Its the Book Strore that defined book selling in India.
I still remember the opening of the first store at Mahalaxmi and the legend that became CW.
My dad attended a Digital Workshop in CW in 99 in which I presented contests2win.com and he told me that he finally understood what adver-games meant on that day.
I've been visiting CW Kemps Corner for the past decade and am so so saddened by its steady decline.
Over the past few months, the bookshelves spaces in the store have been replaced with stands containing toys, handicrafts, stickers and posters, writing instruments, etc etc.
Yesterday, in the evening when I went there, there was this DJ woman screeching away at some kids to make them play some silly games. I had a 5k gift voucher to burn but there were no DVD's available that I wanted to buy! (the choice was extremely limited).
The DVD guy upstairs was limping ( I asked him what happened - he said he had an accident) .Then why come to work? He was so lazy in looking up the database on the DVD's I wanted and just said 'come back next month'....
I walked out of the store promising never to return.
I think this is the END of CW.
And there are strong reasons to support my hypothesis:
- The cost of rentals will make book selling in expensive pockets of Indian cities unviable. At CW Kemps Corner, the 10000 sq feet of area is would cost 20+ lacs a month to rent + other costs.... I dont think selling key chains of some unknown brand is going to make up for the rent + AC costs + Staff + upkeep etc.
- Increasingly, as cities get hyper urban and expensive, FOOD is the only VIABLE business that can flourish. Look at Manhattan NYC and how Deli's and restaurants thrive there. The Moshe within CW KempsCorner does brisk business. You to wait for a table almost always. Its time Moshe expanded within the store and/or CW opened up a couple of more cafes on the first floor. That will make folks like me come to the store - to snack and have a coffee rather than buy books and DVD's I cannot find.
- The physical stocking of books and entertainment in 'diversity' is looking like a big challenge in the BRICK AND MORTAR space in super urban India. For instance, I wanted the DVD's of 'Con-Air', 'Kung Fu Hustle' and all the STAR TREK series yesterday. NONE were available. ( I am sure that they will be available on most e-commerce sites in India).
- There is NO PERSONAL TOUCH left. Sriram - the founder had a presence in the store even though he was not always present. 'Sriram recommends' was at eye level in most bookshelves that one browsed. He had cultivated a team who impersonated him - they were knowleadgable, had a view on a book and made recommendations. Today, all I see are seurity guards and some event agents near the book shelves.
I guess its time Crosswords SOLD before it went the BORDERS way.
well Crossword guess they are doin good biz thru online sellling of books... selling the almost cheapest in the market compared to other e-commerce websites...
n for DVDs etc try e websites like rhythm house or any other ...many are giving online discounts n free delivery...
Even Barnes and Nobel in NY it was shocking to see I noticed a big store on Broadway near wall street in last OCt
when I revisited in May 11 its closed down , besides you can get there books on NOOK , there own book reader
its bit inorganic way to read yet.
so CW is having tough times ahead Onlline is the way I guess , Do they have there Apps on mobile?
Alok - though I read this many days ago wanted to come back here and talk about a related Tag.
Which ECommerce site will be the first victim of eCommerce itself.
Many years ago I came across this service called seventymm.com which seemed to be a great idea. Order and watch movies at home and no delay penalties. Absolutely unheard of in India; I was actually skeptical of a mail order DVD/VCD business and wasn't sure if it would work in India, I still signed up and I just loved their service. After using this service for about 2 years I had to cancel as I was moving locations but the going had been great.
I recently reactivated when they called me on the basis of my past record. While i don't get enough time to watch movies now I was reminiscent of the past good service and keeping in mind the value of good service reactivated the service. In 3 months I ordered 1 movie? Why...
There could be a couple of reasons why:
1. I am a crazy customer and like to blow my money
2. The catalog went stale
3. The presentation became even more stale
4. The DnA of the entrepreneurs took a hit
If you go to the home page www.seventymm.com it looks like everything but a movie site. They are selling T-Shirts, cameras, gadgets, watches et all with one tab on the home page dedicated to DVD movies. They have changed their logo to say Seventy mm.. born filmy. I was so in love with the name but guess they want to become the next eBay or is it simply a traffic monetization strategy?
But is this enough for me to make an accusation on the free spirit of the entrepreneurs? For all you know this might be more to do with the business scenario. I base this more on the freshness of the core business going down, the service standards becoming very poor (I requested a movie pickup 3 times but that's not happened).
Back to my point on me being a crazy customer (those who didn't read carefully scroll up twice) in the short term I was crazy to sign up for this but in the long term I am not going to renew and hopefully others read my post too. On another thought in the long term we will all be dead. So I wish seventymm the best for the long run.
I received my first Flipkart book this morning, and the process was seamless.
I feel logistics (delivery, storage) is going to be an important facet to the growth of e-commerce in India. We don't really have the best infrastructure in place and cant rely on lower costs only to justify delivery as opposed to walk-ins.
I had a very similar experience at CW Indiranagar. It looked dead inside. Apart from the security guard at the door and two people behind the counter I didn't find anyone else. There was a lady ahead of me at the counter who was extremely skeptical of the "offer" they guys were trying to sell her. They made a terrible job out of selling it to her.
I'm a big fan of Flipkart. Their service is excellent. One of the few companies in India that gets the customer satisfaction bit.