General

99% Customers Loves & Likes buying from us

In September 2013, we took a survey with our customers. we got these good responses 🙂

In Tamil Book sales, are we doing good job than others?

  • Yes 54%
  • Yes. but needs improvement. 44%
  • No 2%

Whats the topmost reason behind buying from us?

  • Good Customer Service 25%
  • Right Price 21%
  • Good Packing 18%
  • I am your customer 13%
  • You came first on Google 10%
  • Free Home Delivery 7%
  • Can’t find books elsewhere 4%
  • Friends suggested 3%

About Chennaishopping.com

  • Make search easier 39%
  • Are you getting your books on time? 24%
  • Do you find what you like / interested in? 22%
  • Conserns with our Customer Service? 9%
  • Is website not user friedly? 6%

About Books Quality (are we fulfilling your requests?)

  • Good 74%
  • Super 24%
  • Bad 2%
  • Ok 0%

About Courier Service (are we fulfilling your requests?)

  • Good 61%
  • Super 19%
  • Ok 17%
  • Bad 4%

About Online Payment Options (Netbanking / Credit Card) (are we fulfilling your requests?)

  • Good 56%
  • Super 31%
  • Ok 11%
  • Bad 2%

About India Post V.P.P Cash on Delivery Service (are we fulfilling your requests?)

  • Good 59%
  • Super 20%
  • Ok 19%
  • Bad 2%

Website usefulness and intuitiveness

  • Good 61%
  • Super 26%
  • Ok 11%
  • Bad 2%

Whats your budget for buying books from us?

  • 100-500 61%
  • 500-1000 33%

How many times would you buy from us?

  • Monthly Once 63%
  • Unlimited 35%
  • Weekly Once 2%

Would you share with your Friends and Relatives about Chennaishopping.com?

  • Yes 96%
  • No 4%

Note: This is a translated survey. For original questions and responses, click here

Currently, Chennaishopping.com has a user base of 5k+ registered customers, 11k+ Facebook Fans with 500+ unique visitors every day.

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Blogging, business, chennai, direct-dil-se, General, india, Internet, life, Madras, people, Personal, startup ideas, tamil, technology, Thoughts, work

Problems over Problems… Repeatedly…!

In running a company, you can face problems. but what if you work in a problematic company?

For the past two years, i face problems every now and then running a company. To run a company, you need a good infrastructure. Infrastructure by means, good power source, computer systems, printers, office setup etc which are required to run a online tamil book store.

I am listing down some of my routine problems

  • internet not working if power is there.
  • internet works but no power
  • internet works but very very slow.
  • computer systems dont work if power is there
  • some times computer systems work but suddenly power goes off.
  • if internet, computer systems work, then no power.
  • If internet and computer systems work, then your printer wont work.
  • If printer works, then it will have fuser problems or no carbon in it. it has to be refilled.
  • if all these are in working condition, there wont be any human resources using them.
  • if there are human resources, then one of them might fail.

This is the true case in the life of an budding entrepreneur. in order to start a business, he/she needs to take care 90% of things that is required to kick-start the business. not the business itself.

for to run a online store, rather than talking to vendor for products which is business talk, i need to get these things done well before

  1. get company registered with GOI. it takes its own time with all restrictions
  2. get bank accounts (only if the mgr likes you)
  3. get payment gateway (only if that company likes you and if the sales person is in good mood.)
  4. get office space at home or outside. all house owners think that we are going to do multi-crore biz because it is online. For them, Being Online is luxury category.
  5. converting residential to commercial power from EB if we are going to use our own terrace or top floor in our house.
  6. sign up with courier. beg India post – post office to get your parcel booked cheaply.
  7. hire people for low cost (if possible). everyone thinks most people start business who have lot of money.
  8. If it is in TN, then power problems have to be faced.  high real estate cost coupled with low productivity due to bad power source.

these are the things where we interact directly. there are also other factors that influences your business operations.  we have to sort out all the above things before we talk business with vendors who supply things.

  1. They expect like how big the order is!
  2. are we trust-able?
  3. are we big enough to run the biz or company?

after all these, we have to explain things to our friends & family members so as to convince them to get their support……!

you got to convince your girl friend or would be or wife –  V VIP

finally, need to convince customer, vendors to run the business smoothly.

running it to successfully has its own set of problems to be faced. I can’t comment on it now!

General

Running a online tamil book store…

Prior 2011, Chennaishopping.com was basically a site with few products and flowers with google ads in it. It did not accept anything. no backend operations were being carried out.

but after june 2011, I have refreshed chenniashopping.com into a online tamil book store that does do real selling. I have contacted various publishers for businesses. Slowly, one by one have been on-boarded into the site and the sales have started happening.

Myself and couple of my college friends started working on various UX elements  in the site. we made it to a extent that it can be used to do business. Initially, we rarely get visits / orders. But today, we make good amount of orders, visits and sales per day. but not good enough to run the business with more no. of people.

