A guide on global online shopping for Indian buyers

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

Are you bored of your gaming console, and want to switch to Nintendo Switch? Or have you been eyeing that premium Harrods bag, or the latest collection from Saint Laurent or beauty products from Glossier? One way is to buy these global brands, not available in India, on your next trip abroad, the other is to hand a list to your NRI relatives. If you can’t wait that long, there’s always the option of shopping online from global e-commerce websites that ship internationally.

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Of course, there’s a cost attached to it, which many Indian shoppers don’t seem to mind paying, given the quality and choice. According to a report published by logistics firm DHL, The 21st century spice trade: A guide to the cross-border e-commerce opportunity, which quotes the Google Consumer Barometer, what drives consumers in less mature e-commerce markets like India to shop cross-border is better quality, broader range and trustworthiness. According to the report, 42% of surveyed Indian respondents said they shop from websites abroad due to better quality of products, while 37% liked the available offers. Electronic items (55%) and fashion apparels (45%) are among top purchases by Indian consumers, followed by beauty products and cosmetics (26%) and toys (20%).

But it may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce site as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India—there are charges to take care of and payment and shipping options to consider. We hand-hold you through the hiccups and tell you smart ways to reduce your costs.

THE CHARGES

Shipping charges: While we are used to one-day free delivery option from most domestic e-commerce sites, ordering products from an international website typically attracts shipping charges. There are various factors that determine how costly the shipping is going to be. “Shipping charges are calculated based on factors like weight, dimension of the product, origin-destination, duties and taxes, insurance as applicable, and the service type (express takes 2-3 days, economy takes 5-15 days and postal takes 15-30 days),” said R.S. Subramanian, country manager, DHL Express India. Most global e-commerce websites have preferential rate agreements with a particular courier company and the same is displayed upfront at checkout.

Customs duty: All products, if imported for personal purposes, attract basic customs duty of 10%. On top of that, you also have to pay goods and services tax (GST) depending on the slab rate fixed by the government. Check the import customs tariff of various commodities here. While some websites might levy local taxes to be paid in your country in advance, some collect the customs duty upon delivery.

“Basic customs duty is 10% on majority of the products. It’s levied on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value. If you are purchasing something online, the CIF value will be mostly put up by the courier company; their cost generally includes insurance, too,” said Bipin Sapra, tax partner, EY.

However, the customs officer takes into account the “assessable value” when calculating the duty. “Generally, the assessable value and CIF value are the same and the customs duty is imposed on such value. Assessable value is self-assessed by the importer and is accepted by the customs officer. In case, such value is rejected by the customs officer, then the officer may determine the value as per applicable rules,” said Suresh Nandlal Rohira, partner, Grant Thornton India LLP. The CIF value may sometimes get rejected by the customs officer if she has any reason to believe that the product has been undervalued by the sender.

“Online shoppers should take care that the products ordered online by them are imported through courier and used for personal purpose to avail the concessional rate of 10% basic custom duty,” added Rohira.

Currency conversion: Websites usually list products in their local currency (say US dollar or British pound). The rupee is not one of the strongest currencies globally and hence conversion rates might spike up the charges.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Most international websites only accept credit cards, payments via Paypal account or Amex cards. Domestic debit/credit cards that are not enabled for international transactions may also not work on international portals.

However, debit cards of some banks might work for international transactions. So check with your bank if your debit card can be used to shop internationally. If not, ensure you either have a Paypal account or a Visa or Mastercard credit card.

SMART WAYS TO REDUCE COSTS

Compare prices with package forwarding sites: If you are shopping for multiple items, package forwarding websites like Borderlinx, Shipito, and Shop and Ship may help you save some money.

Once you sign up, these sites will give you access to local warehouse addresses of different countries, for a fee. Just shop from any website and enter this local package forwarding address during checkout. After receiving the product from the e-commerce portal at their warehouse, they repackage and consolidate items into one package (in case of multiple items) and also help reduce the weight and size. They also work for those looking for brands that are shipped only domestically, say within the US.

