AFTER AMAZON, SNAPDEAL DOES THE SAME!

So here I am again.

A week after writing my previous two articles on logistical operations at Amazon India.

The first was on my embarrassing experience with Amazon India’s logistics arrangements with its ‘subscribe and save’ category.

The second one was on how no one from Amazon, Amazon India and Jeff Bezos responded to my articles even if I tagged them on Twitter and posted the same on Amazon’s Facebook extensions.

You can find those articles on the hyperlinked words above.

The second article I had written on May 29. So its eight days to that development now and no response so far has come from Amazon.

Meanwhile, I have had a similar experience with Snapdeal to add to the developing contours of my writings on this subject.

And irrespective of whether I get response or not, I would again tag Amazon (and this time Snapdeal also) and their bosses to see if they respond now.

Additionally, I am sending a questionnaire to some professors of Supply Chain Management to understand the logic behind this mode of delivery on the most important aspect of any E-commerce business – its logistics operations.

To understand how duplication (and thus wastage) of resources (including manpower hours) is justified by sending multiple items of a same order on different days! It has been like – one order, one day – at a time. Whenever it has been like more than two products were delivered on a same day, these were by different people.

Amazon-Snapdeal

The same routine is being repeated even this month – that I wrote and complained about last month.

There has been no change.

To make my points more reflective, I tried this today – I measured size of the cartons and the products they carried. To put my point here, I am attaching a collage photograph of the products delivered from Amazon and Snapdeal.

What is interesting here that Amazon delivered two products of similar dimensions – Colin and Lifebuoy Handwash, that you can see in the photograph – in different cartons. The box size was 38*32 cms. The products dimensions were 28*15 cms and 28*9 cms. So, both products should have been delivered in the same carton. That would have saved a box – with all its packaging material, the inventory space that the raw material for it took and the cost it incurred.

Imagine the scale of wastage if the same is repeated with millions of products!

Similar experience was there in store by Snapdeal.

I had placed an order for three items – three different products – but all were from the ‘food items’ category. All three were delivered on different dates. One of these orders was for three bottles of jam – strawberry, mango and berry. The three jam bottles of same dimension were packed in different boxes. One of these boxes had its bottle broken and its content was spilled all over. I placed a return order immediately but there has been no update on it and its three days now.

At least Amazon is miles ahead here. The ‘return experience’ has been overwhelmingly good with Amazon India (so far).

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

EXPECTED AMAZON RESPONSE ON “WOULD AMAZON SUBSCRIBE TO THIS ON ‘SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE’?”

While writing my longish mail on Amazon ‘Subscribe and Save’ category and tweeting it to Amazon, Amazon India and Jeff Bezos Twitter handles, I had not expected a prompt reply. It was based on my previous experiences. I have done this exercise with many companies – on some issue related to them. So far, my best experience has been with Dell India – its customer services team and its social media extensions.

And about my worst -well, there are many and picking a particular one is difficult. But if I am asked to pick one -I would say Eureka Forbes.

After consistently following multiple times, through phone and Facebook extension, I was forced to hang up, but the Eureka Forbes folks refused to buzz from their eternal slumber. Apart from many product and service related issues, I was not sent even my receipt that I was promised after making an online purchase for an Aquaguard Enhance water purifier (along with a freebie, that, too, never came).

And though a response from Amazon India over phone line has been efficient so far, its Facebook version was dull, and on the line seen so far, with so many companies.

I posted my write-up on the issue I am facing on Amazon India’s Facebook page. Obviously, it was the headline followed the link of the write-up. Soon, a message popped up, a reply from some guy entrusted to monitor Amazon India’s Facebook page. On expected, worn-out line, the person told me that ‘I needed to be specific’ in what I wanted to say.

Well, what can I say on this!

We folks spend so much time on writing about issues we face and expect that the concerned organization would at least take the pain to read them.

Well, I don’t know if that happened.

Because there was no further reply from any Amazon staff after I wrote back requesting that the person should open the link attached where I had written ‘very specifically’ about the problem I was facing.

And it was when it was not an outright criticism – but a suggestion along with conveying a potential problem that may see more of it in the days ahead.

AmazonFacebook

And on Twitter?

