The AC stabilizer and the 3rd phase of e-commerce in India

Our air conditioner’s stabilizer conked off recently. When I got the local electrician to check why the a/c wasn’t working, he figured that it was the stabilizer and that we need to change it.

I asked him if he could get a good one (according to him) from the nearby electrical shops and fit it. He said that local shops would be selling spurious stuff under well-known brands and that it is better to order online!

This is a complete 180-degree shift in thinking!

When e-commerce’s 2nd phase started in India in the late 2000s, thanks to Flipkart (after the first, failed phase, thanks to brands like Rediff, IndiaPlaza, Fabmall etc. which focused more on the online display instead of offline delivery), the most important narrative was around trusting e-commerce that it will ‘deliver’. And this ‘deliver’ wasn’t just shop-to-home delivery: this was about the fact that it will deliver what you expected, in terms of quality, price and satisfaction (returns).

This is the reason why Flipkart took the responsibility of not just building its own market, but also educating the Indian customer base, about trusting e-commerce. So, the children-as-adults series – to show that e-commerce is child’s play. But they also had long-running series on other kinds of people making it seem very simple – like the grandfather ordering and telling the rest of the family how easy and convenient it was.

So, I bought a new stabilizer on Amazon. True to what we expect from Amazon these days, in the third phase of e-commerce in India, it arrived the very next day. But why I chose a particular brand of stabilizer has an interesting story as well!

We have a French Window in the room where we have the a/c. So, the a/c is fixed on top of the French window, on a rather thin strip of wall. It is thin enough to fit the height of the air conditioner’s indoor unit and some more space. Plus, there are curtain rods and curtains right below it (though they don’t touch the a/c unit). So, one important criteria to pick a new stabilizer, besides more technical aspects like wattage and tonnage was the simple physical dimensions of a stabilizer. It had to be as small as the previous one, so that it can fit into the same screws as the older one and doesn’t hinder the curtain’s movement.

Ironically, among the few 2.0 ton a/c stabilizers on Amazon that fit the bill, was one from V-guard. It had the maximum reviews (a combination of sentiments, as usual), but one thing that caught my eye was how they chose to display the product in the product listing page.

The page had just 2 pictures – one, of the full stabilizer and the second was, most unusually, showcasing the physical dimensions of the stabilizer (of all the things they can showcase)!

It was also showcased almost like how a furniture shop (like Urban Ladder) shows the size of the furniture, height in relation to a standing human. Such a display is mighty unusual for something like a stabilizer, but given my specific first-criteria, this fit the bill perfectly!

Other stabilizers had the LxH mentioned too (far below the main listing), but I guess someone at V-guard had the presence of mind to put this criteria right on top! I’m assuming they knew that this size was perhaps a need that is not often explicitly associated while buying stabilizers, but is yet something they may have heard from the market, as feedback!

In any case, I bought that stabilizer on a great deal (almost half the prize, cheaper than the screenshot above!), got it fixed the next day.

As an aside, completely unrelated to the above, this happened too 🙂