[Consumer Speak] My favourite online marketplaces are…

There are so many online marketplaces now, but are all of them equally popular? I am sure a lot of effort goes into building a shopping site but at the end of the day, a convenient shopping experience is what would keep us customers hooked. There are so many options out there today to shop online, but I have come to prefer some over others. Here are a few online marketplaces doing an excellent job of creating a seamless shopping experience!

Flipkart:

When it comes to user interface, Flipkart is simply the best! No wonder this ecommerce platform won its very first customer because of its excellent user interface, that too when it had just started off several years back!

V.V.K. Chandra, who made the very first purchase from Flipkart, speaks of what helped convince him to buy, “as a web developer and designer myself, I was impressed with the usability and User Interface of the website at the very first visit. That was one of the reasons I trusted the site. If the UI was crap, probably I would not have made the order and that means all the subsequent orders too from me and from the people I have referred. I think this is the key take away for any new e-commerce start-ups reading this post. Make sure the UI is simple, elegant and easy to use.”

The rest is obviously history. Till date however, Flipkart has maintained its record of having an excellent use interface. What I like best about the website is the fact that there are clear cut options for various products, with tabs like ‘Electronics,’ ‘Men’, ‘Women’, ‘Book & Media’ and the like. It is important to note here that the tabs are created according to which categories are most popular and not simply to categorise items. Since ‘electronics’ sells most, it has a tab of its own and is not shoved under say… ‘Appliances’.

For example, Books & Media are not clubbed with Electronics under some vague theme like ‘Entertainment’, which I would find confusing. Secondly, the main tabs have several sub-categories under them, which can help me filter my search to exactly the one thing that I want to buy.

The one reason why Flipkart is on the top of this list is because it gives the consumer a clear-cut, professional shopping experience without having a jazzy screen full of banners screaming ‘Sale’ ‘Winter Season Collection’ and the like.

Jabong:

Jabong comes next because I think this website has not only taken efforts to improve user experience from the desktop- but also those accessing it from their mobiles. When I check for products on the Jabong app, it is like having so much eye candy!

Their fashion sales are displayed with attractive pictures in vertically stacked banners. There are small tabs displaying the corresponding brand names that are offering products in that particular category as well, which is great because it summarizes what Jabong has to offer, within the limited dimensions of a mobile screen. Even if I would not have purchased a particular jacket that the model was wearing in the picture, I am convinced by the premium brand logo flashing next to the picture. How can I miss out on buying discounted stuff from well-known brands?

There is another aspect that Jabong has gotten completely right. Besides the regular filters like women’s or men’s apparel and the like, it also has special tabs that are created as per brand names, especially for international brands.  This is a great way of emphasizing on Jabong’s USP- which presently is the fact that they offer premium foreign brands that no other fashion portal offers.

Jabong is doing absolutely the best thing by creating a user interface that inadvertently leads consumers to what it sells best- designer apparel and international brands. Probably other ecommerce websites could take a leaf from its book as well?

Bluestone:

When it comes to jewellery shopping, I simply love the user interface and choice that Bluestone offers. As soon as you visit the website, the main crux of their offer is that they sell the best quality gems and jewellery. This website allows a lot of space for customers to find products according to very specific choices and preferences, just like how a shopper would purchase jewellery at their preferred offline store.

What I liked best is their option to choose gems of different cuts, varieties and prices, simply with a few clicks. Shopping for precious jewellery can be quite intimidating when done alone, without a store keeper or jeweller to explain details or different designs available. Bluestone has tackled that challenge well by having an extensive list of different jewel cut choices such as ‘Heart shaped’, ‘Round’, ‘Marquise’ etc. which a customer can choose, before being presented with a list of different sellers offering those jewels.

Also, Bluestone has not categorised products based on gender or jewellery but instead on popular categories such as ‘Gold Coins’ and ‘Solitaires’, which are culturally very popular in India. That is why I think that Bluestone is doing its best to cater to the special need of an Indian consumer like me, which makes it easy to shop from this portal.

Pepperfry:

This one is a clear example of how good photography can get my attention. At first glance, all the furniture products that Pepperfry offers are a real delight! This ecommerce portal deals with the niche product category of furniture and has found a way to present their products well.

Firstly, I think that this ecommerce portal has understood very well in what situation I would log into its site, just like most other customers. Most people who want to buy furniture are either renovating their house and want it to have a fresh makeover or are simply dealing the scary task of filling their new home with furniture. In such a case, I would not just like to see a listed product the way that it is, but would also like to have a visual representation of how this particular piece of furnishing would look in my home.

Pepperfry simply nails this. Their product categories like ‘Door Curtains’, ‘Wardrobes’ and ‘Plates and Platters’ are listed with delicious reference images as well- so even if I’m hesitant at first, I would be well convinced about how a certain product would look in my home. In fact, I think Pepperfry is an excellent marketplace that knows how to build its website around the needs of the specific customer section it is serving. This is one website that uses effective illustrations to improve my shopping experience.

ShopClues:

The reason why I think ShopClues has a great interface is because it has a listing layout that screams out the amount of discount that a particular product has. This draws my attention, as well as improves my satisfaction about getting a ‘good’ deal. In fact, instead of having a separate section for products that are on sale, the layout of this website makes me believe that almost anything they buy from ShopClues was either on sale or being offered for the best price possible.

This online marketplace has an excellent organisation of its product categories, with detailed and numerous sub categories which help to cater to all customers, not just me. Also, this website has a separate tab altogether for those looking to purchase wholesale items. I personally think its wholesale category is one of the best in India- with a very professional listing system. This goes a long way in reassuring us about the authenticity of this ecommerce portal, especially since customers interested in buying wholesale usually invest large amounts of money. ShopClues is a winner because it has combined both B2C and B2B listings on its website in a very effective way.

Since an online marketplace does not have a physical brick-and-mortar presence, the only interaction that I can have with the store is through the computer or mobile. Therefore, this shopping experience should be impeccable and pleasant, as it is solely the way I can interact with a shopping website! After having a positive shopping experience consistently on certain websites, I have begun to associate a particular portal’s identity with the experience I had as a shopper. For example, I know a Flipkart product will always come in the best packaging, I am certain that Jabong’s foreign brands are completely genuine…so on and do forth. With so many online shopping sites cropping up, I hope they focus on giving customers a great experience!

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4 Comments

  1. Aazzina Reply

    Yes I think FlipKart is the best shopping website its my favourite

  2. goinindia Reply

    I feel checkout process of ebay.in is the best of all the marketplaces.

  3. goinindia Reply

    whatttttt…. no snapdeal , excellent work tanya pinto , it looks like you have tried using snapdeal… kudos , really good article.

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