Why sites should try and know their Users?

When we buy a shiny sports shoe for running / jogging / walking / drinking beer or whatever, if you bought it from an E-Commerce store, chances are, they will recommend you other shoes that you can buy! Very few take the route of Often Bought Together and actually show you a Show Cleaning Kit, Socks. After all its logical, I am already done with my Shoe Purchase, what are the chances that I will but another one. Men will say Aye! while women will completely disagree.

The same for women does not work. Data says, they buy cheaper and more affordable shoes in multiple colours and styles and then pair it. Which means, its perfectly logical to show them the Same Shoe in another colour or a Similar Shoe in Another ColorThe another colour part is important for about 50% of the user group while the other 50 can very well swing the other way. Best is not to take a chance and display both.

And don’t show socks, most of them wear peds these days!

A whole lot of Red Shoes!

A whole lot of Red Shoes!

Social Wishlists

Are social wish lists any good? In the past two years we have had many social wish list websites pop up everywhere delivering price comparison to direct purchase to consumers. Pinterest, Fab and Thefancy are a few that are in the lead. All of them allow the user to Pin “Stuff” from different websites on to their sites and link back to the original content with most of the information grabbed directly from the Site. While Fab and Thefancy enable direct purchase and delivery, they both operate in the domains of exclusive items that are easy to spot..

What is the regular user searching for?

The regular user is still searching for mundane stuff like Shoes, Jeans, Shorts, Razors on every other e-commerce site and buying them or adding them to their wish list. This wish list either exists within the e-commerce website or outside on Social Wishlists shared with other users. However, there is no way to merge the two without getting into complicated API and data sharing.

Whats the Solution?

The fact remains that the user still searches. And he/ she searches on multiple websites multiple times to get to his / her goal. The idea should not be to create a curated list and increase the search pool thereby increasing the time between Decision and Spending. The smarter way is to enable the user to search multiple sites at the same time in a Tagged, Categorised, E-Commerce environment and then lead them to the correct product, thus reducing the length of the chain.

Social shopping are actually increasing the browsing time per product with repeated content and is going to slow down the process in the longer run. And a slower and longer process of buying can only hurt the business.




Audrey Hepburn is Back!

Screen shot for the Advertisement

Screen shot for the Advertisement

One word! Amazing. Don’t really know if its complete CGI or a doppelgänger modified with digital and physical make-up.

Audrey Hepburn Starring in Galaxy Chocolate UK TV Advertisement


The Physical Memory

The Gear shift on the Left and the Back button on iOS gets embedded in our memory and we can operate them without really having to look at them

The Gear shift on the Left and the Back button on iOS gets embedded in our memory and we can operate them without really having to look at them

When we use a Phone, touch or other, we get used to the physical actions within its environment, physical or digital, much like how we get used to the manual or auto shifts in a car. They are one and the same. Our mind remembers a position for a particular intended output in an environment and we try to hold on to it as much as possible. It is one of the main reasons why one should never switch the Back / Menu buttons on iPhone on the top Left with the Save / Done buttons on the top right. Any change will lead to a drop in its acceptance.


My Smoking went down after I got addicted to Instagram, it got worse when I switched from Android to iPhone

It’s simple. Spend the time doing something else!


What are you selling?

Are you selling what people are searching?

Or are you just pushing things. Most common thing in today’s e-commerce is that when a product is not available, we put a Big Large Block with a JS Scroller and fancy jQuery saying “People who saw this product also saw this”. But is it really what I want or it’s just some makeshift arrangement. This is not as random as it seems to be.

When women look for Shoes, they are based on a Type, Style and Colour. The colour part is very important here. As opposed to when men look for Shoes its mostly based on Purpose and Brand. This is a general observation of Shopping Behaviour around me.

Then why is it that we do not take in into account? Attached is an image from a Popular E Commerce website and a very nicely done but it works only when my search matches a category. If I had searched for Yellow Headphones the same logic does not apply!

It is probably time for products to be listed by Tags rather than Categories and then organising the tags in a more user friendly manner.

Flipkart's product suggestion widget for items that are out of stock

Flipkart’s product suggestion widget for items that are out of stock



Groceries are not exactly E Commerce

Post ZopNow many people have asked me why the website does not really adhere to the many basics of e commerce that we have come to expect over the last few years. The answer is simple, Groceries are not exactly E Commerce, in other words Retail. 

