Sunday, 18 December 2011

My Experiments With Writing: The Online Saga

My Experiments With Writing: The Online Saga: A little late in the Amazonifying stage, but I'm sure loving this transformation that Indian retail is going through. The Online era has ...

The Online Saga

A little late in the Amazonifying stage, but I'm sure loving this transformation that Indian retail is going through.

The Online era has just started to get a boost in India, it seems. Although, India's first online store started operating in 1999, Indians were quite not ready for the transition then. They hadn't even been properly exposed to organised retailing yet.

Now finally we are caught into the great web of The World Wide Web (pun intended). Not that I'm complaining, I specifically love the advantages that it provides. Google being the best blessing, I wonder how our parents studied without Google's help!!

I would say God Bless Social media sites, they got us hooked on to the web and now we find virtual alternates to almost everything in the physical world : Shopping, Social gaming, Dating, Fixing Marriages, Counselling, Teaching etc etc. The market for e-commerce sites is getting bigger and bigger in India, at present it stands somewhere around  40k crore, a lucrative market for the foreign players as well, with Amazon having its Indian penetration plans working out on full swing.

Walmart, the biggest retailer and the biggest company of the world, remains one-step ahead with its @WalmartLabs trying to get Mobile, Social Media, and Retailing into one sphere with its excellent data mining capacity, a sheer delight.

Thus, the online platform has become important to one and all, the retailers as well as the customers. I sure do love the discounts and deals that I get when I shop online, and its way too convenient. However, being a student, the only problem that I face is when the item is not marked COD (Cash On Delivery), and this may be a problem for many Indians as well, as many of us do not hold credit or debit cards and we know the reason why, and even if we do we are a scared lot.

That's all for now.


A month's view

A long gap since I posted anything mainly because college, placements, TV shows kept me busy. Anyways so what all did happen in this past month, let's recollect over the top of our heads:

1. The Government showed interest in opening the retail sector to foreign Retailers, opened it (100% in single brands and 51% in multi brand). A lot of hue and cry from the opposition side as well as from its allies. Shut it (multi-brand) and puts on hold. Bravo!!! Just imagine the kind of image India is posing to the world. Unprofessional. 
2. Kapil Sibal talking about 'monitoring' the social media and puts a garb around his argument by stating that they  might hurt our religious sentiments.Great!!! When will this man stop using his brains?? I mean please ask him to go through our Fundamental Rights to the page where Right to Speech is mentioned.

Stating straight from Mint : "Irony is seldom so choice. A Union minister of the “world’s largest democracy”—India’s self-promoted political brand—tries to control a medium that in the past year has proved an extraordinary tool for advancing democracy in other parts of the world."

3. Iphone 4S reporting poor turnout in India. Reason : PRICE.

4. Sehwag's recent stint, applauded by all.

5.The Amri Case.

6.Oh!! and I almost forgot...Happy 100th Birthday Delhi... Jeetey Raho!!!

etc,etc....I may have missed some, but these are the ones I could think of now. Hope all had a great month..


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

An Important Lesson From Steve Jobs!!

An Important Insight from the tech Maestro : Steve Jobs, that I came across.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Comparing Apples to Apples

Apple iPhone 4S
Apple iPhone 5

Apple, on October 4 2011, has launched Apple iPhone 4S instead of the much awaited iPhone 5. So, what's the reason behind this move?? Was it a complete "oops" move or a well thought out strategy?? Let's analyse

Apple 's market share in the smartphone's industry is at stake with  Android coalition taking up 41.7 % market share (Economic Times). 

So what does Apple do now??
It creates hype for Apple iPhone 5 & instead launches 4S. 4S is essentially an up- gradation over iPhone 4 with 8mp camera, "Siri" software for voice recognition, more memory, better & faster processing, iCloud storage (iCloud stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices),etc etc. Effectively priced at $199 (16GB)-$399(64GB), Apple is probably aiming towards capturing the lower tiered smartphone market in order to gain max share before Google comes up with its exclusive handsets with android, before coming up with the premium priced iPhone 5, which will not have much to offer in terms of software up gradation from that of the 4S. 

Rumors also suggest that iPhone 5 launch is just to "save face" for the company, since the testing of iPhone 5 did not go quite well (it used to heat up too quickly, being slimmer than 4), it needed time with the hardware part. So in order to "save face", all the software up-gradations in iPhone 5 were thrown into the 4S.

Now we ask, will the Apple loyals be dissapointed?
And the answer comes largely : NO. They swear by the technology that it offers, being enthusiastic about the recent launch, even though compromising on the looks of the phone which is exactly like their old iPhone 4. However, they do not give up hope on the "soon" launch of iPhone 5.

And even if some are dissapointed, a question comes up into my mind... Is it because of the number game? 4S instead of 5?? Because the technology would be the same & if its because of the looks, then I'm sorry I guess the value proposition of Apple is not clear to them.

Any which way, I guess it has got what it had wanted - huge publicity !!



Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Retail & Mark-e(a)-t(h)ing that I understand: When Marketers jingle (& sing) all the way....

The Retail & Mark-e(a)-t(h)ing that I understand: When Marketers jingle (& sing) all the way....: He's Always On Facebook...Yes!!! This is indeed the story of every teen, adult, almost every individual, who has the knowledge & access to...

When Marketers jingle (& sing) all the way....

