While consumers think that Walmart and Amazon.com are two of the cheapest places to shop, Zifiti.com seems to offer a lower price for the same items, especially Indian groceries.
While internet searches have allowed consumers to compare prices with either the click of a button or by speaking to Alexa and Google Express, the average consumer must be a well-educated shopper in today’s world.
According to an extensive study done by Placed, retailers selling higher ticket items in a one-off purchase are at greater risk of losing sales to Amazon through “showrooming,” the act of investigating an item in a brick and mortar store and then purchasing it for a lower price online.
But for consumers who buy groceries online, comparing prices for everyday products is never a priority instead they just look for the item, add it into their cart and proceed to checkout without even looking at the total as for all they want is their groceries to be delivered to them right at their doorstep.
Zifiti.com is an Indian online portal based in the U.S. and allows Indian Americans to buy Indian products from India and nationwide for a low and reasonable price.
“Our efforts to disrupt the marketplace model is not limited to changing where people shop for Indian groceries, but also how much a household ends up paying to acquire those hard to find Indian items while keeping it easy and convenient,” sadi Zifiti’s CEO Shinu Gupta who went on to present a challenge stating that a shopping trip on his site would result in an overall lower cost than if you purchased those same items on Amazon.
In an effort to reveal the true cost of shopping for household necessities Placed chose a list of items on Zifiti.com that are well known to a typical Indian consumer and ordered them to be shipped to somewhere in Wisconsin and when the purchased was finalized, the total cost ended up being $51.40 with free shipping.
After that was over, Placed conducted a Google search for the same items and were surprised to see the main items appearing in the sponsored “Google Shopping” area where their prices were much higher than that on Zifiti.
For example, Brook Bond coffee, 100 g, was showing as $11.40 at the low end and $19.96 on the high end compared with Zifiti’s $3.99!
Then Placed went to go shop on Amazon and found it dissicult to even find some of the products under the same names such as “Nirav Cream of Rice (Rice Soji) Idli Rawa – 4 lbs” netted zero results so they tried other derivatives such as “Cream of Rice 4 lbs,” and “Nirav Rice Soji” and finally got results with just “Sooji Rava.”
However, there were many results for “Toor Dal,” a more commonly used item and searching by relevance didn’t help, so they searched by price, lowest to highest and found the least expensive option to be $13.99 for the same size as the one they purchased on Zifiti.
As they continued their shopping spree, it took placed at least 10 minutes to find each item to that point that they even Google searched it to find an exact link.
While shopping that way they found the same items on other Indian grocery ecommerce sites for a lower price than Amazon but still higher than Zifiti.
Additionally, some of the items were either out of stock or only available for in store pick up.
After about an hour, they were able to find seven of the nine products on their list and ended up with a grand total of $106.76 after choosing the cheapest form of shipping without having to sign up for an Amazon Prime account.
In short, Placed’s experience with Amazon was more frustrating, slow and expensive than with the Indian Marketplace Zifiti.
Back in 2014, Digital Commerce 360 had already laid claim to the fact that Amazon was choosing to score higher margins on certain products where they determined, scientifically, that price wasn’t a determining factor in consumer choice.
It must be the case that Amazon doesn’t experience much competition in the Indian products marketplace currently, however, as brand awareness for Zifiti grows and supply and availability increase; it will ultimately be the demand of the largest South Asian ethnic group in the US that will drive the need to comparison shop for daily necessities.