E-commerce has resulted in more of a paradigm shift in consumer behavior than we realize. Not too long ago, Indian consumers needed to touch and feel everything, and had to haggle with vendors over prices, before any decisions were made. Nobody even thought of buying a sofa set without actually sitting on it, or a dress without trying it on. Now though, we buy everything, from clothes, TVs, and even homes, without any of this and without blinking an eye.The consistent and seamless experience of buying anything, whether it is a book worth a hundred rupees, oran LED TV worth a lakh, online,has made it all possible.
A revolution of equal or bigger magnitude is waiting to happen in the world of hyper-local services. Marketplaces solving this problem today connect us to a bunch of service providers (from plumbers to pest control to photographers). However, once the connect has been made, the customer still has to go through a lot of trouble,defining what needs to be done, haggling for prices, and handling disagreements.Also, there isno recourse if the job was performed poorly, and so on. Clearly, this still leaves a lot to be desired, as far as customer experience is concerned.
To solve the real customer pain-points and ensure a smooth experience, one couldlook to sectors such as software, travel, and hotels, as examples. In all these sectors, the productization of services has brought in enormous value to end customers. It brings in the advantages of upfront pricing, comparison-shopping, marketplace competitiveness and one-click buying.
In order to give users a truly good experience,services marketplaces need to standardize their services so that users get a consistent and seamless experience, much like products. The focus should be on making things buyable, not just connecting to merchants. As a user, wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to do the following things with the tap of a button?
A service marketplace would need to take care of the following things:
The challenge in service marketplaces is taking care of customer experience, in areas including but not limited toservice quality, pricing, timeliness, customer service, invoicing, payment and security.
About the Author:
Sunil Goyal is the Co-founder of Near.in, an e-commerce marketplace for hyperlocal services. He is an alumni of IIT Delhi and has earlier co-founded Wirkle, a mobile apps company. He sold it to a Silicon Valley based firm Location Labs, which was later acquired by AVG.)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)