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Archive for the ‘eCommerce’ Category

A couple of years ago, virtually every driver of my Uber and Ola taxi rides used to praise the two cab aggregators to high heavens for paying them huge incentives. Many of them would ask me how these startups could afford to shell out that kind of money when they were collecting less than half of that amount in fares. I used to tell them that they got oodles of cash from VCs and explain how the venture capital model […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Sep - 15 - 2017 Add Comments READ FULL POST

I recently read the following tweet: After Banks figure this out and do something with eKYC, they will realize that people are not ready to pay MDR, want privacy — Srikanth ஸ்‌ரீகாந்த் (@logic) February 20, 2017 I replied back pointing out that: But Merchants pay MDR, not Consumers! — S.Ketharaman (@s_ketharaman) February 20, 2017 He replied back with the following tweet: nice dream. — Srikanth ஸ்‌ரீகாந்த் (@logic) February 20, 2017 @logic was implying that merchants will definitely pass on the […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Jul - 14 - 2017 3 Comments READ FULL POST

If you think bots will never replace human agents, you’re amongst the lucky few who has been served by intelligent human agents. Let's stop pretending that live agents have IQ of 140+ when we claim that chatbots are too dumb to replace them. — GTM360 (@GTM360) March 29, 2017 I admit that I’ve also been among the lucky few at times. But more often than not, I come across fairly dumb human agents. And, lately, I’ve started experiencing fairly intelligent […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On May - 26 - 2017 2 Comments READ FULL POST

Contrary to popular belief, Flipkart didn’t pioneer ecommerce in India. That distinction belongs to Fabmall, the startup that introduced ecommerce in the mid-1990s well before Flipkart was founded in 2007. I remember placing orders from a dial-up modem in 1998 and paying online by credit card, which was the only mode of payment supported by ecommerce forerunners like Fabmall, Rediff and IndiaTimes Shopping. That said, Flipkart did pioneer COD in India. The new payment method, launched in 2010, gave a […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Apr - 21 - 2017 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Since I wrote Strange Happenings In Amazon India, I went through another experience with Amazon India. It was so strange that it merits a separate blog post. Here goes. I’d recently ordered a leather wallet from Amazon India. When I received it, I realized that it didn’t have a coin pouch. Therefore, I wanted to return it. I logged in to my Amazon India account to initiate the return. During the process, I was taken to the the refund screen where […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Jan - 13 - 2017 2 Comments READ FULL POST

The Indian government recently demonetized the INR 500 and 1000 notes and announced plans to introduce new design notes in INR 500, 1000 and 2000 denomination. In the wake of this move – trending on Twitter as #CurrencySwitch among other hashtags – many people have been asking why India hasn’t taken this opportunity to go totally cashless. Many Indians have been replying with statements like “Indians are illiterate” and “Indians are not tech savvy”. This is a Public Service Announcement […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Nov - 18 - 2016 4 Comments READ FULL POST

I exhibit cult loyalty for Amazon among a few other brands. As I wrote in What Drives Cult Loyalty?, I’ve been shopping on Amazon for over 15 years in Germany, UK, USA and, finally, India, during which period I must’ve bought at least 100 items from it. Knock on wood, Amazon hasn’t even bungled a single order so far! I guess I didn’t knock hard enough. Because I had problems with nearly every one of my recent orders on Amazon […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Nov - 4 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

I read the following question on Quora recently: You buy a pen from a store. Then, are you a customer of that store or pen manufacturing company? Normally, my answers on Quora are rather short. After seeing this answer by Quora's founder @adamdangelo, I no longer worry about whether my replies are too terse. https://t.co/V6UqD1qinA — S.Ketharaman (@s_ketharaman) January 4, 2016 Going by that standard, I should have simply written “Store” and left it at that. But this question gave […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Jun - 10 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Whenever they’re asked to sweeten a deal, most vendors respond with a discount. However, they don’t have to. In Dropping The Price Is Not The Only Way To Sweeten A Deal, we suggested several alternative tactics for sweetening a deal without dropping the price. We exemplified them with our interactions with the following vendors: Acme Accounting: This accounting firm increased its scope of work without charging anything extra Acme Campaigns: This appointment-setting firm reduced its scope of work without proportionately […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Apr - 15 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Buyer power in online marketplaces is obvious. Choice of platforms, sales returns, seller rating and venting on social media are among the many ways in which buyer is king in online marketplaces. Platform power is also fairly obvious: Blacklisting errant sellers and withholding payments to them are some of the tools available to the platform to flex its muscle. I got a whiff of seller power when I heard that Uber’s drivers could rate their passengers. However, I didn’t think much of it […]

Posted by Ketharaman Swaminathan On Feb - 19 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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