Impressions of Belief

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 875 , Published on 12 January 2015

“In youth, it was a way I had,

To do my best to please

And change with every passing lad

To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know

And do the things I do,

And if you do not like me so,

To hell my love with you.”

Dorothy Parker’s beautiful lines explains the mood of the market very well. A market which is fierce, fast changing and unforgiving. A market which has replaced manufacturing as the engine of the economy and has deflated the Western ego. Today everything is being reverse engineered in a Nehru Place sweatshop. As a result, our flattened world has dematerialized and now all we have to do is to sell a breakthrough IDEA.

Image Courtesy:, Stuart Miles

The question is how do these ideas emerge? Well, absurdity seems to be a good bedfellow to an idea. It’s said ‘Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there’. So when Graham Bell didn’t stand by Pierpoint Morgan’s view of no commercial future for telephones he was simply being absurd. And rest we know is history. Another such absurdity struck Nadia Shouraboura, former head of supply chain and fulfillment technologies for Amazon, when she came with the idea of Hointer. Hointer today has changed the way we shop. Nadia addressed the issue of customers harangued by over eager sales staff. It promotes a mechanism where shoppers download Hointer app, make selection from 150 styles of jeans, shirts and tops suspended on steel cables and scan a QR code with their smartphones and wallah within 30 secs the product is dispatched via micro robotics from store room to designated dressing room. Discard the unwanted items in a chute and swipe and pay for your purchases. Hointer stores have 1/5th floor space and half the no of staffs. With a substantially lower cost and sales uplift of 30-50%, Hointer has led to customers buying more. An average 3-5 more sale at Hointer shows its epitome to “efficiency buying” rather than simple shopping.

Its known that there are 10 billion brain cells, each capable of making 5000 connections but its making unusual connections which give birth to revolutionary ideas. Rent the Runaway, a Jennifer Hyman masterpiece, is one such unusual connection. Hyman observed that her sister with a full wardrobe didn’t find anything of use to wear and born was the renting women’s wear which is now called the ‘Netflix for dresses’. With around 24000 dresses and 12000 accessories in its store to rent for weddings or for a night in town Hyman is giving a “Cinderella experience” to women who would have never dreamt an access to popular brands. But its more business than romance. A 3 million customer base , 100% growth and investments of $15 mn and $24 mn over consecutive years speaks volumes and promises to stay.

A new notion is sometimes at odds with the stern disciplines of management. It aims to create a stir. It ruefully intends to revive the moribund industry. Henry Zilberman’s Yumani is one such notion. Yumani focusses on the principle that internet should influence the buying power of individuals and customer marketplace.. Its business follows that sellers should compete amongst themselves to offer the best deal possible. It allows customers to request products at lower prices. The more is the no of customers, the more is the discount. With 8000 registered users, 700 sellers, a funding of $2 mn in less than an year and a concept which is very different from that of the industry, Yumani has certainly grabbed few many eyeballs.

The reason why these and thousands others rose was- DESIRE- a pursuit to transcend and be the change. When men choose to seek rapids and not calmness of lake, the world gears up and prepares for something which they have neither seen nor heard of.

This article has been authored by Md Arbab Zafar Danish from NMIMS Bangalore





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