In recent times man has been witnessing the slow decline of the opposable thumb. His newly risen regard for the internet, however, has made sure that everything is just an index-fingered click away.
Literally, everything. You name it, you can buy it – just a click away.
While we have been living in a city where shopping beats every other pastime, do we really have the time for the traffic-choked roads, the 5C buses and the warm humanity that swarms between the traffic-choked roads and 5C buses?
Which is why we decided to sit in the comfort of our rooms and say a hello to Flipkart.
Shopping trends for insti junta have changed tremendously with more and more people turning to the internet for a hassle-free shopping experience. “Who wants to lug around shopping bags when your shopping can be door delivered?” chirped this lady with a weakness for shoe shopping (No, it was not Carrie Bradshaw). Online shopping these days comes with an easy-to-navigate and catalogued archive of items (colours/sizes/brands) for virtual window shopping. It also features combo/super saver offers and a wide variety of discounts through promotional codes, gift certificates, seasonal and festive discounts and free shipping. This seems to get a thumbs up from our crowd.
Step aside, Amazon and eBay. Make way for the online desi shopping experience. Yebhi, Indiaplaza, LetsBuy, Naaptol have made a big foray into our lives.
“Yeah, sure. Why not go for the discounts and the free shipping, if it makes life easier?” said my colleague from lab and a now proud owner of a brand new Samsung Galaxy (courtesy:Flipkart). When asked whether it would have been a little more reliable to actually go to a mobile shop and see and feel the aforementioned expensive phone before buying, he replied, “Online shopping has now become relatively safe and you can be assured that electronic goods you are buying will not be defective or damaged. You will not be cheated.” A fellow colleague upon overhearing this said that she had bought a Morphy Richards iron on LetsBuy which arrived in 48 hours, neatly packaged, and that she has been crease free ever since. People have sufficient faith in the reputation of these sites to even buy laptops and ebook readers. Everything comes well packed, invoiced and couriered through trustworthy and unfailing delivery services in working condition. Customer satisfaction guaranteed.
Books, our perennial source of sunshine in these times of thunderstorms, are the most in demand through online shopping, followed by, well, shoes. Flipkart reigns supreme in the online market for books and the navy blue box shaped Flipkart bag is a familiar sight in insti. The lesser known Tradus and Indiaplaza are slowly gaining popularity for having a very huge collection, unbelievable discounts, and pre orders for new releases which makes them affordable for college students. The TCS Story in hard cover was available in Indiaplaza as a pre order with 35 percent discount and free shipping – it was sold out on the first day. Yebhi and Indiaplaza cater to lifestyle shopping with accessories, apparel, jewellery, shoes, bags, watches etc. Footwear brands such as Catwalk, Carlton London, Carla Berotti, Florsheim, Reebok and Valentino; apparel from Adidas, Calvin Kline, John Players, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger, Wills Lifestyle are mostly available on discount. Kara, Kenneth Cole, Burberry and Hidesign vie for your attention in the bags section; and as for watches, everything from Timex to Tag Heuer is there for virtual window display. Naaptol and LetsBuy also have a very wide range of mobiles and electronics.
Flipkart is also garnering prominence as a good place to buy mobiles, electronics, home, music and games. The same applies for Snapdeal which has undergone a makeover of sorts in the last year. There are mushrooming sites dedicated to selling only bags, perfumes, cosmetics and T shirts. It was on one of these sites that I found the cosmetic holy grail, Oriflame, which is hard to come by in stores. While searching for Filofax all over the city and literally calling up distributors all over the country, it came as no surprise, that dear faithful Flipkart had them on discount.
The payment portals on these sites are quite secure and people aren’t hesitant about virtually swiping their credit cards. The payment methods also extend to debit cards, internet banking and the more popular though a tad pricey COD (cash on delivery). This ensures complete faith in the payment process.
While Flipkart had already earned respect for its prompt and assured delivery, Yebhi, Tradus and LetsBuy are also primarily popular for their 48-hour delivery. Tradus and LetsBuy also have free shipping. Shipment tracking can be done through the user accounts and they also keep you notified via email and SMS. Another advantage with these sites is that they have a relatively straightforward return policy for shoes and clothes sizes and the customer care is, in fact, available if you call. This is quite unlike going to the store with the shopping bill, only to be shown in the microscopic fineprint that “goods once sold, blah blah blah….”
The occasional mix-up does happen, sometimes the delivery guy delays, sometimes the order gets delayed, and sometimes the order is only partly shipped. But there is nothing that an agitated phone call or an online ticket will not set right. A friend who placed an order for a digital thermometer got a wireless USB mouse instead, around five times the value of the thermometer. I did not hear her complain. Or see her return it.