Price tags come with a price!

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As they ripped this sticker to open the brown Flipkart carton, thousands of Indians online, who had ordered goodies on October 6, had ushered a new marketing era with a click of their mouse. The online retail marketplace is here to stay. Evidently, akin to real life markets in India the e-commerce space is poised for take-off – it will get bigger, noisier, vicious and dirtier in the years ahead.
Clearly, millions of mice had been charmed & clicked!
Now that you are right here online and reading this review, let me tell you right from the word go – please READ ‘The Mouse Charmers‘ by Anuradha Goyal immediately. Chances are that you already shop online or would shop online soon. And just in case, you are in some way part of the business world or going to be part of it – ‘The Mouse Charmers’ is highly recommended, regulation reading. What? Where can you buy it? Right here … on Flipkart of course! 😉 🙂
As India gets younger it is critical for Indians as consumers to understand this e-commerce space. ‘The Mouse Charmers‘ offers exactly that kind of understanding and insight. What exactly happens ‘under the hood’ as these web outlets engineer their offerings of commerce, content or as connectors that help you forge new personal or business relationships. The ‘The Mouse Charmers’ uncovers these fascinating aspects.
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Historically, trading in India has been characterized by the most colorful, creative and of course craftiest business communities. The trading community is a dynamic and rather energetic lot who are never afraid but have always been eager to explore newer spaces.
This spirit of enterprise of the trading community has also got a ballistic boost in the new regime that took over the reins of India after the recent elections. Headed by a rather vocal Prime Minister who on a recent visit to Japan asserted “business is in my blood“! Presto! The Japanese seemed to have loved this because out of nowhere Softbank landed in India and pumped in millions of dollars in Snapdeal – another ‘commerce’ entity, which in turn was rather spirited in competing with Flipkart on October 6! Just in case you feel the amazon in their midst was quiet, she was actually coy and charmed customers to send them scurrying to her new address Big Billion Day Dot Com, which of course she was coquettish enough to pull down as quickly!
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Indians can compete and compete hard in the marketplace. And they also can explore newer spaces and even dominate them. A visit to Africa can prove that to the most cynical business observer. A similar fascinating exploration is unfolding right under your mouse this very minute. And these organizations shall go all out to carve out their niche in this still unexplored terrain. October 6 highlighted the beginning of this adventure.
The Indian marketplace is HUGE by any standards! The numbers can boggle the ordinary mind! Reaching out and creating ‘online customer experiences’ for such humongous numbers is and shall always remain a challenging prospect. Flipkart, for example, seems to have blotted the copybook on October 6. They not only had to tweet a sorry but also actually apologize. Flipkart, however, did well enough to be featured on advertising billboards of one of India’s leading butter brands!
Pricing seems to be the axis on which the online marketplace is pegging all its offerings. Deals to delight you. Pendrives at 50% off, Clothing at 55% off and more. And more is the mantra. It is a clearly a desperate race to taste first blood! In ‘The Mouse Charmers’ one can see that these organizations are also striving to create memorable customer experiences. In a marketplace characterized by a hyperactive social media, they would do well to learn and learn quickly from such mistakes! Yes, price tags do come with a price! And that price could be very, very expensive!
Now, no trading community has ever been worth its salt unless it has its own code of secrets! Of course, the Indians are past masters at that too. So from accounting practices like ‘parta’ to lifestyle practices like ‘bopore’, a lot happens behind the scenes. Thankfully the Flipkart’s of the world have continued this spirit of maintaining such glorious traditions! Hence who actually owns a company or has invested in it and how much at that tends to remain behind a veil!
Anuradha Goyal
As the 20th century faded away, a book called ‘In Search of Excellence‘ became regulation reading for most people in the world of business throughout the world. The book shortlisted 43 companies and outlined eight of their characteristic ‘themes’ which helped them make the ‘excellence’ grade. Most of these ‘brick and mortar’ entities seem to have done well in their search of excellence and continue to do so even as the 21st century ushered in changes that transformed the world of business.
Anuradha Goyal also has followed a similar eclectic process in her choice of a dozen Indian online entities. Would these online organizations grow and survive through the 21st century? Manifestly, the world has changed and business time scales follow different contours now. It would be a good idea to see if these online entities actually see even the next decade! But in their successes or even in their failures a lot can be learned and ‘The Mouse Charmers’ shall come through as a milestone that marks the first key crossroad at that very start of the journey.
Yes, you must read the ‘The Mouse Charmers’ if you are part the online world of today and tomorrow and who isn’t? However, a sequel to ‘The Mouse Charmers’ is certainly called for – where one could meet the people who create online ‘customer experiences’ and get insights into their minds. These insights would serve as the guiding compass for the next generation of Indians who shall participate in this grand, online Indian marketplace and also create it in the process!
And writing this review where I could try and offer a different perspective to the book was a stimulating process. Would I do it again? Most certainly when Anuradha writes her next book! Waiting! :-)
Digital Pioneers of India
Afterword:
Who shaves the barber? When Anuradha Goyal asked me to write a review of ‘The Mouse Charmers’, this rather irreverent, seemingly out of context paradox instantly flashed through my mind! When one of the most acclaimed book reviewers online, asks you to review HER book you better be circumspect! However, reading ‘The Mouse Charmers’ was a delightful and also a rather insightful learning experience for me! 

PS: This review has been written by Sandeep Apte, Author, and Director of personahr.in

Anuradha Goyal