Big Basket Features that I would love!

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image: bigbasket.com

I have been a big fan of BigBasket.com for quite a while now. While I love walking by the supermarket aisles and ‘discovering’ new products, bigbasket has taken away the stress of monthly grocery shopping for the family. To be fair, I should also disclose the fact that, we alternate buying weekly vegetables from bigbasket and our local HOPCOMS vegetable store (walking distance).

I had been thinking of a few things that bigbasket could introduce to make it even better. Having been a program manager (in a previous live at Microsoft), the first thing you do is to write a feature set / requirement spec. Here goes!

Weekly vegetable delivery. This is something similar to Amazon Fresh in select areas of the US. Most of India shops for veggies once a week, for a week. There is usually a preference on vegetables in most households. The vegetables could be a randomized set. (This is a common pain point when you buy veggies – what veggies did you buy last week – no one wants a repeat, leave alone several repeats). Ofcourse, no one minds repeats of favourite veggies (um, potato?). Send an email on Friday or Saturday listing a proposed selection of vegetables that would be delivered on Sunday. This would let the user to potentially tweak the order set. Guarantee freshness delivered at your door step, every weekend morning. I am sure you will get a bunch of customers asap.

Grocery is something that is fairly predictable too. Pulses, masalas, and other house hold goods are typically purchased at a roughly similar frequency. There is some infra that is already available with bigbasket for this – in the form of smart basket. I got this idea from looking at my own shopping analytics that is available at bigbasket right now. If I can see it, so can the system, and make a prediction.

Festivals and Diets: You can incorporate all kinds of smarts into this too. Suggest more ghee and sugar during festive seasons like Diwali maybe? Suggest baking accessories during Christmas maybe? How about incorporating your diet plan into this as well? If you get broccoli every week, would you throw it away? Always suggest low sodium salt?

Recipes: Hey ! You are throwing in a bunch of veggies, and you know the other groceries that you have delivered recently, why cant you put together 2 recipes per week using these ingredients. Simple pictorial ones. Easy to understand, and prepare. Even better, add one or two more exotic ingredients (for free), which in conjunction with the veggies delivered and the groceries that you recently delivered, would make a super exotic meal. This is marketing for those two exotic ingredients. If they like this recipe, now, you have a regular customer for 2 more of your offerings.

Secret box: There are a few start-ups in the US that are attempting this now. For a monthly subscription, they will deliver a monthly surprise box containing cosmetics or snacks, or other similar consumable stuff. This is a great marketing tie-up opportunity with partners. Drop in a couple of satchets of the newest flavour of Saffola Oats – carefully concealed in some secret wrapping of course (to enhance the interest) for free with your delivery. Notice the delight in the customers attitude. You can also link this line item with the previous (recipe) for even more customer delight goodness.

Delivery: What if the customer does not really want you to deliver home? Get up early on a sunday morning to a doorbell? Really? I bet the idea of bigbasket kiosks are already running the rounds inside your org now. You should, and yes, I mean, you should, introduce kiosks for ordering and taking delivery of orders. Best place for these kiosks for the yuppie crowd would be malls and IT parks.

Well to paraphrase ‘Sound of Music’, these are a few of my favourite things. I would love Big basket to come up with these features. And I would be the first one to trial these out !! And well, yeah, to be fair, thanks BigBasket for letting me do some PM stuff that I had not done in quite a while.

Whatsapp – Forbes Profile

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Nice profile at Forbes on the Rags to Riches story of Whatsapp.

Through their Yahoo network they found a startup subleasing some cubicles on a converted warehouse on Evelyn Ave. The whole other half of the building was occupied by Evernote, who would eventually kick them out to take up the whole building. They wore blankets for warmth and worked off cheap Ikea tables. Even then there was no WhatsApp sign for the office. “Their directions were ‘Find the Evernote building. Go round the back. Find an unmarked door. Knock,’” says Michael Donohue, one of WhatsApp’s first BlackBerry engineers recalling his first interview.

