Thursday, February 25, 2016

India Ecommerce

Most of the consumers still think Flipkart is the first e-commerce company in India. But the truth is Rediff, ebay and some other companies have been in the market much before these new companies. So why these early birds were not able to make an impact?
This may be due to various reasons.

1.   Easy internet access to consumers was missing in those days
2.   Less variety of products.
3.    Packaging Hygiene.
4.   Late Delivery.
5.    No Refund in case of bad products
6.    And last and the most important is “Marketing”.

The good tactic Flipkart used was to target the middle class consumers as they are aware that India is a price centric market and many people eye for discounts on FMCG and electronics products, instead of a branded “Swiss Knife”. After 2007, the ecommerce magma was hot and ready to erupt. Soon it did with companies like Snapdeal, Amazon and other small players, funded heavily by investors and gave a kick to the business.

We started buying most of our products from these sites at very attractive price. Of course who doesn't want to save money and time? To add to the convenience is doorstep delivery. So why did the local, small general store business failed and how come ecommerce companies are selling products with huge discounts? Its' simply because they buy in bulk quantities. This is the same story with other two giants Snapdeal and Amazon.

For example a local shop will purchase 50 toothpaste pieces as per consumption in his shop. A toothpaste MRP is Rs 50. On buying 50 pieces, let's say the wholesale price is Rs.48 or may be Rs.46. Since the shopkeeper also wants to make some profit; he would give a discount of one rupee to his few regular customers. But the case is different in case of supermarket and ecommerce companies. They buy 10k toothpaste tubes not from the wholesaler but directly from the company. For 10K tubes, the company will charge not more than Rs.35. In this case, they can easily slash the rate to Rs.10 but will still make profit.

Also, we all know that companies spend huge amount on marketing & promotion whereas that's not the case with local stores.

Another reason what I felt is lack of choices from local vendor along with bad service.
Remember those days when you got a bad battery from the local shop and he refused to exchange the product? I believe we all had our bad experiences. The best that the shop owner would do is to say “I will show it to the company dealer” blah blah blah and nothing happened after two days.
Ecommerce has given a leverage of returning the product in case of manufacturing defect, wrong size, color, and if in some case we don’t like the product.

However there is a dark side of the picture too. Ecommerce is full of fraud stories too! In one case, the customer got two mangos instead of a smart phone..Really! We are looking at a saturation level for this ecommerce bubble. New companies are popping up every day with attractive discounts. The reality is far from what they claim.
Most of the small ecommerce companies are selling first copy of brands, there supply chain department is not effective and many times not able to deliver the right product. In case of dispute, there is no proper customer service. Examples of such companies are-Shop clues,, Star CJ etc.

Sometimes back big IT companies like HP and Lenovo stopped all warranty services to products bought online because according to them they are killing their own retail business by selling it on a huge difference, but somehow it was sorted.  The one billion sale of Flipkart was in huge controversy between the consumers and also with other ecommerce companies. Some of the companies are even selling product directly from the local dealer or what they claim; in case of Flipkart they have their own company by the name of WS Retails.
I understand that we all want discount but at the same time, couple of things we have to keep in our mind before clicking on the payment option:

1.       Try to buy from a reputed company as chances of getting cheated will be low
2.       Try not to buy clothes and shoes as most of the time you will end up with a wrong size or color. It’s better if we buy these things from the retail outlet as we can always try the product.
3.       Electronic items like TV, Camera, and Cellphones must be purchased after doing a research on the warranty period from the day you receive the product.
4.       Before buying from a new site do read their return and exchange policy. I have encountered a company who have mentioned that some products are not refundable, but there actual terms and condition says “All products can be returned in 7 days”.
5.       Before making the payment make sure it’s a secure site. Do check for https:// and always use OTP.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Veg Chinese Choupsey.

I have never imagined that a silly experiment would turn to be a great dish! I christened it Veg Chinese Choupsey.

Wife made sandwiches for breakfast filled with mashed potatoes, raw onions and cucumber topped with black pepper and salt. The left over of the sandwich filling clicked in my mind and made me do an experiment which made this dish born.

Had some Masala Oats left in a container, which nobody touched since over a month. It did magic to the dish.