Since the sales have happened, myself and dilli have been involved in procurement and shipment of items via courier / India post. we together have faced lots of struggles at various places. another friend muthu and dilli were running the site while i was out for my marriage and post-marriage holidays.

I was back and then we got few people working with us. Sankar, Kala both were working part time. Sankar, being a .net tech guy, learned php and helped in various tools building for our day-to-day operations. Kala was mainly responsible for customer care 12×7 even till today along with content maintenance. Because of her, we have got 5000+ books in our site.  Dilli and myself too have worked in content. Oftimes, Kala used to do sales as well for both domestic and International customers. Muthu helped Kala learn things in her home.

From 4 digit revenue to 5 digit to 6 digit revenue we reached in jul 2012. we thought its a big achievement and it is. why? because, we have been trusted by people across the world who paid us for our service and collectively it reached 6 digit revenue. we wanted to grow more. we don’t know how. we don’t have resources and capital but we wanted to grow.

In Jan 2013, we received a bulk order say upto 6 digit sales figure from a Library firm outside India. With the motivation given by Muthu, we had taken up this order and delivered. Customer is Happy. By today, we have been receiving orders from them now and then. It feels so good to be trusted by our customers.

To add to our motivation, we have seen a customer who placed order of 12k in a single order. We still follow up with customer as fast as we can and as good as we can. we are here because of publishers and customers.

Our publishers give us books to sell and we sell it to our customers. Everything is going fine. But…. there are many things in my mind?.

Couple of questions I have in my mind are:

  • How do we expand into a multi-crore business?
  • Should we expand to other Indian / foreign languages books?
  • Should we expand to ebooks?
  • Should we expand to other categories of products such as apparels, electronics etc ?

All these are question mark and I am trying to find answers. we are hungry for growth and capital.

We started with 2L as working capital and now reached a revenue of around 15L selling tamil books alone. we have brought more sales additionally to our publishers. we would love to bring in more revenue for them. we would love to serve the customers who are hungry for reading in their mother tongue.

With so many distractions coming along the way, running a online store seems to be difficult day by day. Here are couple of reasons which i think..

1. Margins from Publishers (in tamil) is low. They should be upped for those who make good sales. Not sure whether this is done by publishers in tamil publishing industry.

2. Rarely, publishers give 90 or 180 days credits to those genuine sellers like us. we use internet and technology to do sales.

3. Creative writing is missing in Tamil Publishing. Majority of publishers tries to publish books that are in public domain for eg. Kalki’s, N.Parthasarathy, birbal stories

4. Original Fiction are rare to be released. Most of the Fiction books that are selling now are written in 80s , 90s i guess.

5. Historical novels that are written in 1970’s-2000 for e.g Ponniyin selvan, most historical tamil novels do good business. but not high.

6. Leaders & Current affairs – Lot of books being released related to Rajiv gandhi, LTTE, Tamil Eelam, world leaders, Indian politics, current affairs – they do sell but not high.

7. Not many creative books for childrens 😦

8. Major marketing push by publishers for each book being released is missing. probably due to budget. but book selling is directly proportion to how well it is being marketed.

9. Getting its place in bigger physical store like odyssey, landmark, crossword could be game changers. most of them sell Ponniyin selvan or learn hindi through tamil and sujatha’s books.

10. The book paper quality, cover paper quality should also be taken into consideration.

and there could be many more reasons. How i am going to handle all those will be seen in coming days…

The entire Tamil publishing ecosystem which comprises of Writers, Publishers, Distributors and Sellers should work together in taking the Tamil Publishing ecosystem to the next level.

I mean the next level in terms of Sales, Revenue sharing, better margins etc. English book store owners complain that selling tamil books yield them very low margin compared to English. but i can agree that it is hard to compete.

With a single tamil book being published in 1000s compared to a single english book published in 100,000 – best selling books

This has to be changed and till then, it will be a struggle for lots of online sellers who are arising new day by day….

You can watch out this space for more updates…..

General

Introducing Smart Drive App – Drive Smartly with Smart Drive App

Introducing Smart Drive App – Drive Smartly with Smart Drive App

I am working on a App that helps you drive safely on the roads providing you enough information about quality roads in your city / country.

Explore – Find good roads in your city and drive safely with enough information about bumps and speedbrakers automatically.

Contribute – Collaborate with others and commute safely between your home and work or any other destination.

Interested in this app? Just Sign up to get notified about launch
http://smartdriveapp.launchrock.com/

Blogging, commercials, General, india, opportunity, startup ideas

Startup Idea #6: Using Crowd funding for Credit Card Payment

In these days, Each and every country have a slow economy. Each individuals are being forced to use Credit Card. Almost every one faces the problem of Paying back the credit amount they got it from the Credit Card issuing bank.

If you google on how do Credit Card companies make money, you would see 275,000,000 results.

Here is a little infographic.

How do Credit Card companies make money?

Infographic clearly says many things. but one major mode through which cc companies make money is through Interest being paid on the loan. It can be purchase loan or cash loan.