While they may work for multiple items and in a situation where the main website doesn’t ship to India, they can turn out to be expensive otherwise because they have steep shipping costs. So make use of these services only if you really need the product and are willing to pay a premium on it. Compare costs before going for it.

Look for cheaper currency: You can also save at the time of currency conversion. You can get slight advantages by checking if the product is available on another country’s portal, say the US or Europe, where conversion rates might be slightly better. “Customers should do their research to not just see what the listed price is but also what the delivered price is going to be,” said Sapra.

However, “customs duty would remain the same for that product regardless of the country (you order the product from),” said Rohira.

Look for offers: One way to avoid the shipping charge is by shopping when the websites come up with offers of free international shipping during festive or sale seasons. Many sites also waive off the charges on a minimum order amount.

While Indian consumers are willing to pay extra if they can find quality products online, shipping charges and customs duty often make the products 40-50% more expensive than the listed price. So research well. Last but not the least, be careful of online fraud and only shop from reliable websites.

[“Source-livemint”]

I was addicted to online shopping! This is how I controlled it

Online shopping, that’s the new bug under the list of behavioural addictions. Some people indulge in it because they hate to invest time and step out to shop, while some do it because of its massive variety and accessibility. However, studies say that the trend has caught particularly with stressed individuals as shopping on the net can provide instant gratification. Whatever the root cause, it is not something that should be taken lightly. A reader of ours, Meha Sindhwani, shares with us her encounter with online shopping addiction and how she chose to combat it.

I have been in a media organization for three years now, the industry that is known to be abreast with everything that goes viral. Also, not to mention, media industry is also known for the high scores of stress it gives to its employees. Though I don’t have hard fact to support my argument but I really think that stress, at least in part, comes from the unfamiliar nature of our job. We never know what may trend or happen in the next second. This has us glued to our seats, overwhelmed by the speed at which the world is moving.Though I like what I do but I would not deny that since the time I have been here, my stress levels have only gone up. I didn’t realize it when it was actually happening but only now that I look in the rear view. And, this stress had many forms of manifestations.

My job required me to stay active on social media platforms. I never realized when I became a junkie from someone who would even browse Facebook just thrice in a week. Being on the mobile so much, I would often browse the various shopping advertisements that showed on my social media feeds. And honestly, I couldn’t help but visit their websites and download their apps.

It started with an order or two every month for the first few months. I loved to order online because it started giving me a happy hit. My most favorite part would be the delivery, which I mostly got done to my office only. All those memes that exaggerate the sense of waiting for an online order, that’s actually me. No kidding.

So gradually, the frequency of my online shopping increased to once in every week. I realized that this was becoming a problem when, towards the end of the month, I would be bankrupt and I would still order clothes, or accessories, or footwear or something or the other, making the payment through my credit cards. And let me tell you, I have never been a credit card person.

Three months went by like this. I paid my credit card bills which would usually be not beyond a certain limit. Then, in the fourth month, I ended up not just crossing that limit, but also doubling it. But I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I knew what I was doing; just that, I couldn’t control it. Some signs that I felt particularly in that month included:

– Browsing shopping apps while travelling, before sleeping and after waking up, basically at all times I could spare. I was surprised myself when during one of the routine night calls, I disconnected because I was sleepy but post that, I browsed a shopping app for 45 minutes.

– Online shopping started making me feel happy. I started looking forward to the time when I would be idle, sometimes just to browse those apps and not even shop.

shutterstock_541434475 shopping online

– Clicking on ‘Buy’ often accompanied guilt and did not take into consideration my financial situation.

– I stopped telling my mother what I bought because she would scold me.

– My cupboard was flowing with clothes, many of them unworn so far and I had to get two new jewellery boxes to contain my accessories.

