The niche online retailers let product trials at the customers’ home. Such models are quite lucrative and more than a defense against the portals such as Amazon. As these firms let the customers to try the product that they like before ordering them, the firms such as Lenskart, the major online eyewear retailer and BlueStone, the jeweler are able to push the higher value purchases besides lowering product returns. This method has become a significantly good practice though it is a drain on the e-commerce firms.
The scheme of ‘Try and Buy’ is quite expensive for the niche retailers, but they can convince the buyers to purchase the product that is of high individual preferences online and in turn help them earn loyalty. This makes them beneficial compared to e-commerce portals such as Amazon and Flipkart as they provide home trials that will complicate the business models of the electronic marketplaces.
Lenskart has been providing home trials in around 42 cities with delivery boys taking the products to the customers’ home. A customer can select up to five frames that can be tried at their convenience. This initiative has provided the firm around 8 percent of its monthly shipments that account to 150,000.
Averagely, around 10 percent to 12 percent of the products that are sold online are returned by the consumers for several reasons, claim the industry estimates. Each of these return costs will add an additional Rs. 70 for the retailers other than the shipping costs. On the other hand, the home trial costs Rs. 70 to Rs. 100 in the major cities, but it is of b beneficial for a long term.
BlueStone funded by Ratan Tata has witnessed a drop in the returns to zero from the buyers as they try replicas of their necklaces and solitaires at home before placing the order. The home trials have also bumped the transaction value as they have a higher value than the average value.
Other retailers such as Urban Ladder dealing with furniture, Caratlane jeweler and Zivame lingerie store have also come up with such schemes.