He's Always On Facebook...Yes!!!
This is indeed the story of every teen, adult, almost every individual, who has the knowledge & access to the World Wide Web.
Its surprising to find that not-so-tech savvy parents & relatives (from the Generation Ex) are embracing this phenomena called Social Networking with open & loving arms. Call it snooping by housewives, networking by professionals or just catching up with friends, Facebook has become omnipresent.
So Vodafone has come up with Vodafone Blue, a handset which caters to this "need" of the masses.
The advertisement by Ogilvy starts with a 20 something year old boy getting up in the morning & gets hooked onto the Facebook. Now what's so unusual about that right? The fact that Ogilvy has captured the whole digital phenomena & presented it beautifully in the physical space is the most innovative aspect, according to me. Obviously the catchy song sort of rings into your head for the whole day, is another helping aspect. 
But the advertisement sort of fails to etch the Brand Vodafone into the customer's minds. You remember the ad, but fail to remember the brand, as in the whole advertisement there is no mention about the brand Vodafone at all.

So yes, its catchy, yes its innovative, yes it targets to the facebook generation...but I forgot what brand is it again??

Another example here can be quoted about the Airtel's "Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai" campaign. When I first saw the advertisement, half way through I thought this must be about some Nokia phone (Connecting people) being launched with a separate friends network (in order to combat the bbm by Blackberry). But to my surprise it was good old Airtel targetting youth. Great tune again but what about brand recall?? My friends could not place the brand associated with the most happening "Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai", although they kept quoting the same & humming the tune through days.

Hero's new commercial "Hum Mein Hai Hero"  is another one nowadays with a catchy song by the Maestro A.R Rehman himself. The commercial clearly connects to the emotional quotient associated with the brand Hero (Cycles) in the hearts of every Indian. Brand recall is high. However, I feel the use of Hero motor bikes could have been incorporated more in the commercial. Other than that, it clarifies at the end  "Aapka Hero Honda ab ban gaya hai Hero Moto Corp." leaving no doubts in the minds of the customers.

It is indeed,  the increased usage of catchy tunes into the TV commercials, but one thing to keep in mind is Do they create enough Recall for the Brand???



Monday, 3 October 2011

The Power of Unity

Do you remember the story that we used to hear as children about the old man, who laid dying, calling in his children and giving them single sticks and asking them to break them into two, which was easier, and how at the end he gave them a full bundle of sticks and then asked the to break it, which was impossible?? 

Well, what I remember of the moral of the story, was that he advised them to always remain  united in order to stay strong so that none, whatever it may be, can destroy them.

In the business world of today, similar cases, are being followed everywhere. Take the example of the Cartels, which according to the Wikipedia:

cartel is a formal (explicit) agreement among competing firms. It is a formal organization of producers and manufacturers that agree to fix prices, marketing, and production.[1] Cartels usually occur in an oligopolistic industry, where there is a small number of sellers and usually involve homogeneous products.

However, cartels do not entirely explain the phenomenon that I want to explain through this example of the story. Yes, the power of unity is clearly expressed in the industry containing Cartels -petroleum, but as stated above, it is an oligopolistic industry where these group formations are only formed keeping in mind the effect on various aspects such as pricing and other phenomenons. So, essentially, these formations are just present in order to follow and maintain good and profitable business practices.

Now, what I literally interpret here and want to send across, is the need that arise for the "smaller fish" to come up and unify against the onslaught of the "Big fish".

Recently, in rural retailing, we have read a case study on MahaGrapes, it is basically a Cooperative, which signifies the united strength of various small grape farmers who collectively are a part of this cooperative, which gives them the leverage to reach out to foreign markets such as Tesco and demand better prices. Such is the Power of Unity of these small farmers, who individually would have never been able to achieve that state. So, this is quite relevant in the industries where Cooperatives are not only prevalent, but are present in considerable size.

Now this can be related to the retail scenario in India, as well. With the changing retail scenario in India, where the "Big fish" of retail such as Future Group, Aditya Birla Group etc have sensed the lucrative scope in this industry and have set foot in it, the local kiranawalas, i.e. the "Small fish", have feared their own demise. In order to, face these forces, the kiranawalas have evolved. Installing latest IT technologies at the POS, giving their store the new visual appeal, getting rid of the 'counters' and letting the consumers have the freedom of movement, being more sensitive to the consumers's shopping list (Earlier, when a consumer came and asked for an ABC brand of soap, the kiranawala in order to drive margins would hand in an XYZ brand and say that the XYZ is better and is in great demand nowadays and hence, was the decider. Even though this practice is still being followed, but, kiranawalas have now evolved into better merchants, now that the consumer has more choice in the form of "organised" stores) ,etc. This was stage 1 of their combat.

 Now came the turn of organized players to match upto the kiranawalas. No doubt, the kiranawalas had the insights into the cycle of needs of the local consumer, but this was countered by organized retail in the form of  "Loyalty Card" programmes and huge IT investments which would track down "cycle of needs" for each consumer through the loyalty cards. Huge penetration within years of operation because of huge capital backing and free home delivery was also made possible.

The kiranawalas , on the other hand, have no further capital back-up and had no clue what to do next. So, now the next step shall be to resort to the "Bundle of Sticks" fable, i.e. they have to unite against the "Big fish" and even "Bigger fish" (in terms of FDI being allowed and foreign players entering the country).  This can enable them for "Collective Bargaining" power not only in terms of vendors but also in terms of government. Following this strategy, they go in for huge IT investments, standardization, improved back-end support, collective warehousing,  etc. In short, they can go in for sort of like a Cooperative model, in order to successfully stand against the Retail Giants.