-brand formats).

(For an older POV on retail in India, pls click here, here and here). As I wrote here, in many cases, folks still patronize mom and pop stores for reasons of relationships/ convenience etc. I used to do the same – buy green leafy vegetables from street vendors sitting right outside my house. This was because a) I felt a little bad for them, and b) because I did think they were probably supplying me with fresher/ more “natural”/ organic veges that they were growing somewhere. Imagine my horror when, one morning, I went to the supermarket – also next door – to buy bread, and saw all these street vendors lining up at the supermarket cash counters – yes, you guessed it – to BUY BUNDLES OF GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES!!!!

vegetable vendor

I see Amazonfresh launched in San Francisco recently, good luck to them! We have our own version of direct delivery of grocery with Big Basket – lets see how that pans out. By the same promoter/ investor, we also have Blue Stone, an online jewelry outfit.

Finally, if e-commerce can also enable some good, why not? Click on this link to read more..

So, here’s to more online clothes shopping for me and the family…and less vegetables from the streetside vendor!