Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Online Marketers Beasts of Burden

People ordering stuff online is now more or less the norm when compared to a few years ago (a time when online marketers were viewed with suspicion). I now see young children buying stuff online happily and paying cash on delivery. We are all well aware of the difference in cost in buying offline and online so much so that sales in book stores have dropped considerably. The other day I went to Landmark, saw Agassi's biography which I have been wanting to read, saw the price, calculated how much I'd save and postponed the decision in favor of online purchasing. Sadly I have not yet made the online purchase and my 'smart' decision may not finally be so smart after all. Meanwhile Landmark has shut down one store in Hyderabad and has reduced space by half in another. If the stock in the store is anything to go by, I suspect the rest of the floor is going to go too.
Not an easy job - Carrying the myth of online efficiency
The market is shifting to the 'efficient' and 'cheaper' online space. Arvind Kejriwal is not a big fan of these online marketing companies I hear, more so their pricing strategies. Anyway we are all too familiar with the boys driving around the city roads with oversized bags strapped to their backs. They call, find the address, make the delivery and find the next person. But unlike the postmen and the courier boys, their bags are huge, almost covering their entire back.

I wonder how heavy these bags must be. Certainly the bags do not lend to riding their bikes easily. In the photo you can see that in addition one of the boys has another bag strung on to the side of the bike. In the other boy's case the delivery bag has shifted, putting a big strain on his back and the way he rides. The phones, the tension of driving around the city traffic, and then the huge oversized bags strapped to their backs. Not easy. Not safe. Not healthy. I am not convinced that enough thought went into those bags and their design, the effects they may have on the boys, and whether an alternative mode of transport works better on these parameters.

My biggest problem with the online marketers  now is this - in their thinking of cutting costs they are not thinking of their employees safety and health. In my mind they are similar to those trucks or even rickshaws that are overloaded or carry oversized cargoes that stick out posing a danger to both the truck and the others on the road. I wonder what traffic policemen have to say about this. In Bombay I remember we were not allowed to carry cricket kit bags on bags by the traffic cops which makes immense sense. If cricket bags are not allowed these huge bags should not be too.

Come on guys, think of a way to make this better. I'd appreciate your service and efficiency that much more if you also displayed a caring outlook to your employees. I suppose the least I can do is make sure that I will buy only from those companies who have a better design, better way of delivering.

1 comment:

Rajendra said...

is this better than being a cyber-coolie?