It was my sister’s birthday a few days ago, and I wanted to send her some flowers as a surprise. Since we live in different cities and I have not sent flowers to anyone for ages, I had no clue where I should / could order flowers. See here’s the thing about
floral deliveries – If they are beautifully decorated and delivered on time, everyone’s happy. And if they are not, then it feels awful! To spend so much money and get a bad deal. I don’t know why, but with flowers if you get a bad deal, it feels worse than
with buying anything else. So, I wanted a reference from someone who had used a floral delivery service and could vouch for it. I was wary of online website recommendations because everyone I know has had some terrible floral deliveries - Either the flowers
are old or there are too few or the design is terrible.. The list goes on! So I asked for help from a group of friends from school on WhatsApp. It was about 8 PM when I sent the SOS request. In a few minutes, I got a lot of suggestions – both online and of
home based florists. I did some quick online research and settled for a guy who was highly recommended. So the decision from whom to buy was based purely on recommendation from a trusted source and personal research.
Next, I called him to check if he could take last minute orders and if he was willing to deliver in the area. He confirmed yes for both. So I asked him to send me some designs of his floral decorations which he did in the next 2 minutes – Again on WhatsApp.
Once I liked the design, we got into the pricing discussions. I told him clearly that I did have a budget. But the design I liked was more than my budget. He was kind enough to agree to give me an on-the-spot discount and promised to deliver on time the next
day. So in 30 minutes, I had placed my order. He promised to send by 3 PM the next day.
At 1 PM the next day (which was incidentally my sister’s birthday), she sent me a photo on WhatsApp with the flowers. It was beautiful and took my breath away. She was a happy birthday girl, and said it is one of the best floral decorations she has received
in her life. It was big, the decoration was awesome and it was a wonderful surprise. I sighed in relief.
Mind you, the guy has not yet taken his payment. I told him that I will pay online, and he promised to share the details – which he has not yet done. But he trusted me as a stranger enough to execute the order even before receipt of payment.
As I looked back at this entire experience, I was amazed at how the whole buying and paying process has changed for me as a consumer. From what I can buy, where I can buy, to how I choose and how I pay for what I need – it has become so simple, so powerful
and so accessible. And I can do all of this and more sitting in the comfort of my home. Pretty cool, right?
Absolutely, and I believe
Mr Jack Ma (Alibaba founder and chairman) has spoken exactly about this in his 2015 Davos interview. He says “We finish 60 million transactions every day…. People don’t know each other. I don’t know you; I send the products to you. You don’t know me,
you wire the money to me.” That is a powerful statement, and that is powered by technology, backed by trust and really about timing. He also goes on to state that his vision for the future is to create a global marketplace for buyers and sellers. So if
I want to order flowers from Indonesia / the Caribbean for someone in London while sitting in India and paying in Indian Rupees it should be possible. I’d love the possibility of being able to buy apples, flowers or an iPhone from any part of the world being
delivered at my door-step. Would you? My guess is that the solution is not be too far away,
As I sign off, I leave you with the 3 T’s of today’s consumer payments:
1) TRUST – Consumer Payments are about trust. The trust between the buyer / seller that the seller will honor his commitment in terms of quality of goods / services sold and that the buyer will pay for the same as per pre-agreed terms
2) TECHNOLOGY – Consumer Payments are enabled by technology. The ability to choose what you want to buy, decide on whom you want to buy from, when you want to place your order and how you want to pay are all possible through multi-channels
like your mobile, laptop or tablet.
3) TIMINIG – Finally consumer payments it is all about timing it right. In terms of access, availability and adoption by both the buyers and sellers.
What is your view? Leave a comment to share your thoughts…