Update: 26th Dec, 2012: Changed the title of this post from “What a sucky state of Indian eCommerce” to “A sucky but steadily improving state of Indian eCommerce” :) Only cause, since originally posting this on July 20th, 2012 have shopped more from StuffCool, DoneByNone, Zovi, Myntra, MedPlusBeauty, Slassy, Purplle, UrbanTouch, MajorBrands, Ozel, PrettySecrets, GoIndiaOrganic, Infibeam(huge price difference on a book over it’s competitors), IndiaCircus(*love* their products) and they’ve been complaint free. Prompt delivery, great prices and products.
The few exceptions that yet contribute to the suckiness: Fashionara(sent a faulty product and had a headache with the aggressive customer service), FashionAndYou(super slow delivery), almost ordered from 6yCollective(super slow with responding to product queries, took nearly a week and I reached to them on FB as well), StyleTag(found them overcharging on multiple products), 8teen Style Boulevard(FB shop, bad attitude and deceptive service), Kaunsa (biggest scam website)
****Original Post from 20th July, 2012 with a few updates & additions****
A review of the retail/fashion sites I’ve shopped from The Indian eCommerce Directory. As a Product Manager working on the awesome Fab.com, I end up being anal about the end-to-end consumer experience. Unfortunately, the sites are majorly a miss, with some needles that have to be weeded out from the haystack that the eCommerce sphere in India is becoming. At the end of the day if the core product isn’t good a great website, good prices, friendly customer service, quick delivery etc don’t matter.
Pepperfry.com: Am an ex-employee, my mother bought from there while I was yet working. Horrible experience. One product had the wrong color, another was not like the pictures, and about three products got cancelled and she wasn’t informed appropriately about the same. When I decided to make my first purchase two months after quitting the company, my transaction went into “Pending Verification”. As an ex-employee knew what it meant, expected the well staffed Customer Service to call up to confirm my order, instead I ended up chatting with an exec on the chat tool I had helped shortlist, she cancelled the order instead, wasn’t helpful. Reached out to ex-colleagues who were also not helpful. Then one of the main CS guys who ended up passing on two coupon codes which didn’t work and another which did but landed my transaction into Pending Verification again. Verdict: Never again!
Fashionara.com: Started by an eCommerce veteran, Darpan Munjal. One of the better designed sites I’ve come across, product videos, good brands, sign up coupon, gives a very ASOS feeling. In all the excitement I made one big blunder for my first order, paid online instead of going the COD route. Ordered something, was out of stock and they had to cancel it :(. Was informed by the CS executive over the phone that I’d be given an additional Rs.250 voucher which I never received. Later in the day, the very courteous CS Head called up to apologize for the cancelled order. Had been planning to buy something else from the site, but with my money stuck waiting for the refund, I’d better stay away! Verdict: Never again!
Update 26th Dec, 2012: To use up the store credit, signup coupons and give them the benefit of doubt since they were a few weeks old when I first ordered from them bought a Forever New toiletry case and it ended up having one non functional zipper. The customer service was too aggressive and had two courier companies constantly hound me with calls during a very busy work week for a reverse pick up which I had never initiated(traumatized I haven’t bothered to return the product to them and they let the issue die a slow death when a followup could have been done). While I recently discovered the website has been created by my favorite Magento agency, Pod1, unfortunately post payment it’s a different story.
ShopNineteen.com: Purchased from them when they were a few weeks old in March. The Customer service executive was extremely helpful in delivering my parcel locally in Delhi/NCR while I was visiting for work. But one top was too big, one was tight, one leaves deep elastic marks on my arm. Decided to buy a pair of shoes during the sale in July. The MRP on the box was Rs.100 less than the list price on the website. Thankfully I bought it on sale(23% off the MRP vs 30% of website list price) else would have felt completely cheated. Got a pair of free earrings on my first purchase. Shared my feedback on the tops bought earlier, thought would have got something extra with this purchase too since I’d decided against a reverse pickup, but didn’t. Verdict: Never again!
DoneByNone.com: When I first visited their site, absolutely loved their layout, offbeat descriptions and unique product variety. While I find the stuff overpriced, I finally got an opportunity to buy stuff I’d added to my wishlist during a sale + clubbed with a coupon I randomly came across. Next day delivery, great packaging with a shoe bag(ShopNineteen didn’t give one) and COD without constraints. Wish their product selection was wider and prices slightly cheaper. Verdict: Maybe!
Update 26th Dec, 2012: FAVORITE SITE! Re-ordered from them. *great* prices, *great* quality, super fast shipping, amazing customer service(sorted out a coupon issue promptly), and cutest packaging!
Zovi.com: Bought a top whose material was a tad thin. But otherwise good pricing and packaging. Verdict: Maybe!
Update 26th Dec, 2012: Re-ordered from them recently and the prices are cheap, quality ok and delivery super fast.
SherSingh.com: One top was nice but flimsy material, another the size was weird. Overall didn’t like the materials so have decided to not shop with them going forward. Verdict: Never again!
DailyObjects.com (previously LootSpot.com) : Laptop sleeve ordered. Delivered soon, without the add-ons as mentioned in the product listing. Also, the product was missing some charms attached to the zipper as shown in the listing. Had to reach out to Customer Service and follow up with them. Didn’t initiate a reverse pickup, had to send it back myself and they reimbursed part of the return courier charges. And then sent the refund by CHEQUE when I’d paid by Credit Card!! Verdict: Never again!
Update 26th Dec, 2012: Ordered a product from StuffCool that was also on DailyObjects and was impressed by the service!
ShopClues.com: Ordered a laptop sleeve thankfully via COD, no response. Then one day I get an order cancelled mail. Also, horrible website, couldn’t login. And horrible customer service. Verdict: Never again!
Koovs.com: Tried to order a laptop sleeve from here as well. Pretty much same scenario as ShopClues! They’ve recently changed their entire website and product variety so the company surely lacks a focused vision. Verdict: Never again!
LocalBanya.com: Ended up getting a laptop sleeve from them. Cheaper price for the same item than StyleTag.com, Shopo.in, KoolKart.com, 21stBoulevard.com. Next day delivery within the time slot selected. Deliver only in Mumbai currently. Verdict: Maybe!
Overall, it’s extremely cumbersome to find good/unique products unless you visit a whole bunch of sites from the Indian eCommerce Directory. Junglee.com did help a bit, but an Indian ShopStyle.com would make life so much simpler!!
And with my numerous bad experiences, don’t want to pay by credit card for my first transaction, and most either charge extra or don’t have the COD option.
Thankfully, ASOS.com, some American staple websites, been exploring more UK sites lately and the Chinese/Korean sites have come to my rescue. Better products, free/reasonable shipping, decent quality, good finish and decent prices.
Indian eCommerce yet has a long way to go!