After having to pay the debilitating bill, I decided that this could not continue anymore. Immediately, I uninstalled all the shopping apps from my phone and reported all their advertisements that stared back at me on social media platforms.

But, by doing so, I was only eliminating my possibility of shopping and not the cause of my shopping problem. I didn’t know how to do that and so, I sought advice from a friend who was pursuing a Phd in psychiatry. It was then I realized that my habit was stemming from stress, majorly at workplace and also because of a recent break-up that I had had, which I earlier thought wasn’t as traumatic as it perhaps was.
I would shop in order to pleasure myself and because the pleasure wouldn’t last, I had to shop again. This was my coping mechanism as it gave me little adrenaline rushes every time I received an order. This has also been proven by many studies, such as one by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. It said that online shopping reduced sadness. Another one by The Huffington Post concluded that every third person shops online to deal with stress.
My friend told me to reroute my mind, which meant that I needed to destress and unwind. She recommended that I do yoga and whenever I get an impulse to shop, I should recognize the underlying negative emotion that’s driving it. Once I know what the emotion is, I can either write about it, talk about it with a friend or just acknowledge it because even that apparently helps. And yes, it did.
It’s been six months since I have not shopped even a single thing online and I am really happy that I could come this far. Not that I will never shop online now. I will, but only much less frequently and when I really need to buy something and it is a necessity, not otherwise.

[“Source-timesofindia”]

We compared online shopping at Costco and Boxed, the ‘Costco for millennials,’ and one had a clear advantage over the other

Costco Grocery

Costco’s website has a lot to offer, but it can be tricky to navigate.
  • Costco and Boxed are both bulk retailers that sell pretty much everything.
  • Boxed has been called the “Costco for millennials” because it’s an online-exclusive store with mobile ordering and speedy delivery. Costco also has an online store and mobile ordering, but its prices can be as much as 20% more there than in the physical warehouse stores.
  • Costco shoppers can shop online without a membership, but a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout.
  • The websites themselves have some obvious differences, and we found that one was much easier to use than the other.

Costco and Boxed – the so-called “Costco for millennials” – sell everything and anything in bulk.

Unlike Costco, Boxed is digitally native. It has mobile ordering and one-to-three-day delivery. It also offers free two-day shipping if you spend more than $49, and it doesn’t require a membership to make a purchase.

Costco has an online store in addition to its physical warehouses, but products across all categories tend to cost more online than in stores. Though the website allows shoppers to order from Costco without paying for a $60 annual membership, a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout. However, Costco has been taking some steps to reach more millennial shoppers, like offering two-day delivery through Costco Grocery and one-day delivery through a partnership with Instacart.

One of the most clear differences between Costco and Boxed is that Boxed members don’t need to pay an annual fee to access the savings. But the company did recently launch Boxed Up, a premium service that costs $49 a year and provides shoppers with perks like free shipping on orders over $20, 2% cashback rewards, and price matching with competitors.

Both websites offer major savings for bulk shoppers, but upon trying both, I found one was easier to use than the other. See what it’s like to shop at each:

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers’ picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers' picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren’t quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren't quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

The grocery page on Costco’s site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The grocery page on Costco's site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

Comparing prices isn’t an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Comparing prices isn't an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Costco: 200 oz. for $28.99Boxed: 150 oz. for $19.99

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco’s site.

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco's site.

Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands’ respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco's private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands' respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco: $8.79Boxed: $11.99

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn’t even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn't even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco’s website without a membership, unless you’re willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco's website without a membership, unless you're willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It’s structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It's structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 …

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 ...

… and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don’t have to spend as much to get the perks.

... and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don't have to spend as much to get the perks.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren’t as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren't as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

Here’s how online shopping websites are planning to deal with frauds

Related image

-commerce companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and virtual reality with a view to cut logistics costs and identify fraudulent orders, said a report by global auditing and consulting firm PwC.

