First came computers, the big giant ones that occupied a whole room; too much for an individual. Then came those mini desktops that were only to be found in work premises for extremely crucial work. Slowly the trend changed, technology improved, therefore reducing the size and they were welcomed into our homes. In the last few years, technology has sky-rocketed leading to the emergence of laptops.
Back in the year 2006, when I was working for eYantra (which is a firm specializing in brand merchandise for corporates and corporate gifting), the buzzword in the merchandising industry was customization.
If it was a good looking merchandise, then it’s value rose by nearly 30%-50% if you could customize it to the customers needs. That was the time we got into a narrow niche of branded merchandise. Everything from iPhones to t-shirts used to be branded by the target corporate’s brand logo (as defined by their marketing team’s brand logo guidelines).
The going was good, and soon we had acquired our series A round of funding. This obviously attracted other players and companies based completely on customization were formed – companies such as Myntra.com (whose ads you see even today). Needless to say that Myntra has grown beyond customization and is now almost a full blown e-commerce portal.
It’s been almost 6 years since and I had almost forgotten about the retail and fashion industry. That was until I came across this smart company – they specialize in providing woven labels with the text customized as per your needs. You can check this site out – look here. The thing is that woven labels is not a new idea, in fact they have been around in Britain (in Coventry) for more than a century now.
The cool thing about these labels, is that you can order any amount you want and have them customized right there on that site. There is almost zero manual intervention in the order placement process and that’s what makes a strong case for customization in the retail markets.
If this kind of technology and business processes were there in India, then it would have taken the branding and merchandising market by storm. In a developing economy wherein almost everything needs to be branded, having a custom made woven label takes the branding experience in retail merchandise to the next level. The good part about developing economies is that they have ready access to the developed markets to look at successful business models.
In fact this idea is so awesome, I won’t be surprised if I start seeing a Label Yourself outlet in India within a few years!
I have always been a fan of Diablo, and even better cool Diablo T-shirts that I can wear at work. Jinx, is one of the few online e-commerce fronts which provides such products. This is the story of their service, and what makes this entire event worth mentioning!
It was the 6th of June, and my family wanted to gift me some clothes for my birthday which was in the next month (9th July). So after great deliberation and going through their broad choice of shirts, I finally decided to purchase 4 shirts and opted to ship them to India using the basic shipping method, that’s USPS.
Now, for those of you who have not shipping anything from abroad, keep in mind that USPS is the US equivalent of the Indian Post Office (I certainly was not!!). What this means, is that they are as efficient as their Indian counterparts!
I ordered the goods, and the expected date of delivery was after 20 odd days. Great, no problem. After a good 20 days, the dispatch was yet to arrive. So I started tracking the dispatch. Turns out that USPS does not provide tracking of the dispatch once it leaves the American shores. That means, its pretty much lost in the darkness!!
Thus, started my period of eternal wait. Everyday I would try following up with different agencies – USPS customer center (as bad if not worse than their Indian counterpart), Indian Customs Office (try find their number online, even Google fails!), Indian Postal Office (who keep directing you to different numbers).
With the d-day close, I got in touch with the folks at Jinx and informed them about the lack of tracking. The support was understanding and they immediately shipped a second shipment. This was due to arrive in India by the end of July. The shipping was still the same, USPS, which meant that I would face the same problem tracking the shipment. As expected, tracking shipment was an impossible task (we visited the GPO, the local PO, the Customs Office), no luck.
Now I was getting pissed off, and quite disappointed, two shipments dispatched and not one was being tracked. I gave up hope and did not follow-up for another month.
And there shall be Light!
Finally, in the month of August (near 25th or so), I dropped the support person a mail, and asked what can be done regarding this issue. This time around, they verified my shipping address and informed me that they would be using the premium shipping method … whew, I was glad to be rid of USPS service!! Or so I thought, the premium service used USPS in the backend as well! Contacting them was even more futile and I had more or less given up all hope of those 100 dollars that I had spent 3 months back.
It was the first week of September, when I received a call from my wife, and she informed me that a shipment had indeend arrived and it was from Jinx! I was elated .. finally the package had arrived!!
Thank you Jinx!
Not only was this service patient and understanding, but also they were willing to go the extra mile and provide me outstanding service. The package delivery was not exactly their problem, however, they owned the delivery and ensured that it finally was delivered. Good show on you folks!