Dominos goes online

My family loves pizzas, so whenever we spend a lazy holiday, we generally order for them. Unfortunately Pizza Hut does not deliver in my area :-(, and the other niche brands take quite some time do deliver their wares. So we have adjusted our palates to enjoy Dominos. I don’t have anything against Dominos, no … in fact I have begun to enjoy their thin crust pizzas a lot (even when they get stale!). So when my wife asked me to find Dominos coupons, I did a quick Google and clicked on few of the top links.

Interestingly enough, one of the links was an ad by Dominos themselves. They are running ads on branded keywords, interesting I thought. On the landing page, I noticed that they are providing a decent coupon (50% off on 2nd pizza) if you order online.

The Domino’s storefront is pretty simple with you getting a list of pizzas and side orders which you can customize. No great shakes. Not a bad experience though, but nothing to ooh and ahh about. After adding the orders to the cart, I proceeded to check-out. On check-out, I was given an order receipt and also given the address and phone number of the store who would fulfill my delivery. Unfortunately, the facility for entering your own address was not that great, and I ended up entering only part of my address. After 10-15 minutes when there was no communication from Dominos (except the order confirmation with the partial address), I got a bit worried and called up the store responsible for the order fulfillment.

Now here’s the kicker, after I contacted them, they decided to check whether my address comes in their area! The order was confirmed, but the operator was prudent enough to provide me a disclaimer that it may take longer than 30 minutes! As I sat down and write this down, the delivery guy rang the doorbell (well within 30 minutes!).

All in all, it was a good experience – however the customer touch points need to be appraised of this online transition (had the operator whom I contacted been a bit more well informed about the online store, then my experience would have been far better!).

Btw, here’s the coupon code I used – FRIFRK50, and you can redeem it here.

Clone Wars

First came Best Buy.

People were happy, they got good deals, saved some money. Good … but meh! Perhaps their launch was before time. Avante Garde.

Then came Groupon.

A multi-billion dollar valuation, e-commerce 2.0 buzz, social media tongues wagging about. It was the next big thing since the Internet.

I guess over a period of time, folks soon realized that the business model was pretty simple really. Get bulk, negotiate with vendors and give back a small share back to the users. That was also the eYantra model. I hear its gotten its second round of funding as well.

Followed by a slew of Groupon clones … there are too many of them really to name a few. The unfortunate thing is that not one of them is willing to call themselves a Groupon mee-to. We are different is what they all say.

Everybody on this planet is unique, just like 7 billion other people.

If you thought that I would be writing another nerdy review of Star Wars, you are mistaken, Ser.

With Groupon clones sprouting everywhere on the Indian e-commerce scene, its going to be a war out there. The war is going to be played out in our inboxes, on our cellphones, on our social media pages and in our tweets. Our credit cards will be the trophies, each transaction a battle on who will get us the cheapest deal. If you thought that it would make me happy, its not.

All the discounts in the world are not worth the beauty of a spam free life. It’s been ages since I have seen an empty inbox, gotten no sms-es. The Clone Wars are on, and you are the next battle!

Facebook monetizes

Facebook keeps changing its layout, looks, etc ever so slightly and so constantly that most users do not even notice the changes … until it hits them smack on the head. That’s what I like about these FB Apps, revisit the games after 3 months, and the game has also evolved … it has got more items, more plots … somehow it has become more interesting.

That’s why when I started playing Hero World, I couldnt help but notice that instead of having micro transactions through pay-pal or some such payment gateway, the game also had Facebook credits as a currency source. On further digging, I found that Facebook is offering users to buy Facebook Credits. Users can then exchange these credits with different applications.

Instead of carrying out micro transactions within games, now we can carry them through Facebook itself. Good to see a definitive revenue stream other than eyeballs and ads.

Edit: After seven years, revisiting this post in the December 2017. Facebook now boasts of a robust advertising model.

The e-Commerce conundrum

I walk into a brick and mortar store (say a book store), browse through some books, finally decide on my selections, head to the counter, make the payment and come out a happy customer. All that the vendor needs to do here is –

1. ensure that he is well stocked with books I like
2. have a search mechanism in place to find the right book for me
3. have someone manning the counter

The beauty here is that if the book were torn or something, I do get a chance to examine the goods before buying them. I decide to buy the goods only after I say its ok, who would I trust more than myself? Thus, I perceive the transaction as fair, and I pay the book store and head home.

Now consider a second scenario, I walk into a bookstore, and I inform the vendor that I am looking for, say a Jack Reacher novel. The vendor shows me his collection, but much to my chagrin the particular title I am looking for is not with him. The attendant assures me that they have run out of stock and will restock in 5 days. However, they would be more than happy to inform me once the book arrives. I hesitantly leave my no. with them and think that it’s good to have book stores who inform their customers about books they want.

Apply the same paradigm to an online shop. Rarely would I come to this shop for idle browsing, if I do have a title in mind, then I would be interested in skipping directly to it. If at this juncture, the store informs me that it is out of stock and will not accept my order, however they will be more than glad to inform me when the book is in stock – I won’t be that pleased. I will grumble and grudgingly close the browser.

If the decision making involvement is the same, if the outcome is the same, then why the difference in behaviors?


In December 2006, we were working on an e-commerce portal aimed for the B2C segment. It was supposed to rival Amazon in terms of features, experience, technology … a very ambitious project. When doing market research for that project, we tried out many Indian e-commerce sites, actually shopped on some of them, and literally choose from the best of them the features we want to build. That was the first time I came across Futurebazaar. I bought a book, (Shantaram) from the site, the book was delivered in a week or so. I soon forgot about the site, little did I know that I was one of the first customers on the portal. Within a month or so, I got a mail from them saying so and also an invitation to their public media launch. Wow! My first media launch invitation!! Wheee!!

I look at the site now, almost 40 months later, and I can see how well they have evolved. No more the tacky-looking nested menus, distinct spaces which map onto their physical presences, interesting sales promotions (Lucky Wheel thingy), only products which they stock in their physical stores, support offered through their physical stores, etc. The way they have evolved their business from being a pure play online shop to a click and brick model is to be applauded.

Kudos to you Futurebazaar!!