With an emerging middle-class population of more than 500 million and approximately 65 per cent of the population aged 35 or below, India represents a highly aspirational consumer market for retailers across the globe, said the PwC TechWorld report.

“E-commerce players are revamping their technology strategies to maintain their competitive edge. Most e-commerce platforms are upping their investments in areas such as conversational commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) and analytics technologies,” it said.

It observed that to identify fraudulent orders, reduce return rate and also cut down on logistics cost, e-commerce companies are investing in robotics and AI heavily.

“AI-based voice-based shopping in vernacular language enables deeper customer engagement and smoothens the transition from offline to online by overcoming the language barrier,” it added.

Then there is advanced analytics that allows for better optimisation of stock management as well as customisation of content based on data-driven understanding of consumers’ online behaviour and preferences.

Also, there are blockchain technologies that improve fraud detection and enable companies to offer a secure and transparent online medium as it helps in determining authenticity in multi-party transactions and expedite payment settlement, PwC said.

“Almost all customer interaction for online retailers occurs via phone or email and involves banking information or personal data, e-commerce sites are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

“Given the recent episodes of data breaches and alleged misuse of customer information, the need for adopting appropriate security measures has escalated significantly,” said Sandeep Ladda, PwC India Partner

The report further highlighted that frauds or data thefts cause not just financial loss but also reputation damage and consequently loss of business, which is detrimental in today’s global digital economy.
According to research from the Ponemon Institute, in 2017, India recorded the largest average number of breached records at 33,167 (global average = 24,089).
[“Source-gadgetsnow”]

Online mattress companies defy age of online shopping by opening brick-and-mortar stores in Denver and across country

Eddie Machuca tries out one of ...

Eddie Machuca tries out one of the beds in the Amerisleep showroom inside Park Meadows mall June 24, 2018. Amerisleep, an online mattress company based in Phoenix, has opened several brick-and-mortar stores, including the one that opened last month in Lone Tree.

The internet opened up an entirely new marketplace for businesses as smartphones proliferated and broadband moved into rural America.

And it wasn’t just services such as airline tickets and hotel reservations — anyone can set up shop on digital Main Street and hock their wares to customers who are passing by, or in this case, swiping or clicking by.

Few industries have capitalized on this trend more than mattress makers. You see the ads on websites or Facebook, and hear them on the radio. They are everywhere. The best sleep of your life for a reasonable cost all shipped to your door. Rolled tightly and made of foam blends rather than traditional wire springs, these mattresses slide out of the box and in a few hours expand to full size.

And now, building on their success, some online-only mattress retailers are trending the other way and setting up shop in brick-and-mortar stores, some in Denver.

And, as you’d expect, doing it with the same nontraditional approach they started with in the online world.

Take online retailer Amerisleep, which is opening its first Denver area store at the Park Meadows mall in Lone Tree on Saturday, June 23. There, customers can enter “Dream Suites” where they can nap in private for as long as they want while trying out one of five mattress models.

“One of the most frequent questions I get (from customers) is, ‘Is there a store I can go and try out one of your mattresses?’ ” said Joey Holt, co-founder of Amerisleep, which also has stores in Austin, Texas, and Arizona’s major cities.

People spend about a third of their life sleeping, so testing a mattress before purchase is paramount to many customers.

“Eighty percent of mattresses are still sold in stores,” Holt said. “Stores allow people to have those in-person conversations and create relationships that you can’t create online.”

Denver offers Amerisleep and other online mattress companies a large customer base as one of the nation’s second most rested states.

“Denver aligns with our three pillars: sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Colorado is the second most rested state, the least obese, and has some of the healthiest restaurants in the country,” said Holt.

The decision to partner with furniture stores and open their own brick-and-mortar locations goes largely against the grain as many other industries struggle to compete with online retailers and are investing more resources into online marketing and sales.

