Innovation – Type 10 – Customer experience innovation [Case: Bigbasket]

Bigbasket
Bigbasket

The tenth and final type of innovation is around customer experience, which is all about creating a superior experience to customer’s entry to exit. In India many players attempted to do online grocery store for quite some-time now. It is extremely challenging business in Indian context (logistics, poor roads, unpredictable traffic, varying climate conditions etc…), which Bigbasket is able break by creating very good customer experience around it. I have personally tried and tested this many times, it works all the time with great experience.

Simple and effective User interface

The first thing that impressed me about Bigbasket is their simple and effective user interface. It was very easy to search/navigate for individual grocery items and create an order in a hassle free manner. Every item contains optimal information (neither too less nor too much) with put me into ease. Also when individuals go back for re-ordering, it keeps previous list handy for modification, which saves time for second time. This works very well for monthly grocery ordering.

Prompt alerts

While building an easy to use user interface might look relatively easy, integrating with backend supply chain to meet the promise is super critical. Especially in India, where the probability of providing prompt service is less (due to inherent challenges like infrastructure) providing prompt alerts to customers about the order status creates a lot of trust. In case of Bigbasket I get regular alerts (both in form of email and SMS) about my order status. Just before the final delivery of goods, authentication PIN is provided via SMS, so that both delivery person and customer can be assured about delivery.

Service delivery guarantee

Bigbasket
Bigbasket

After placing order, customers get to choose the time-slot in which they wanted the goods to be delivered. This super critical item (similar to Flipkart’s cash on delivery service) which helps office goers to get goods delivered at a convenient time. Their interface also shows the current booking status and slot availability in order to help customers choose the proper delivery time. From execution point of view, I have always seen they deliver goods on the time promised.

Return policy and wallet

During delivery, in case of item mismatch (ex: quantity) or damage (ex: broken seal), Bigbasket delivery folks take it back without any questions. Upon entering these items in backend (using Mobile application) customers again get immediate notification about when the updated item will be delivered. In case of item return, the money is kept back in a digital wallet which can be adjusted for next purchase.

In summary right from order placing to goods return, Bigbasket has done massive integration and prompt execution of their service. This gives a great end-to-end experience for customers in terms of quality, on-time delivery and reliability.

Embedding ‘word of mouth’ marketing inside products

One of my friends just got back from US and gave me a pack of stride chewing gum, which he bought there. More than the gum, their cover design fascinated me, because it embedded excellent word of mouth marketing messages (check out the pictures below).
Here are some of the interesting things I have learnt:

  • They have smartly used caption — “The ridiculously long lasting gum”,by mentioning “Good for you, bad for us”.
  • Excellent sense of humor in their messages (even the cover cuttings include smile), while conveying the marketing message indirectly.
  • Asking customers to participate in conversation by logging new ideas into their website
  • Overall its a very interesting design, thus provides a reason for people to talk (crux of word-of-mouth marketing).
  • They have not spent anything extra to spread marketing message.

Embedding marketing messages along with a product is a great idea. Next time you buy a product (be it a chewing rum or gadget) watch out for its cover design, manuals, stickers and additional information they provide. It might convey a whole lot of marketing messages.

Check out this link to see more humorous stuff!

Marketing : According to Dilbert

Came across this interesting picture which reflects my current thinking.

May be Dilbert put is too bluntly calling Marketing as a ‘fraud’. In reality (based my real time experience) it doesn’t matter how great a particular product/service is. It is all about how well it can be marketed and sold to customers. Business/Entrepreneurship happens when the customer signs a cheque and nothing else is more important than that.

Give me a missed call

Found a very interesting sponsored ‘no parking’ board this afternoon.

It reads: ‘just give a MISSED CALL to xxxxx and get information about Bangalore (picture below)’ In their website the caption is mentioned as ‘A new gateway to Bangalore just a missed call away’ 🙂
This is a really cool marketing technique, which generates instant word-of-mouth.

My favorite WOMMA examples

After reading Andy’s word-of-mouth marketing (WOMMA) book, I was thinking my favorite WOMMA examples. Here is the list came right on top of my mind

Example

Word-of-mouth strategy

Bata chappals

Pricing their products with ‘95 paisa’. (Rupees 199.95, Rupees 99.95 etc…). It has created hell lot of talking among consumers and even today. If not anything Bata has provided an interesting reason for people to talk about them. Costs nothing!

Virgin Mobile

Increasing customer base is the top priority of Indian telecom service provides. Virgin mobile has come up with their new idea of ‘paying for incoming’. Nobody knows about the intricacies yet. But it has already generated enough word of mouth among people by making them curious. Check out more details here.

