Saying goodbye to long queues and parking nightmares, with e-comm

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 14, 2016


Mumbai-based Nabomita Mazumdar, a social media influencer and HR practitioner, says she shops only online.

“I buy anything from groceries to split ACs online. Ordering food, paying utility bills and recharges online are a must,” she says.

Ask her why she is such a fan of online shopping and she says there is freedom from the tyranny of time.

“I often buy groceries at 1 am. On top of it I don’t have to finish shopping at one go just because I have stepped into a store,” she says.

It’s also goodbye to lengthy queues at billing counters, and parking nightmares at shopping malls, she adds.

Ease of use

Monica Jasuja, Head of MasterPass and E-commerce, India and South Asia at MasterCard, is another evangelist for online shopping.

“I have signed up for Amazon’s subscribe and pay services,” she says. “They are a very restricted set of products but I know they will be delivered. This has freed up my time,” says Jasuja. She even shops for meat online. “Meat and some other items can now be shipped from localities that I don’t want to visit because it’s beyond the 3 km radius that I have easy access to,” she says. “Time saved is money earned, not to mention reduced carbon footprint too.”

If working women swear by online shopping for the flexibility and convenience, college students like Abhilasha Gupta prefer it for the price and product comparisons and best deal options.

At the other end of the spectrum retired folks are now discovering the joys of comfortable travel thanks to sites like Booking.com and MakeMyTrip. “I would say e-commerce has provided freedom of aspiration, trial, convenience across generations,” says Anaggh Desai, Senior Advisor with the Retailers Association of India and former CEO of Bombay Store.

What clicked?

A recent survey by American Express and Nielsen on the online buying habits of Indians conducted across six cities showed that 98 per cent of connected Indians are using the internet to shop.

The reasons mentioned include comfort and convenience, product comparisons as well as great deals.

Of course, freedom does sometimes come at a price. Technical glitches are rife and returning products is often a nightmare. “Refunds are horribly managed,” points out Jasuja, who now sticks to retailers with a good track record.

Meanwhile, physical stores are fighting back. Just over a month ago, the government cleared the Model Shops and Establishment Bill, 2016 which now allows shops, banks, cinema halls, malls, restaurants and all retail premises to stay open 24/7. Brick-and-mortar stores are also competing head on with online, with deals and discounts.

Finally, freedom of one kind may actually be enslavement of another. As Anaggh Desai sums up, “Online actually has raised expectations and made consumers slaves of deals every time.”

Published on August 14, 2016
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