Physical store fronts and on-site locations have the added benefit of bringing in walk-in traffic and driving awareness that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Other online mattress companies like Leesa, Boll and Branch and Casper also are beginning to establish physical footprints, wanting to catch some of that foot traffic and also to provide the opportunity for customers to grab a catnap.

Casper has a store in Cherry Creek mall, one of its 18 locations throughout the country, that also allows customers to try out their mattresses and catch a few z’s in the privacy of their makeshift bedrooms.

Leesa is also in Cherry Creek mall. The company has partnered with West Elm furniture store, opting to sell its mattresses in an established retail space.

Later this summer, Amerisleep plans to open another a location in Cherry Creek alongside Casper and Leesa.

“Furniture is an aesthetic that people want to touch, feel, and sit on,” said David Wolfe, CEO and co-founder of Leesa. “Our West Elm partnership gives customers the knowledge that if they want to try a mattress, they can.”

As mavericks who upended the traditional mattress-selling business model, it’s not surprising that Wolfe and Holt have a different perspective from those selling traditional brands.

“Many traditional mattress stores made it very difficult to differentiate between mattresses,” Wolfe said. “We give people the opportunity to research and shop from the comfort of their own home, but we’ve picked one partner where they can go and try it in-person. We’re building relationships and building understanding.”

Holt said AmeriSleep was attempting to “elevate the customer experience.”

“Our goal is to redefine how mattresses are purchased and sold in stores,” said Holt. “With the current landscape you either have one or two options or 50 to 75. Trying a mattress in-store can be kind of awkward. Our approach is much more customer focused.”

[“Source-denverpost”]

UAE’s online shopping sites try to win over loyalty

Mujeeb Rahman, chief operating officer at Bebuzzd, a loyalty programme solutions provider, warns that simply copying Amazon or any other industry leader may not work.

Dubai: What sort of online shopper are you? One who sticks with a specific portal for as many of your shopping requirements as possible? Or are you the sort checking out price comparison websites to see which has the best deal on offer?

Image result for UAE online shopping sites try to win over loyalty More second-tier online retailers are creating rewards schemes that will prompt shoppers to remain with them rather than chase a deal elsewhere.”

 – Mujeeb Rahman | Chief operating officer at Bebuzzd 

Now, these online portals are trying to decide what sort of shopper you want to be. And to do so, they are using a key strategy their brick-and-mortar rivals in the UAE have been using for years now — loyalty programmes.

 

 

“More second-tier online retailers are creating rewards schemes that will prompt shoppers to remain with them rather than chase a deal elsewhere,” said Mujeeb Rahman, chief operating officer at Bebuzzd, a loyalty programme solutions provider.

“These e-retailers are offering up to 10-15 per cent [on the transaction] as rewards compared with a 0.5-1.5 per cent that one of the bigger retailers — brick-and-mortar and online — currently offer.

“Online loyalty schemes are still trying to find their feet in the UAE — but with more and more shoppers being found there, it’s only a matter of time before e-retailers place more emphasis on winning loyalty.”

The reasons are clear enough. These e-retailers want to be on the right side of a formula — the “80:20” — that has worked successfully in the retail business over the years.

Under this, 20 per cent of customers of a business account for 80 per cent of its transactions. These customers are thus less likely to look elsewhere for a product or service and will not be swayed by one-off discounts.

This is why playing the loyalty card is so important. Win over enough of these committed — in other words, loyal — shoppers, and the portal stands a better chance of remaining in business.

“There could be many other factors that compel a shopper to choose a particular shopping site, but if they can offer a compelling rewards/loyalty scheme, it provides another attraction,” said Rahman.

They had better start doing so. There has been so much of speculation that souq.com/Amazon could use its basket of ‘Amazon Prime’ premium services to go after market share in the region. This is a tactic that the US e-retailer has deployed to its advantage elsewhere, and there’s no reason why it won’t work in these markets.

Going forward, it won’t be enough to be a plain-vanilla sort of shopping portal, selling the same kind of things at more or less the same prices. Some competing point of difference needs to be there.