Gmail

When they started it, only gave accounts to power users with some specific number of invitations. It created curiosity among others to get a Gmail ID. Added to that, cool features like unlimited storage created excellent word-of-mouth. Most of my friends are using Gmail today and hotmail, rediff, Yahoo are totally out of fashion.

Landmark forum

This is the best WOMMA example I can ever think of. For the seminar series, they won’t do any advertisements, campaigns, posters etc. Every person who takes the course, in-turn becomes an ambassador thereby bringing more people for future seminar series. Check out this link to know more about the course.

What are your favorites?

BOOK REVIEW: Word of mouth marketing

Author: Andy Sernovitz

Price : 24.95 USD

How smart companies get people talking?

As an engineer it’s quite possible to think everything from a technological perspective. Most of technologists think what if they have some ‘cool’ product they can build a business around it. In reality only 15% of overall product cost is spent towards engineering the product. Remaining amount goes for marketing, sales and support functions. No matter how much ever better the product is (in terms of technology, cool features, price and performance), if it is not marketed properly it will be a failure. Most of the technology startups fail not because of their technical expertise, but mainly because of their inability to market and sell the product. In fact, marketing determines the success or failure of these ventures.

Coming to marketing, quite some numbers of methods were invented over the years. For a startup/entrepreneurial venture (which is of my interest), its hard to invest heavily on some of the methods (like advertisements, campaigns, celebrity endorsements etc…) as it will cost them dearly. So what is the cost effective, yet most powerful marketing strategy startups can afford? The answer is ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ (WOMMA). Especially if you are trying to sell a consumer product/service to retail customers, WOMMA is the way to go.

In his book author Andy Sernovitz, introduces to some of the easy, yet very powerful WOMMA techniques. To start with, he defines WOMMA as ‘Giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for that conversation to take place’. It’s all about making Consumer to Consumer (C-to-C) marketing happen. There is nothing more powerful than an existing consumer getting another customer. Added to that, it comes for FREE. In core WOMMA is all about building trust with existing consumers and getting more business with help of that.

To start with, it’s critical to understand the power of the end consumer of this era. Thanks to the invention of internet and mobile phones information flow has become seamless. More than a sales pitch, consumers will take their decision based on what their friends, family or some review site says. Just think of examples in your real life about how many times you have taken certain decision (like buying a mobile phone, car, laptop or even real estate) just because it was recommended by someone.

So, how to make the WOMMA happen? The author introduces to four basic rules of WOMMA which are: Be interesting, Make people happy, Earn trust and respect and Make it easy. Then he goes on explaining how to create each of the above mentioned things. Basically any consumer talks about a product/service to his friend/family members mainly because of three reasons:

  • They really like the product/service
  • They want to feel good
  • Feeling connected with that product/service.

At the same time not every consumer will feel the same way. The challenge lies in identifying and helping the consumers to spread the word. The author goes on saying that WOMMA has had a far greater impact on businesses than what we really think. In the next few chapters the author introduces some of the ideas to generate word of mouth. With a good product, great customer experience and consistently making them happy WOMMA can be multiplied in no time. But the end results are really stunning.

Then the author introduces five Ts of word of mouth marketing (Talkers, Topics, Tools, Taking part and Tracking) and goes on explaining about how to go about executing each of these Ts. In each chapters he gives some tips like maintaining a simple website, saying thank you to the consumer, writing blogs, participating in forums, consistent present in the internet, making the recommendation process easier, free samples, leveraging social networking sites, giving cost effective goodies etc. He also emphasizes how important not to do any sales pitch, which will bring down the impression of the company.

I heard from my MBA friends that marketing is a theory subject and people find it very dry. In this book author Andy has made all my perceptions wrong by providing easy step-by-step practical approach to WOMMA. In fact after reading this book, I have become a big fan of WOMMA and Andy. I am following his blogs regularly, where he provides very easy but powerful real life examples.

If you are involved in marketing job this book is a must read. For entrepreneurs, who are bootstrapping their business, this book is a real treasure.

Related links:

BOOK REVIEW : Marketing Mayajalam

BOOK REVIEW : Crossing the Chasm

My experiences with the chasm

Customer un-friendly SMS

I was trying to book a bus ticket thro’ redbus.in by logging in the travel details into their site. After few minutes got the following SMS:

We have received your request. We will call you if we can arrange a ticket for you. For an urgent requirement you can reach us at our call center.

I found this message very irritating due to two reasons. First, I don’t want to hear “ifs” and “buts” when I am approaching for a bus ticket. Second my travel requirement is urgent. In fact most of the cases it is and getting bus tickets (especially over the weekends) is pretty difficult. On top of all where is the call center number?

The mobile advertising or status messages should be short but convey proper information. Unlike the one mentioned above.