The Internet is all around us. We rely on it more and more and I do not have to tell you how much it has affected, if not changed our lives and way of thinking.
I personally use many components of the WWW. I use email, internet banking, I book almost all my airline tickets online as I do with international train bookings. Hotels are invariably researched and booked online. I also get a lot of my information online by way of blogs, newspapers and other material. I am sure you all do this if not much more using the Internet.
This is a post to tell you of two extremely pleasant Indian Internet [ecommerce] experiences.
The first is pretty obvious, Flipkart.com. While on the one hand a physical brick and mortar bookshop is almost nonexistent in India, on the other, Flipkart is really really good. Landmark as a bookshop exists only in Chennai. In Mumbai the Lower Parel outpost is shut and the Andheri one has become a toystore. Strand Book Stall in Mumbai is a joke. Crosswords is a bigger joke, literally. Besides self help, children’s books and Indian potboilers, these bookshops have nothing.
Flipkart has almost every book you can think of. They deliver within the time specified by them and they keep you informed of every move. You get a notification by email and SMS once you place the order, once the book is shipped and once the book is delivered. From the first time I booked an order in June 2010 I have placed 48 more orders and have had at least 150 books delivered. Each one came on time and was the correct book. Often I have had books delivered to me before the official date of release. Imported books, no problems they will get them for you. I use my credit card to buy the books. The Flipkart payment system works seamlessly and accurately with my credit card issuer, no sweat.
I must confess that there are two minor issues with Flipkart. The first problem I have found, and this is being picky, is that their search results are not always accurate. However I have cracked that by looking for the book on Amazon and using the ISBN number to search for the book on Flipkart. The second problem is the books are sometimes marginally more expensive than the same book in the UK. But I am not complaining. The book is delivered to your home in a matter of days, no other bookshop normally has the book in India and if you value your baggage allowance, then carrying the book from the UK is a big pain. So all things considered, Flipkart is brilliant. I recommend using Flipkart wholeheartedly.
The other site that recently impressed me is Bigbasket.com. I must thank Rahul B for this. Rahul lives in Bangalore and uses their services extensively. Once I figured they also have a presence in Mumbai, I thought why not and gave it a shot. I am so glad I did. It really was a pleasant experience.
Bigbasket is an online grocery store. I did not buy any fresh produce [vegetables, fruit and meat] as I still think it’s best to buy this personally. But for all other stuff used at home, Bigbasket is the place to shop. You can see images of the packages, pack sizes and products. Prices are displayed. You just select what you want and choose a delivery slot. I chose 7 am to 9.30 am. For those who have someone at home who can receive the goods you can choose a time during the day. You pay by credit card; cash on delivery is an option too and simply collect the goods. No giving money to a servant, no getting into fights on how he spent the money, no driving to the shop, no parking hassles. It’s a pleasant stay at home experience. Let’s be practical, buying normal branded stuff like cooking oil, body soaps, shampoos, sugar et al cannot be something you want to waste time energy and discussions over. Get the site open at home, call the family over and simply order what you need. This solution is summer heat proof and monsoon rain proof, what more could you want.
The goods came as ordered and bang on time well within the time slot. No complaints.
So folks, simplify your life. Go online.