Grocery shopping, especially the fresh produce, and quick delivery is one category that portals are working on to win over customers. The thinking is that grocery offers can raise the transaction volumes immeasurably and, if played right, retain customers too. To date, no regional online shopping platform has got a lock on this category as yet, which makes the stakes higher.

But Rahman warns that trying to copy an Amazon or any other industry leader need not work. “Amazon/souq.com already has the scale and other portals need to come up with schemes that will not be a burden on their operations,” he added. “One can’t just promise same-day delivery and free shipping just because Amazon can do it.”

Yet, for online vendors, there are some inbuilt cost benefits compared to their brick-and-mortar rivals. “They don’t have to spend integrating user data because that already comes with an online shopping transaction,” said Rahman. “But brick-and-mortar retailers don’t have that advantage — they have to do everything from scratch in the data collection and integration.

“What online vendors need to work on is create loyalty/rewards schemes that people will want. In online selling, it’s never about the first-time buyer — what counts is the repeat shopper.”

An e-gift could be headed for your smartphone

Digital gifting could well be the next big thing headed your way… via your smartphone. You can thank the young for making it happen,

“It has been largely driven by millennials as it fits their online and mobile-centric lifestyle,” says a report by Bengaluru-based Qwikcilver, a prepaid gifting service platform.

“Digital gifting has become necessary for this younger audience, to make both online and offline purchases, and for online gaming as well. With millions of users worldwide accessing digital commerce from mobile phones, it’s a phenomenal opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses.

“Digitised plastic gift cards are still a mainstream avenue for most retailers globally but pure digital cards are increasingly popular, particularly from younger audiences — the market, like many others, is becoming virtual.”

[“Source-gulfnews”]

App to make NHS ‘as easy as online shopping’

The app will be available in September and will allow patients to book appointments and repeat prescriptions

The app will be available in September and will allow patients to book appointments and repeat prescriptions

Every NHS patient will be able to book GP appointments and check their symptoms on a smartphone app that ministers promise will make getting treatment as easy as online shopping.

It will become the standard way to access the NHS by the end of the year and will put a stop to the need for desperate early-morning telephone calls for GP appointments, the government has pledged.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said that it would “revolutionise the way we access health services” in the same way that banking and shopping had been transformed by the internet.

Patient groups said that the idea was hugely exciting but may be “too good to be true” given the woeful NHS record on major IT projects.

[“Source-thetimes”]

Runners have many factors to consider when shoe shopping

Cross country running series...

Whether you are a novice or veteran runner, buying shoes can be very overwhelming. The style of shoe constantly changes, as well as the latest trends in running. The biggest mistake runners can make when looking for shoes is “bargain hunting.” This can lead to shoes that aren’t designed for your foot structure, causing injury, miserable runs and lack of motivation towards training.

There are a few simple steps that can be taken when purchasing shoes to ensure a quality shoe that is appropriate for you.

Understanding pronation vs. supination

Pronation occurs when the heel hits the ground and rolls through the toe during foot strike. This is how your foot reduces the stress of impact with running. Excessive pronation is when there is too much roll from the outside to the inside of the foot, causing the arch of the foot to collapse to the ground. Excessive supination is when the outside aspect of the foot takes all the shock and the foot is unable to maintain neutral position and absorb forces evenly.

Assessing foot posture

To determine what foot type you have, stand in front of a mirror barefoot. You should see an arch on the middle aspect of the foot. A neutral foot is when there is approximately a ½ inch of space between the foot and the ground. A pronated foot is when there is minimal to no space between the arch and the ground. A supinated foot is when there is greater than 1 inch of space between the foot and the ground. You can further assess your foot type with a dynamic motion by squatting down and watching what happens to your arch and foot position.

Choosing the right shoe

Excessive pronators should choose a shoe with a straight shape. Motion control shoes would be the most appropriate for this foot type as they help prevent the foot from rolling in too far and are the most rigid and controlling shoe.