Read the full article here. [link]

image src: flickr

What if Apple bought Tesla

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Nice article on TNW hypothesizing what if Apple bought Tesla. There are several similarities. Steve Jobs did want to build a car and take on Detroit (he had made that comment to a NYT reported before he died). Tesla is loaded with elegant technology. Elon Musk dreams big – really big – kind of like Jobs. Tesla sells only through its own stores. And well, Apple very well has the cash to buy the car company. There is one more nice point made in the article – if this does happen, there is a risk to Tim Cook – a good chance that the investors might want to replace Cook with Musk!

Read the full article here. [link]

(image src: flickr)

Start-up city

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This is a time when there is a tussle between the residents of SFO and the tech workers, the so-called gentrification of the city, and the google buses problem etc. The start-ups are struggling to keep a balance between keeping their knowledge workers close at bay vs keeping the cities in which they are located happy.

FastCo has a great “imaginative” article on how this could be handled if the tech giants took matters into their own hands. What if they built apartments for their own workers in what is now their parking lots.

Makes some sense. But could introduce a variety of other problems. Read the full article here. [link]

Product Description in BigBasket

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. I do have purchased from BigBasket a couple of times. The information contained in the post is my opinion on the way online marketing/retailing is changing.

I got an email in the morning from bigbasket.com. The email subject was to tout their latest android app. True to the subject, the first section of the email was a banner which described the arrival of their android app.

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Nothing special about this. Then it went on to describe the latest deals. Nice bright pictures with their original price and the new deal price.

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Again. Nothing special about this. I get atleast a couple of such emails these days.Then comes the kicker.

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This seemingly innocuous note about Sona Masoori has more than what meets the eye. Firstly, it invitingly says, “A note by Subramanyam J,National Head, Staples Merchandising”. Intriguing. So I clicked on, and it took me here.

This page gives some very nice information on what is Sona Masoori rice. Where it is grown. Where the original rice comes from. What processing is done on it. And then, it also says, where BigBasket sources this rice from. It then goes on to give the quality metrics that it observes. And the yield. Yes, get that, the yeild. How much cooked rice does a cup of uncooked rice yield?

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Wow. You dont get that information from ‘any’ grocer that you visit. Just not possible. This is where online retailing is headed to. And I like it.

Right after the acquisition …

I was reading this great article from an ex-Flickr employee on how Tumblr (and its employees) should ride the acquisition wave. In specific, I think some of these points are awesome, immaterial of the current scenario (Tumblr + Y!). These are applicable in almost all big company buys smaller company scenarios. I am reproducing the four points below with some of my observations that I went through during the one acquisition I went through and a few which I have closely seen happen.

Don’t pretend it’s not happening or that it doesn’t matter.

Totally nailed it. It matters. You need to soak it in. You need to absorb in some of the acquiring company’s culture. Make new friends. Get some folks with whom you can gut-check processes. Most importantly, make friends with the non-tech crowd at the bigger company – HR, Finance, Facilities. You will soon realize you would need their help. And help is so much easier to get if you are on their side.

Don’t forget you’re awesome.

You got acquired because the parent company felt that either your technology is awesome, or your talent is awesome. Either ways, you are important to them. Acknowledge that. Dont succumb to giving up everything. A good merger/acquisition is a layer-by-layer mixing of what is best for the joined entity. Do not give up silly little traditions when you were smaller. At the same time, embrace larger cultural practices from the bigger company.

Plan for the Bear Hug.

I think the original article nails this one beautifully. In the initial stages, everyone will jump in and give you ideas. Embrace this togetherness, but have a point-contact for traiging these requests. Else you will get in to a rat hole.

Think bigger.

Now you can. You can think beyond the local market. You can think beyond the handful of customers you have now. You can think beyond restraining marketing budgets. You can ask for help in designing UI. You can ask for data. You can do so much more if you start thinking bigger.

Know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Now this is one thing, that I have seen happening right in front. After the acquisition happens, there are a certain set of things that happen either due to standardization (example in the article is moving to a common data center, which happens everywhere now), or something that resulted from you thinking bigger. Some things might seem easier when doing it on a larger scale, but along with, comes a ton of headache. Localization, internationalization, local laws, patent disclosures. And I fully agree with the advise in the article about – “Dont be afraid to get a gut-check from someone in the parent company.” These headaches have a thing for magically appearing only  mid way through the project.

Read the original article here.