Saturday, March 31, 2012

Food, Eating Patterns and Technology


 
When I was a kid, my mom used to feed me. I grew-up to be able to pick-up food from my plate and eat for self; my mom patiently used to clear the mess. I went to college and got accustomed to canteens, fast-food joints and tea stalls. Got a job and with enough hard earned money to squander, I took to multi cuisine restaurants - South Indian, North Indian, Rajasthani and the like. Corporate world, for its own benefits, sent me abroad and I got a taste of Continental, Malay, Singaporean, Chinese and American (I used to eat bread only during fever earlier but realized that one man's fever-food is another man's bread later) food. So far, I was actively visiting the food places to enjoy my food.

If ever I ordered food for home delivery, that was over the phone. I could neither understand the language nor the words uttered by the restaurant folks. They would hardly be able to communicate the 3 page menu items in an understandable way. Now, technology has brought the convenience of menu at my finger-tips online in India. I could select a restaurant in my locality,  browse through the menu leisurely and order online when I prepare my mind. I can alter the menu umpteen times till I am utterly satisfied and then place the order. Try out http://justeat.in. If the reviews do not tickle your funny bone, read them again !

With technology, I could afford to become lazy and my eating pattern has changed again - food comes home and I do not need to go to food place anymore ! I guess that takes me to childhood when my mom used to bring me food :-) If you still prefer to visit the restaurant and eat, there is this option online to book your table conveniently.

Middlemen have always played a big role in trade. There are always two or three layers of middlemen between manufacturer and end-customer in any line of business. They are required in the ecosystem to bridge the obvious gap in supply-chain. The online middlemen like ebay, Amazon and justeat.in makes it even more interesting. Justeat.in does not own the restaurants, don't have delivery boys, do not decide the menus, do not take online payments and from the comments in the site I figure out that they take up very little responsibility through call center.

But their tie-ups with different restaurants gives variety in choice for end-customer (sweets, pizzas, sandwitches, biryani, rotis and what not !) and a bachelor foodie should be able to enjoy the feast at home while watching TV. With IPL coming shortly, this service should be really worth a try !

Friday, March 30, 2012

E-Commerce India: Remote Computer Support for Laptops and PCs


You sometime wonder which anti-virus software to run on your PC? You have any trouble connecting your home PC with Wi-Fi router? You think that your Laptop has become slow lately? How do you address these problems? Are you one of those who rely on your family members who work as IT professionals in Software / Hardware companies? These IT professionals are trained and experienced to provide IT-based solutions at a next-level of abstraction. To consider a simple (but exaggerated) analogy, can Finance Minister of India come and solve your tax filing issues? :-)

Traditional option has been to go to the nearest PC repair shop (or branded authorized agent) and get the work done. With technology, this neighborhood agent is available online now and can help solve mundane problems remotely. One such site is http://etechies.in. You can call or send an e-mail. The door-step services are currently limited to Delhi and neighboring places. One can buy a support plan online and that includes remote support as well. This e-commerce enablement of the site must be making it really popular and help build a brand over a period of time. There are 16,000+ happy customers who 'liked' etechies on facebook !

How about enabling PCs / Laptops to send out an appropriate signal when software (OS or specific applications) is not working properly? It would be great if the system is self-healing instead of prompting the user to take appropriate action (unlike windows patches). An end-to-end trusted party is required to create such an ecosystem.


E-Commerce is not just about buying apparel, groceries or books (products) online, but also useful day-to-day services like in case of etechies. It's all happening in India !




Thursday, March 29, 2012

E-Commerce India : Where can I get a best price?


India is one of those price-sensitive markets, where price primarily determines the buy decision. With 6.9% growth in economy and rise in the middle-class, the consumption of consumer product goods has rapidly increased in India. With increase in buying power, the consumption is bound to increase. The fact that India is adopting to Internet very fast, fuels the consumption fire. The number of items available for purchase have increased enormously in the last decade. The number of brands - be it in apparel, accessories, food, beverages and mainly electronic gadgets - have increased exponentially and available even in tier-2 or tier-3 cities. There is not dearth of deal sites in India, which tend to give a good bargain for consumers.

If I need to buy a camera today, I just need two things - a) money b) money :-). For the rest, technology comes to my assistance !

There are numerous online e-commerce sites which offer different cameras from different brands. I can browse through the catalog and understand the details of the offerings. There are even articles in some of the sites which offer 'how-to' guides to chose a suitable camera. All these details would help me garner enough knowledge to buy a camera. Presuming that I have enough money to make the purchase, where would I buy?

There are sites like Amazon and eBay which offer marketplace solutions, where I can figure out the best possible price. But these sites do miss out on certain key e-commerce players like Flipkart. Thanks to technology and budding entrepreneurship, there are sites like MyPriceIndia (http://mypriceindia.com), which allow comparison of prices of a few items from different sites. I believe this site uses screen scrapping technology to capture prices from some of the prominent e-commerce sites in India. If some one else is doing this work of comparing the prices for me, should I not be happy? I just need to think about my source of finances to buy the camera :-)

What ever said and done, in the 4Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Placement and Promotion), PRICE comes first in India. Is it not? :-)

Life Meets Digital

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