My Book- Ecommerce Unmasked: Hidden secrets to fight online battles

Monday 25 January 2016

Case 29: - oh master, where are you?

The curious case of absconding COD customers

Ecommerce companies trying to fulfill Cash on delivery orders of customers ordering expensive white goods online ‘just for fun’ but not taking delivery.

A new, large and well funded foreign eCommerce company wanted to enter the Indian market with a big bang. In the year 2013, India was already very crowded with eCommerce companies fiercely fighting with each other, and nobody was willing to part with a piece of the market pie. hired a top notch management consulting firm to devise an entry strategy.

Consultant: “Competition has a strong presence in metros and Tier-1 cities and has cornered those markets. It is easier to target less serviced Tier 2, Tier 3 cities and rural areas. However, they are more likely to order via COD than online payment.”
However, customers in those areas were new to eCommerce and proved to be wily.

Customer: “I have placed orders for heavy white goods online ‘Just-for-fun’. Genie, bring my goodies.”

Genie: “Yes master, your wish is my command.”
All the goods were efficiently packed into a truck from genie’s warehouse and shipped to customer addresses.

Genie (with a truck): “Dear customers! I have brought your HD TV, refrigerator, and microwave. Where are you?”

Genie called their registered mobile numbers and attempted deliveries a few times. Neighbours did not know about their existence or whereabouts either. 

Genie camped under a peepal tree with the heavily laden truck hoping to spot his absconding customers.

Genie: “Two weeks are past, and I am still searching for them. They do not have bank accounts, credit cards, landlines or proper addresses, and may be away on travel. How can I find them?”

1. eCommerce companies and sellers have been spending time and resources, and losing money,  delivering such orders to mischievous customers fooling around with their genie.
2. They have put limits on order value to Rs. 7,000 for those areas (pin codes), also exiting  refrigerators and TV categories.
3. The eCommerce company may be failing to verify addresses, their occupants, and mobile  number ownerships.
4.  How can a sense of responsibility be instilled in customers?
5. Will the government’s UID (Unique ID) project be helpful in eCommerce? UIDs are often a part  of  bank KYC data but KYC is not necessary as per the government.



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