Excessive supinators should choose a shoe with a curved shape. Cushioned shoes allow for more shock absorption and encourage increased foot motion with less medial support. Neutral/normal arches should look for a semi-curved shape. Stability shoes are the most appropriate as they provide an excellent blend of cushioning, medial support and durability. There are also high-performance shoes which are generally designed for race day. These shoes are lighter, have less cushioning, are lower to the ground, and have a lower heel to toe ramp. Because these shoes lack normal stability and cushioning, they are designed for “serious” or elite runners vs. the novice runner.

Properly preparing before shopping

Shopping at a specialty running store will help with having a second set of eyes to look at your feet. The sales representatives working at running stores have specialized training in properly assessing every runner for the perfect shoe.

A few key things to check off the list when heading to the store:

  • Shop in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest
  • Bring your old shoes for comparison
  • Wear the socks you plan to run in
  • Bring orthotics/insoles you plan to wear in the shoes
  • Make sure both feet are measured for size, because one foot is always larger than the other

Ensuring the proper fit

When trying on shoes, check to make sure there is adequate room at the toe box by pressing your thumb between the end of your longest toe and the top of the shoe. Make sure there is enough width in the shoe but not enough to allow your foot to slide around when running. Your heel should snugly fit against the back of the shoe without sliding forward or up and down when running. When the shoe is securely tied, make sure the laces aren’t pressing too tightly on the top of the foot. Last but not least, make sure you have the chance to run in the shoes, whether it is on a treadmill or outside. It is the only way you will truly know if they are the shoes for you.

[“Source-postcrescent”]

Just Sonam Kapoor Shopping For A Snack Wearing A Stunning Saree. See Throwback Pic

Just Sonam Kapoor Shopping For A Snack Wearing A Stunning Saree. See Throwback Pic

Sonam Kapoor was last seen Sanju (Courtesy sonamkapoor)

Actress Sonam Kapoor took a trip down the memory lane and fished out a BTS photo of herself from the sets of PadMan. Sharing the throwback memory on Instagram, Soman captioned the photo: “Shoots make me hungry.” She accompanied the post with hashtags “#ThrowbackThursday” and “#BTSPadMan”. In the photo, Sonam, draped in a saree, can be seen scouting the shelves of a departmental store to grab a quick snack between the shots. “Sonam reaching out for some chips,” It’s making me hungry too,” and “Shopping time,” are some of the comments on the photo. Sonam Kapoor’s photo has been liked by over 224,794 fans in less than five hours

[“source=marketingweek]

Amazon Prime Day Vs Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days: The 2018 Online Sale Showcase

Amazon Prime Day Vs Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days: The 2018 Online Sale Showcase

A June 2018 report expected Indian retail ecommerce sales to increase 31% to reach $32.7 Bn in 2018. The report was put to test during the recently concluded sales of Amazon and Flipkart— Prime Day and Big Shopping Days, respectively.

Amazon Prime Day was hosted for 36 hours on July 16-17, while Flipkart hosted Big Shopping Days for 80 hours from July 16-19.

The Big Shopping Days sale was Flipkart’s second sale event since the announcement of Walmart acquiring 77% stake in the company in May 2018. After its four-day Big Shopping Days sale held from May 13-16, Flipkart claimed in a media statement that it enabled 300 sellers to become millionaires.

Two Deep-Pocketed Players, Two Big Sales

During Big Shopping Days sale 2018, Flipkart claimed to generate four times its daily revenue and sell 2.5 times the daily units it sells on an average.

The 80-hour event generated sales equal to 15 non-sale days in terms of transaction value and sold as many units as 10 non-sale days. Also, the company claimed that traffic on the Flipkart platform increased by 150% of its daily traffic.

However, the Amazon Prime Day sale was something new for India.