Well, here again, I tagged Twitter IDs of Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Amazon India and Amazon Help along with my write-up’s link.

But no response has come so far and its almost 24 hours now.

AmazonTwitter

Yes it was a weekend and there might be slippages but it looks quite awkward given the fact that there would be dedicated social media teams, even for Jeff Bezos Twitter handle.

It is not about Amazon or some other company’s track record of resolving problem(s) associated with services/products on offer. Most of the time they fail.

I hope it will not be this time given Amazon India’s track record and given the fact that E-commerce or online retail cannot dominate a business scene if it is not customer friendly.

I do this exercises randomly to get some handy information about how companies are treating their customers – about their marketing communication and public interface practices in a B2C environment of E-commerce that is slated to grow manifold.

Most of the companies and their honchos fail here, some miserably.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WOULD AMAZON SUBSCRIBE TO THIS ON ‘SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE’?

Given the kind of depth Amazon has in online retail, along with its pioneering presence and global dominance, we can say the company will soon be India’s biggest online retailer, a market that is soon projected to have the world’s largest middle class. And the way it is moving up its product chains, it is leaving behind a widening gap for other biggies of the space, i.e., Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and so on, to fill.

Like many of its good initiatives, Amazon India started an easy to subscribe (and modify) ‘subscribe and save’ category last month. Under this category, buyers can monthly subscribe for products from among eight categories. Though the catalogue is pretty short, we can say it has begun on a good note. A customer has the option to opt for frequency of delivery – from one to six months – for each product.

There are two offers with this category that make it worth a pick.

The first is obviously the comfort of home delivery and Amazon has an efficient one.

The second is about the 10% discount on offer. If one subscribes for more than three products a month, a flat 10% discount on every product is yours.

Obviously, one can get a better deal in many wholesale markets of Delhi where the norm is between 15-20% discount. But here it is about the comfort of ordering from your smartphone or computer from anywhere you are, saving your flesh and soul from the nightmare of Delhi’s traffic and its overcrowded markets. I am talking about Delhi here because I stay here and my experiences pushed me to write this piece.

But in this case – with this ‘subscribe and save’ option – the comfort level of this convenient home delivery option is proving a burden, as well as an embarrassment.

How?

I recount here.

Last month I subscribed for some 10 products under ‘subscribe and save’ category. Two were bathroom air fresheners from Godrej (Godrej Aer Pocket Bathroom Fragrance) – of different fragrances. These two were delivered a week apart. In fact, every product of my order was delivered on different days.

So, that is there where the problem lies.

Amazon sent its guys some 8 to 10 times, stretch over some 10 days, to deliver those products I subscribed last month if I am recollecting properly.

There is always these messages popping up that your products has been packed, that it is ready to ship, that it has been shipped, that it will be delivered today. With the usual tag line – please keep cash or your card ready! Here I would like to mention another thing – none of the delivery guys were carrying the card swipe machine – even if I asked for the one sometimes.

It wastes your time. There is always this leftover in your mind that you have to be at home as the Amazon guy would come to deliver the product.

Also, on a social/societal note, your neighbours would obviously think what has happened to this guy that he is ordering so much online, even if you ordered the basic stuff you need every month. The problem of plenty that was never there!

Does it make any better business sense?

I was thinking to call Amazon for many days to register my thoughts. Today I got my call patched. The guy on the other side sounded sincere on my complaint and he said he would send the feedback up. But he also said that it was due to the cycle of availability of products. Amazon makes a product available to its customers as soon as it reaches its warehouses and, according to him, that is the reason behind the multiple runs of errands.

So, Amazon is incurring loss here. It is what a common ‘common sense’ says. After all, you need to pack the product – that costs. I would say, again of Godrej air fresheners – a small strip worth Rs. 45 was in a packing that would obviously be costly. And as I wrote, I had ordered two.

Then there is this wastage of manpower hours. All the products from a single order, with a tag date of 11 of every month, can be delivered on any chosen day before that tag date. It doesn’t make sense to send 10 guys to deliver 10 products on 10 different days – of a single order.

Or does it?

Does Amazon India see any logical sense in this logistical spiral?

Because I believe I am not alone in thinking so!

Amazon Subscribe n Save

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Featured Image Courtesy: Screenshot from Amazon India website