In a shallow pan, I dry roasted half a cup vermicelli with two spoons of masala oats, till they turned light brown. That gave a crispy twist to it. Then I mixed the sandwich filling with the roasted mixture. I chopped a medium sized onion and added it to the dish. Added a little water, stirred it, dropped in a scoop of vegetarian mayonnaise  and let it simmer for four to five minutes.

And the dish was ready in no time! With the first bite of the dish, my wife said it tasted like Chinese! Hence christened it Veg Chinese Choupsey. Trust me, it was superb. Atleast I was happy with my culinary experiment. 

 This is how the delicacy looked like- 
Home made Chinese Veg Choupsey

A lot more to experiment and treat my taste buds with. 
Stay tuned for more! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Barbeque Nation-Sohna Road Gurgaon

"BBQN is better than any grill in NCR" this is what I here from everyone. After a huge "Tamasha" in CP Bar where I had the most disastrous experience and an attack from paid freeloaders, I decided to visit the famous Barbeque Nation at Sohna Road, Gurgaon with my wife to celebrate V day.  

As we entered the premises, the security informed us about free parking for BBQ guests. They have a well managed valet parking so that guests don't feel harassed to spot a parking place.

The manager at the reception greeted us with a smile and requested us to sit in the waiting corner for 5-10 minutes.  The wait was over soon and we got our seat. The first thing what I observed is the accurate height of the tables, suitable for everybody. The distance between the chairs and the Barbeque is within reach for four guests and the seats are also quite comfortable. Not to forget the cleanliness and hygiene.

There was a little glitch in the washroom of water shortage for which the manager apologized and came to me after few minutes to inform that it has been fixed. This is a perfect example that the staff is serious about every small  problem the guests face.

And now food time :) We got a very warm welcome from Biku, a very friendly staff who attended us. I opted for lemon ice tea and my wife settled for fresh lime in the complimentary drinks. They were refreshing and amazing. A surprise Valentine Cake was served to us. What could be more warm and sweet than this!  
Among the starters we had:  
Cajun spicy Patoto – Must have, the taste is awesome full 5 on 5
Paneer Malai Tikka- Good 4 on 5
Labanese grill Veg- 4/5
Barbeque Pinaple-3/5
Chilli Corn Steak3/5
Veg Kabab-4.5/5

I hope my wife can give much better reviews on Veg and I dug in most into non-veg food
Non Veg Starters
Peri Peri Chicken- 5/5
Tandoori Tangri-4.5/5
Moroccon Seekh Kabab-5/5
Were also served with sweet Bread which was fresh and soft yes of course tastes pleasant. We enjoyed our Barbeque.

The courteous staff made sure that guests are happy and satisfied. So they went to each table and asked for feedback. They also offered to customize food in case someone wanted. The staff was on the toes singing songs for guests celebrating their anniversary or birthdays.

Then it was time for main course. I can only write for non veg; I am sure my better half had the same experience with veg.

Non Veg
Chicken Dum Biryani Masala-4/5
Burani Ghost- 5/5
Nimbu Makhan Ka Murg-4.5/5
Fish and Hot Garlic Sauce- 5/5

Out of the above I am in love with Burani Ghost and Fish and Hot garlic Sauce. We were almost full but as a true Indian we always have reserve for sweets. Desserts had an amazing variety and the taste drove us crazy J


Walnut Brownie with peanuts-5/5
Pan Icecream with Gulkand and Khas Syrup-5/5
Angoori Gulab Zamun-4.5/5
Charlotte de Royal mango cake-5/5

Out of all the Pan Ice Cream and Phirnee was out of this world.  It seems desserts were prepared by experienced chef because they were not overloaded with sweets unlike the regular Indian sweets.

As we finished our heavenly lunch, and were preparing to leave, in came the last surprise of the day. The floor manager came with a camera and took a picture of us together. I assumed it would be for their wall or soft board display. While waiting for our car to arrive, the manager came back with the hard copy of our picture nicely framed.  

Conclusion- The overall experience was beyond words. We met with very friendly staff and honest gestures from them. The food, the ambience, staff all were excellent.

Good Job BBQN. We surely will come again.