Friday, October 31, 2014

What do you do when you're given ₹ 5000 to shop for free?

In this era of online retail, it is such a huge relief to be able to shop for all kinds of necessities, no matter how big or small, from the comfort of one's home. Given Delhi's extreme weather conditions, rarely interspersed with pleasant days, going out for shopping has become such a Herculean task that I absolutely abhor setting foot in crowded markets and prefer buying all I possibly can from the Internet. Now there is quite a lot of competition in the online buy-and-sell market, but I believe is fast outclassing its competitors to become the ultimate one-stop shop for anything and everything you wish to buy or sell, from used stuff lying around your home to that car or pet animal, right up to commercial products that you own a business of.
It goes without saying, then, how joyful a moment it was when I received an email from Blogadda inviting me to participate in their latest activity wherein I'd have to shop from for ₹ 5000 (that will be reimbursed later on) and blog about my experience. Here goes then.

I logged in to Quikr with the intention of finding a second hand smartphone, preferably Micromax, to keep at home as a spare phone for emergencies like the breakdown of one of our personal phones. I keyed "Micromax mobile phones" in the Search box and chose the filter "Ads posted in last 24 hours". I also customized my search by selecting the price range of 0 to 5057 rupees (the nearest figure to 5000 that I could manually set). Finally these results showed up.

One of the mobile phones I was interested in buying, as the location and price fit the bill well.
I found 3-4 phones that fit my requirements, so I noted down the numbers of the individual sellers from the respective ad pages on Quikr and called them up one after the other to inquire. It was however my bad luck as none of the phones were still for sale - they had all been sold already! Dejected, I began racking my brains for some other things that my family members or I could possibly need. And then it hit me - exercise equipment!

This time round I tried a different approach. Browsing through the various sub-categories listed under "Home and Lifestyle" category, I selected the "Sport - Fitness Equipment" subcategory. I also applied all the same filters as in the previous search (although I later increased the price range to 6000 to get a wider choice of exercise bikes). I further opted for the filter "Posted by Dealer", for I thought it more prudent to purchase brand new exercise equipment as it would be sturdier and also carry a warrantee.

Left Side Panel where you can choose different filters and categories.

After much browsing, I zeroed in on an exercise bike which was listed for ₹ 5,500.

The Quikr listing of the exercise bike I selected. It was listed at ₹ 5,500 when I made the deal, but the price has been removed now.

Although it exceeded my limit of free shopping, I thought what the heck! If I'm buying something, I'd rather buy the best I can find. A meager 500 bucks that are not reimbursed won't make any difference to the pleasure of owning the Air Bike Platinum Dx. So I called up the dealers, KS Healthcare, on the number listed in the ad and inquired about the product. A time and date for delivery was fixed, and even though the delivery came more than a day late due to paucity of staff, the bike eventually arrived at my place yesterday.

The price tag of ₹ 5,500 as listed against the bike earlier has since been removed, however. So if you'd open the same ad page now, it doesn't quote a price at all. The phrase "Contact for Price" is mentioned in place of price on all the listing pages across the website, as the one in the screenshot below.

I assume it must be something between the dealer and I personally paid the dealer the exact amount I had seen the product listed for (I wish I could've bargained though! :D) The bike is tentatively perched in the lobby of my home for now, and it works just fine. The delivery guy gave me a proper receipt with the taxes etc in place, so I'm warranted against malfunctioning of the bike for at least a year.

My shopping experience on Quikr was an interesting mix of good and less than good. Here's a quick low-down:

1. The site lists almost everything you can think of buying or selling for everyday use as well as specialized purposes. Be it Diwali shopping for gifts or regular shopping for electronics, home furnishings or even real estate, you'll find it all there. My mom, personally, has become a huge fan of lately.

2. It also has a provision for listing services (which I've earlier made use of by listing my father's services as a doctor) which makes its coverage of people's needs much more comprehensive.

3. The provision of various filters and categorical division of products makes it mighty easy to sort through undesirable stuff and find a product matching your requirements quickly.

4. One doesn't even have to register on or login to the Quikr website in order to make purchases (though you will have to do so if you are a seller). It is quite a welcome change from the usual online retail websites where you have to register, login, save your contact and payment details etc. Hassle-free shopping, dealing directly with the seller - I loved it.

 1. You might have guessed already - the listed prices of the products tend to change/disappear from one day to another! One moment a product appears on top of the search results, and 6 hours later that same product may be difficult to find even after applying suitable filters. I do not know the exact mechanism behind these listings, but Quikr administrators could probably do something about this. It just makes browsing difficult if you plan to do it in 2-3 sessions, that's all. No grudges.

2. There needs to be a mechanism wherein Quikr guys ensure that an ad of a product that has been sold off is removed from the website immediately. I had a hard time buying a phone as every person I called had already sold their product. It cost me unnecessary call balance and time and energy, and to what avail? None.

3. There is some flaw in the dating system for the ads. Every one of the people I called regarding the phone claimed to have put up their ad several weeks/days ago, while listed each of those ads as having been posted within the last 24 hours. In conjunction with Minus #2, this makes for a less-than-pleasant shopping experience as it chips away at the buyer's time and energy and leads to frequent disappointment. This should positively be worked on.

In short, if I were offered to take a go at it again, and this time with no promises of reimbursement, would I shop from Quikr? HELL YEAH. 

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(This post is a part of activity at

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