One fine morning I rose from my bed and went down the stairs to get the newspaper. After noticing the front page of it, my dizziness turned into an amusement and later into a frantic embarrassment. The front page ad showed an e-commerce company announcing 50% off on selected products through their e-wallet. The next day a message was dropped into the inbox of my smart phone which informed me about huge discounts on selected products* only shopped through mobile app. (The asterisk which explains the terms and conditions later becomes the cause for our embarrassment). I receive messages where a restaurant’s announcement of an offer usually look like this “Have two full plates of chicken biriyani and enjoy third plate for free with a liter coke.*(Terms and conditions apply: Offer valid only on weekdays at selected restaurants)”. And there are few desperate people who will plan an outing on a weekday only to make use of the above mentioned restaurant’s offer. They vehemently search for a third poor lucky chap to go with them and relish that exclusive free offering of delicious biryani.
There are lot of offers flooding these days through online platforms to attract customers. Companies like Paytm, Freecharge and cab providers like Ola, Meru, Uber and e commerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon etc. are changing the priorities of urban middle class. I cannot argue whether they are doing good or bad to the lifestyle of the urban middle class, because still I am in a dilemma in understanding the pros and cons of this complex subject.
Today, when an urban middle class person wants to buy anything, the first thing he does is an exhaustive search for offers available across different platforms and not the product he specifically wants. The joy and method of shopping has changed now for him.
Everyday, my friends provide me information about some petty offers available. Most of those offers are unnecessary at that point of time. But a pathetic middle class Indian in me can’t let my concentration go away from it.
These are the smart and partially cunning strategies which these companies follow meticulously. Drafted by its management gurus who drew overwhelming inspiration from corporate success in North America, these strategies paved way into Indian business environment which provided various confusing options to its respective customers. They are well versed in the economics of middle class. They are tapping our economic status and savings. Indians are more complex to understand and once when you got their priorities, it is simple to make them fools especially the Indian middle class which is the most vulnerable in this context.
Feature Image by Maria Elena, ecommerce, CC BY 2.0
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