Most people who have used credit card would surely have faced this. At-least once, each one of us would have paid the interest charges. The Interest charges on cash withdrawals are way too high compared to credit card purchase.

Still, due to the bad time / worst economic situation, people are forced to withdraw cash and thereby end up paying interest charges. Why can’t these charges be paid through trusted crowd funding? also why should we limit ourselves to only 50 day grace period? why can’t we increase it?

Thats where i thought about this silly / simple idea of crowd funding your credit card payment. Lets see how it can work.

Physical Scenario:

mostly, we often ask for economic help from our friends or relatives during economic downtime. To pay the current debts or what ever loans we have.

Online Scenario:

The above one can be easily replicated online. Lets say, a person can have his trusted friends / relatives in his social network whom he thinks can help during his economic slowdown. He / she can raise the crown funding request. ofcourse, there are limits on the amount raised.

His / Her friends can donate certain amounts and thereby reaching the goal and paying for the current month debts. He / she should clearly explain his / her current economic situations to the donors. Based on that donors can take the call and donate.

For donors, they can also get the money back with few interest or may be split the interest the interest amount charged by the bank and distribute.

Pros :

  1. Each person gets more credit period than the established one.
  2. we all be benefited and thereby helpful to the people we know.

Cons:

  1. What if the person is not able to pay the debt back in time? Of-course, (s)he should be charged and making him out of the network.

There can be lots of advantages and disadvantages in this idea. surely, if this grows as a big one, credit card companies will hate such crowd funding sites.

Whats your take on that? Will this be useful? Share your thoughts on the comments below.

Blogging, bored, chennai, General, india, life, Madras, people

Random Thoughts 3

  1. Doing business in TN is very very difficult compared to other states. Infrastructure Problem, Power cut problems, too many problems that business cannot concentrate on itself. I am telling this based on my experience with running Chennaishopping.com – the online book store in chennai
  2. Recent agitation by students related to Tamil Eelam is a welcome one but a late one. This should have happened in 2009 when the war was on.
  3. DMK pulled out of UPA just to tell tamil people that they are more serious about Tamil Eelam. But in reality, they were worried about students agitation and hence want to get attention across nation.
  4. India has made the UNHRC resolution draft less effective based on the ties with sri lanka. they are like cat on the wall. If breaking a good relationship with island nation, it will have serious implications going forward. countries like PAKISTAN , CHINA might be waiting to build a relationship with sri lanka to get greater control.
  5. Recent TN budget states that govt is keen on making the state a social welfare one (which is already). I think JJ govt should concentrate on solving infra problems, power problems and provide a platform where one can survive.
  6. Like selling alcohol, TN govt has started selling Affordable restaurants. This is a welcome one. I also request JJ to consider for water(H2O) distribution through its Metro Water across the state. It can fetch much more revenue as its used by anyone. but rather than making money out of it, govt should keep the water free of cost.
  7. CCTP in facebook takes complaints from people in south madras. not sure they care about north madras. may be even the govt or local body authorities….
  8. when we book ticket, we pay 40 rs as convenience charges…. would some body pay the same for online store?
  9. Many of the shops are now selling milk, water, soft drinks above MRP. what should we do about it? complain? will it work?
  10. Autos in Chennai charge double the amount for a commute. my suggestion is if auto guy asks 200 rs for a trip. u can guess the original rate to be (200 / 2 )+ 10 to be reasonable. actually, it will cost only around 100. 10 rs for driver 🙂 u can manage using this in Chennai.

if u got any other thought, share it in comments.

General, startup ideas, Technical, technology, Thoughts, Web

Envelope 2.0 – can it be upgraded?

Traditionally, we have seen envelope – white or brown or orange. With no details in it. I have been going to post offices and courier for posting parcels for chennaishopping.com

I found that people waste lot of time there waiting in queue at the booking counter. most of the post-office have electronic booking of speed post. only few courier companies booking centre have electronic booking.

The long queue is due to the data entry like name, address, pincode into the system. There are few drawbacks in this.

1. What if the name / address / pincode does not match in the receipt / proof of delivery? since this is entered by human. Many times, i have seen that at the booking centre, they don’t type your full recipient addresses / pincode / name properly.

2. They use their own tracking number shipping label.

i have seen huge letter covers being booked, atleast in courier offices. Error #1 can occur most frequently and there is a inefficiency.

How can it be improved?

I have been thinking about this for some time and i kind found some basic solution i guess. why can’t india post or courier provide their own shipping barcode enabled envelope to their customers? This way it is easier to scan and send at a larger scale which solves #2 problem. this also increases revenue for these companies by selling envelopes.

what about the problem #1?

The sender details and recipient details can be embedded in the form of QRcode.

Automatic Posting Machine:

Imagine like a ATM kiosk wherein you can type in your address and get the envelope or a label sticker with

  1. Address printed clearly
  2. Tracking number enabled

You just pay the amount mentioned in the envelope or label at the counter. This can reduce the queue size.

I am sure there are lot of ways to re-imagine the post office operations.  If you got, please do add your suggestions….! What do you think?