Let me put this in much more simpler words. Groceries are not really Benetton or Adidas. They are a repetitive purchase process, very boring and done in large quantities, often in numbers greater than 50 for one session. And this process is repeated more than once in a month, sometimes more than once in a week

This brings us to the next part of this kind of e-commerce, Speed. A customer should be able to add all these items at lightning speed so that this online experience results in lesser time consumption overall over the conventional method. And to bring in speed one has to get rid of some of the steps in regular retail.

A clip from a recent advertising campaign

A clip from a recent advertising campaign

Usable Data / Lots of Data

Often its is said that Google creates the most usable of Apps and I constantly try to find a reason behind it. A simple display on of information on their Maps App on iPhone (or Android, since I use both) presents the user with a lot of Data. A restaurants name and address and phone number for instance. But from here on its all downhill, the Map app just allows you to see that information, but if you have to make a call to that number, you better get ready with your Notes App to write it down or memorise it and then type it back in where its needed.

The right way to do it on a Phone App is to just give a Call Button that takes the phone number and dials it. General assumption is, if there is a number displayed on my phone whether in email or any app, in all probability I would like to save it or dial it. The actual number really does not matter any more since we are not dealing with paper and pencil here.


Flash Updates

Every month, sometimes twice in a month Adobe sends out these updates for Flash and Acrobat. They never have any callback to their website to verify their authenticity. Ideally, a link should be included just to give the user the confidence. Frequent updates for anything in any case is annoying.


My Phone usage has gone more social after switching from Nexus S to iPhone 5

Although its not pure and analytical data but it’s thereabout. After switching from the Google Nexus S to iPhone 5 in November 2012, my usage of Social Apps has seen a definite increase overall. Use of Instagram has gone up by more than double and Facebook should be up by 6 times. Add to this the cross posting of images from Instagram to Facebook. Occasional use of Tumblr has seen an increase as well but not by much. Coming to actual work related stuff, reading and replying to emails now almost completely happens from the iPhone as its a lot easier and mails through Exchange reach almost instantaneously. Use of camera is a mixed bag. Although the overall usage has gone up, but using the camera on the iPhone 5 for Macro is nearly impossible. The same on the Nexus was brilliant but it definitely lacked in shooting regular non-macro pics. Browsing of information on various apps to look for restaurants, check ins on Foursquare, checking hotel and flight information has all gone up. Primarily because all these things work smoothly on iOS for some reason unknown, considering the same set of people are developing the apps for both platforms. Then comes the Find my Friends Vs Google Latitude usage, although both work in a similar fashion, Find my Friends uses a lot less of the GPS and as a result a lot less of the battery. It also feels more precise and to the point. Use of Google Maps (and all other maps including apple) has however gone down, primarily due to the initial crappy Apple Maps and then due to the use of an actual GPS in my car.

Will try and take a more detailed look at this next month.

iPhone 5 Vs Nexus S usage. Approximate.

iPhone 5 Vs Nexus S usage. Approximate.

Going Responsive – ReaderBlocks

After a long time I have touched the Blog. Partly due to lack of time, partly due to patchy hosting service, more due to general laziness. Finally got around to creating the version 1.0 of my first responsive theme. Made for browsers across phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. This is still an “alpha” and I hope to fix most of the stuff and have the variations for this theme available for Download soon!

The current theme is in two columns / single column layout depending on the device or window width with selective formatting for specific categories. At least that’s the overall plan, lets see where it goes from here.

Current version of ReaderBlocks Beta

Current version of ReaderBlocks Beta

Mavn – Social Shopping

New site mavn.me just went live with app attached for iPhone.

Mavn is a social shopping environment targeted at the urban user in motion. It allows you to smartly spot stuff that you want to buy or have and neatly organize them in bags complete with tags. Kind of like an Instagram for products. On the desktop it behaves like a curation tool where the user can keep adding items to their wishlist using convenient pinning method, much like Pinterest.

Mavn aims to connect the offline and online businesses to their prospective buyers directly, giving them a platform to interact on.

Give it a spin