Sales, Discounts = Happiness?

It’s not very often that I tend to look at the ads in newspapers, but I couldn’t have afforded to miss the one today. It was such a big one that it didn’t fit in the canvas of the folded newspaper and had to be browsed open for the entire thing to be visible.

Having done that, I realized that sales or discounts which more often than not are associated with groceries or the likes of electronic products were being used for a property worth 1 crore. To my bemusement, the discount that came along was barely 5 lakhs.

Not bad, considering that you are a third time or a fourth time buyer, but would it really go along well with a first time buyer, I guess not. Leave alone the value of the discount, the entire concept of discounting or putting on sales a property looked pretty novel. Wonder, who might have invented the word discount?

It’s not only in the property that sales have become the talk of the town, it has engulfed pretty much each and every aspect of our lives. As if the government was not too happy seeing the customers satisfied and as if the strong retail lobby had to chip in for the wants of more profits, what we, as consumers face now, is a possibility of not getting the discounts on the already escalated prices of the products, thanks to the new legislation being brought in for the e-commerce companies.

And the rationale being cited is that the government wants to make it a level playing field. Is it really the case? What about the huge profits that retailers make? And when e-commerce wasn’t there, I remember the very funda of discounts was based upon, first doubling the prices and then bringing it down tad bit to make the customer happy about the entire buying experience.images

Even after the discounts being offered online, there is a huge killing to be made out of the deal. That’s another issue that the unit economics including logistics etc. might not end up being a profitable deal altogether, yet going by the economics of sales, is still a good deal.

At the end of the day if the customer is benefiting by paying less, the merchant/seller is happy for being able to sell, and the aggregator is happy deriving its happiness from the investor money, which more often than not, comes from abroad; then why screw the entire thing up?

After all, FDI is what our government is after. The only difference is that the FDI is coming in this case through the HNIs or the investors looking for investment and quick return opportunities in emerging markets. Not all will have the appetite to invest in long-gestation infrastructure projects.

Is this legislation a good one for startups? Instead of interviewing the likes of the bigger retail stores’ CEOs, why not go and seek opinions from the doers who have been successful in bringing a systemic change, sustainable or not, can be debated?

Talking of sustainability, with trillions of debt that China has today, is it really sustainable or for that matter, the very fundamentals of fiscal deficit on which the current so called development takes place, sustainable?

Well, are we really concerned about sustainability? Are we really bothered as to what will evolve from the water crisis soon to hit the World in a big way? Are we really approaching the problems the way they should be? Are we wanting good for ourselves or the entire World? Are we concerned with short term gains or are looking at a broader picture focusing on long-term possibilities?

Sales and discounts always make the human race go gaga over the prospects, works in some cases, but not all. My humble plea to all concerned is to not go for discounts or short-cuts when it comes to making this world a “better” place to live in.

Source for Image: http://hr.tsu.edu/benefits/employee-discounts/

Connecto: The New Kid on the Block

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of being wired up. No matter where I go, I tend to be surrounded by wires and signals running all over my being. Yes, you can call it by what ever name you want, be it the internet revolution or the IT revolution, the fact is that we all are living in a Matrix (taking the liberty of borrowing this word from the famous movie), wherein we can be tracked every moment where we are going, what we are doing, what intentions we might have and what behavior might be expected of us.

Whether it be walking on the road with our mobiles in our pockets or whether it be browsing the internet, we are being tracked for every movement we tend to make, be it the mouse on which we move our fingers or be it the smart phone which we might be using for browsing the internet or sending a message to our friends on whatsapp. 

If you are feeling that your lives have been intruded, well to certain extent yes. But as you might be aware that there are always two sides of a coin, one which you feel happy about and the other which you don’t really take great pride in, so is this very aspect of making our lives go digital.

Without going into the cons, as cons are in itself defined to be such by the impact that they are making and by the very nature of usage of the pros, let me try to focus on the pros of the same.

One thing is for sure, that our lives have become simpler. If you have any sort of doubt regarding this, let me cite a couple of examples which might leave you on the pro side of things.

Imagine the kind of hassle one had to go through while paying, say an electricity or a phone bill. How much effort was required when it came to booking a train ticket! How wonderful it is that we can now book a cab or a taxi using the wonderful facility of a phone or internet!

On part of the consumers, so far so good. Let me now talk about how this has altered the way businesses are being run and what impact it is having on the sales or generation of leads and ultimately the ROI, which indeed becomes the bottom line and can be a key determinant when it comes to existence or non-existence of an entity.

How wonderful would it be for an e-commerce company if they can have a software product or a tool wherein they can gauge how much time a customer is spending on a web page or a particular page and they in turn can pop-up customized message based on the intent and understanding of the need of the customer! For instance, a girl might be looking to buy a top (say) and then suddenly a pop-up message like, “hey, we have the most fashionable tops at lowest of prices, please click here.” or say, something like, “Do you need assistance in buying a top, please click here.”Connecto Blog

Won’t you feel wanted and catered to by this virtual sales person? And this indeed can go a long when it comes to acquiring and retaining a customer from the point of view of an e-commerce company.

This, I have cited for an e-commerce company in particular but can be made applicable to any other company, whether it be a broker looking to acquire leads, or be it a travel company like makemytrip.com which is on a constant endeavor to satisfy the customers’ thirst for choosing the best possible travel deals which fits in perfectly well with their budget.

And one such product/tool that does exactly what I have stated above is Connecto (http://www.connecto.io/). It can be called no less than a revolution in this world of digital marketing, wherein it can help the businesses understand their customers’ intent and buying behavior and in turn enables them to engage their customers in a more focused and customized manner, which ultimately shows up in increased sales and increased ROI (defined by the sales achieved per $ of money invested in digital marketing).

The wonderful thing about using this product is that you don’t really have to spend money like you would have spent, say on any social networking platform like the facebook or linkedin and even better is the ROI that you get by using the features offered by this product/tool.

My take on the product is:

If you are an e-Commerce company looking to increase your sales and customer base; if you are an NGO, trying to reach out to your investors or people in general;

if you are a property broker looking to generate more leads;

if you are a travel site looking to engage your customers in a better manner in order to increase your conversion rate;

if you are a blogger who wants to interact with your clientele which in this case happens to be the readers; or

if you are any person with any kind of presence on the internet in terms of having a website; you got to grab this opportunity of using this wonderful product which comes with an initial free trial period and then depending on the impact it is having on your businesses, you can decide to upgrade it or not. 

You just need to visit http://www.connecto.io/ and sign up for a call back and then the efficient customer service that these people have, will get in touch with you and will help you better your prospects of minting money. With excellent service, coupled with a team of programmers from  IIT Delhi, this seems to be the best bet when it comes to real time data analytics and constant and meaningful engagement with customers on a real time basis.

Source for Image: http://www.connecto.io/