Bringing its global event Prime Day to India for the first time, Amazon India offered 200 exclusive new product launches, thousands of deals, and video and music selections especially curated for Prime Day. The Prime Day offers stretched further for one week on Prime Music and Video as well.

The research company RedSeer has analysed customer perspective to these sales.

Here are a few highlights from the customer front:

  • Awareness of the Amazon or Flipkart sale is 60% compared to 100% in BBD/Great India Sale last year
  • Flipkart has a 60% mindshare during sale days compared to 40% for Amazon
  • 59% of respondents have bought on Flipkart while 41% have bought on Amazon (10% overlapping on both)
  • 68% of the respondents knew about the sale through low-cost digital channels
  • 39% of the customer purchased consumer electronics on Flipkart followed by Fashion while 35% of the customers purchased Fashion on Amazon followed by Mobiles
  • 60% of the consumers on Flipkart spent more than INR 5000 during the sale, while 70% of the consumers on Amazon spent more than INR 5000 during the sale
  • The use of PhonePe was 13% of the total payments on Flipkart while 9% of Amazon customers used Amazon Pay

So, Who Nailed It: Flipkart Or Amazon India?

Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country head, Amazon India, said, “Extending Prime Day to 36 hours this year allowed us to further reward members with unbeatable deals, access to exclusive new products, and unforgettable experiences that highlight the many benefits of a Prime membership. We also want to thank our sellers, brands and our content partners who helped to make Prime Day bigger and better.”

To be noted, members streamed music in 18 Indian and international languages on Prime Music in the week leading up to Prime Day. The week leading up to Prime Day was Prime Video’s best ever, with the highest number of streamers in India ever, as claimed by the company.

On the other hand, according to Smrithi Ravichandran, Senior Director, Flipkart, “During Big Shopping Days, the success of the sale is a testimony to our customer’s faith in us, making us as the destination where India shops. We are overwhelmed to see the RedSeer survey findings that reinstate our commitment and celebrate this success.”

Some of the unconventional categories that were a great success during this sale included Furniture and IoT other than the hot categories like mobiles, fashion and appliances, she added.

Amazon Vs Flipkart: Expanding Product Categories

Recently reports surfaced that Flipkart is working to triple its warehouse workforcefor upcoming festive season sale Big Billion Days.

Following the Walmart acquisition, Flipkart has been increasing its commitment to the Indian market with several new initiatives, including a foray into fintech for which it has sought NBFC certification. Flipkart has also set its next target — a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $17.6 Bn by 2020-21.

It must also be noted that a Forrester report had recently revealed that Flipkart’s standalone market share was estimated to be 31.9% at the end of 2017 while Amazon India’s was 31.1%.

Amazon had started out in India with a 14% share in 2015 against 43% of Flipkart. Citi Research estimates that Amazon India is currently in second place in the Indian ecommerce market with about $5 Bn in GMV.

Amazon had committed $5 Bn investment in India. Recently, Amazon opened 15 fulfilment centres in Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai to create a specialised network for Amazon Now.

A Citi Research report had said that Amazon India is expected to reach $70 Bn in gross merchandise volume (GMV) and $11 Bn in net sales by 2027. The same report valued Amazon India at $16 Bn.

While Amazon India’s food retail plans have hit a roadblock, the company continues to expand its portfolio and has onboarded Indian handloom weavers, and also introduced Shutterbug.

At the same time, Flipkart has been expanding its bets on grocery, fashion, furniture etc as the company expects about 45% ($7.4 Bn) of its 2020-21 GMV target to be contributed by mobile phonesfollowed by large appliances and fashion at $2.7 Bn and $2.6 Bn, respectively. Groceries are expected to contribute another $1 Bn.

As the festive season sales preparations start for the ecommerce giants, customers can buy an increasing range of products on these platforms. But though the ecommerce giants may entice online shoppers with such sales, will they be able to taste the real success that comes with balance sheets showing profitability in this financial year?

[“Source-inc42”]