Earlier, Bollywood babe Neha Dhupia announced her ecommerce foray, Shilpa Shetty invested in a group buying site and recently, Yuvraj Singh announced investment in Exclusively. But with all of this, the most contextual investment comes from Karishma Kapoor who has invested in Babyoye.karishmakapoor

Writes Karishma Kapoor

As a first-time mother, I often longed for a really trusted support system, that I could turn to whenever I needed something, for myself or my baby. A service I could rely on for the best, in products as well as advice.

So I was delighted to discover babyoye.com when my son was just a few months old. I have found everything I needed on babyoye.com – from bibs to beds! What’s more, I can shop online, from the comfort of home, and have everything delivered to my doorstep, in 2 days flat. (I believe in some cities outside Mumbai, it takes a couple of days longer but imagine, you get super products and super service at your doorstep and you can pay cash on delivery.)

I appreciate it so much, that I met with the Babyoye team and we shared many ideas on how Babyoye can help parents give their children the right start in life. When I was asked if I would like to invest in Babyoye, I instinctively said yes. I am an actor, not a businesswoman but it is not really a business decision. I am investing as a parent who has discovered a wonderful service and wishes to share it with fellow parents. So yes, I have put in my time and my money but most importantly, I’m putting my heart into it.

I now have a very close relationship with babyoye.com. A bond that I invite you to share. Discover how wonderful it is to have a friend who’s always there for you, and your child. [page]

What about Adwords?

Earlier, Babyoye raised $2.5mn funding from Accel Partners and Tiger Global (April 2011) and as a customer of the service, I can bet that the majority of the investment went into adwords (and NOT technology development). Case in point – I recently ordered products from Babyoye (which surely has marginally better inventory than others, especially FirstCry) and here are my observations (I did talk about this on Twitter and was surprised that there wasn’t any response from BabyOye’s customer support team):

1. Needs better login/registration infrastructure.
In my case, the site didn’t show any product/order history even though I bought a product. Not sure what am I missing.

2. Respect the promotional campaign.
Nov 18th – price of a product was Rs. 1,900/ and 3 days later, the price went up to Rs. 2,500/. On being asked why this price change (hey! this ain’t a deal site?), I got a response that ‘must be a mistake. Please try again’. We tried and nothing happened. The price was still showing Rs. 2,500/ and on being asked again, customer care simply replied that the product must be out of order. In short, they were clueless and so were we.

3. Gift wrap?

When you are checking-out an order, you have an option to gift wrap the same. I opted for this option (by the way, the order was for my 1 year old niece who is in Delhi) and I am now told that the product was delivered without gift wrap.
Is this dependability?

4. Tracking system.
Once you have placed an order, you get a tracking number. And this is what the tracking page looks like (“Coming soon”).babyoye_trackingpage

If calling up customer care for order tracking is the only way forward, then it must be the most under-optimized way of spending money (technology investment in areas like these can be a BIG differentiator).

Ecommerce is not just about pumping up site traffic, but it’s a LOT about integrating backend and frontend – and given my limited experience of using Babyoye, I am not convinced whether the team has done a good job of integration (especially given the $2.5mn funding they have raised).

The reason why I am sharing my one-time-experience of BabyOye is because I am not sure where is the money going. Did Karishma Kapoor really invest in the site or she has invested in Google Adwords program, after all most of these sites are ultimately investing in adwords and NOT on technology! And that to me is the most scary part about this crazy investments in ecommerce.

What has been your experience with Babyoye?

PS: Of course, I’d expect the Babyoye team to take this candid feedback in the right spirit. They have a lot of things going right for them (including inventory/branding etc), but focused approach on technology will surely help them scale.

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