Fulfil your Diwali wishes, Quikr!

21st October, 2014 - Day 1

They say there are no free lunches in life. But as BlogAdda (www.blogadda.com) and Quikr (www.quikr.com) have taught me, there are certainly free shopping sprees! What they did was choose a few bloggers, offer them 5000 rupees and ask them to pick up items of their choice, equivalent to that amount. And I was among the chosen few! Since I lost my phone a week ago, this seemed like the Universe telling me - "Don't weep child, you'll be compensated amply for your loss." So, I logged on to http://mumbai.quikr.com/ and my journey down genie road began. You may log on to www.quikr.com and choose your own city, if you want to traverse this lovely goodie-laden journey along with me.

What's Quikr? I'm sure you've seen a few ads and so have I, but even I wasn't sure what to expect when I logged on. I knew that Quikr is a marketplace where anyone can sell - both individuals and dealers, at prices of their choice. Additionally, one can sell both new and used items. Finally, it is a free service for both buyers and sellers, who can interact and negotiate without any middle agent. Now this was an entirely new landscape for me because I'd only bought from physical shops and online retailers until then. So, I saw twelve categories on the website:

I was most attracted to the 'mobiles and tablets' and 'electronics and appliances' categories. But the other categories piqued my curiosity as well. I learnt that one can not only sell products on Quikr but services as well! How versatile is that? There's no other medium in India that offers such a diverse array of options for community buying and selling. Anyway, now on my Diwali wish-list were the following items (in order of priority):
  1. 1 TB Seagate hard disk
  2. 16GB Sandisk memory card
  3. Headphones or neckband 
  4. Flip cover for my Micromax Canvas Doodle 3 phone
  5. Portable charger with around 5000 mAh or more
  6. Bluetooth headset
Initially, I spent hours simply browsing the website and acquainting myself with the kind of ads and offers. Some seemed professional; others more amateurish. It felt like walking through a virtual market - with stalls of different natures and statures, offering deals that ranged from unbelievably low (for the used items) to reasonably priced (matching the market rate or slightly lower or higher). The conclusion I drew? This would require considerable sifting. But there was also the prospect of ending up with something really attractively priced. Quikr makes you work hard - but the rewards more than make up for it!

I went to the Mobiles and Tablets section - http://mumbai.quikr.com/Mobiles-Tablets/cId-18224598 and was bombarded with an offer for a phone exchange, which I wished I'd seen before I bought a replacement for my lost one!

Ah, but I was in the wrong place. The Mobiles and Tablets section listed headsets, chargers and earphones. What I was looking for was a 1 TB hard disk so that I would never have to delete a beloved film or television show again! So I clicked on 'Electronics and Appliances' (http://mumbai.quikr.com/Electronics-Appliances/cId-18222212679) and went to 'Computer Peripherals' (http://mumbai.quikr.com/Computer-Peripherals/w18222211294). There, you will find printers, speakers, keyboards, processors, antiviruses and of course, hard disks. I had more than a thousand results for '1TB hard disk' and that's where the filters came in handy. I wanted a new item, preferably from a dealer and I wanted it to be a Seagate product. I shortlisted two or three options which I 'saved'. Ads you saved are saved in a tab, from where you can easily access and compare all your options.

So if I was okay with a used item, I could get the hard disk for as low as 2800 rupees. However, even the brand new ones were available at reasonable rates. Most of them seemed to match the market rate of 4000 to 4500 rupees, until I found one dealer who was selling it at 3900 rupees - and that too a Backup plus slim model, which is currently retailing for anything between 4500 and 5000 rupees. Now this was a steal! I wasn't sure how exactly to approach the dealer who was located in Andheri. So I'll list the steps that go into purchasing a product on Quikr - from selection till delivery:

1. Search for the product or go to the parent category and look for it;
2. Save the best ads and compare;
3. Click on 'reply to ad' and send a message via Quikr to the chosen dealers;
3. Call the chosen dealers directly (the numbers are always listed);
4. Negotiate the price (though most aren't willing to budge!), get doubts cleared;
5. Set up a place and time for the delivery or arrange for it to be couriered;
6. Unwrap and start using your new find!

22nd October, 2014 - Day 2

As I write this, I'll tell you that I've just received the first item from my shopping spree - a Sandisk 16GB memory card at just 412 rupees! If you want one too, you should contact these guys: http://mumbai.quikr.com/SanDisk-MicroSD-Card-16-GB-Class-4-Price-Rs.412-W0QQAdIdZ183096431 (Other options are available at http://mumbai.quikr.com/Mobile-Accessories/w18222211259)

Or you can search for other brands and memory card sizes here: http://mumbai.quikr.com/Mobile-Accessories/w18222211259. What I got was a really good deal because currently, other online retailers are selling a 16GB Sandisk memory card at anything between 450 and 500 rupees. My dealer Mumbaikaprice was located close by - so they delivered the card right to my office! It doesn't get simpler than that. What's more, one can search as per area - so that you can find a dealer close to you and have the product delivered as soon as possible. Here is what my memory card looks like (as you can see, it came in genuine packaging):

The memory card and the hard disk were essential items on my wishlist but I was really confused about the third item. The memory card cost me 412 and the hard disk would cost me 3900 rupees; so I was left with around 688 rupees. I could get either a pair of headphones or a portable speaker. However, a portable charger with good battery power would be difficult to get under 900 rupees. So I searched for headphones (located in the mobile accessories section: http://mumbai.quikr.com/Mobile-Accessories/w18222211259) and found a mind-boggling array of options. And then this one caught my eye: http://mumbai.quikr.com/Monster-beats-by-dr-dre-Mixr-devid-guetta-headphones-W0QQAdIdZ184113001

Now where on earth do you get Dr Dre headphones for just 650 rupees? They normally retail for anything over 16000 rupees. There had to be a catch. I clicked on 'reply ad' and sent a message to the retailer, expressing an interest in the product, along with my cell phone number. Lo and behold! I got a call back in what seemed like seconds. What Quikr does is send a mobile alert to sellers whenever there is a response to any of their advertisements. That way, they don't have to wait to log on to check and respond to purchase requests. Nitin, the dealer told me that the headphones were a copy. I wondered whether it was worth the risk. Well for 650 rupees, I could take a chance. He offered me four colours - white, black, red and blue. I picked my favourite - red. Nitin was gracious enough to deliver either close to my residence or to my workplace. The very next day after calling, I had my brand new headphones in my hands:

Finally, it was time to clinch the costliest deal on my wishlist. My 1TB Seagate external hard disk http://mumbai.quikr.com/Brand-new-sealed-seagate-backup-plus-1-tb-portable-external-hard-disk-cheapest-W0QQAdIdZ170753138 (Other options are available at: http://mumbai.quikr.com/Computer-Peripherals/w18222211294)

In this case, the dealer, Ashwin did not respond to my message - so I called him from my end. He was able to tell me all about the product - yes, it had a warranty - yes, it was genuine and unused - no, he would not negotiate - yes, it would work on all devices. We have arranged to meet tonight at a location that is convenient for both of us and I can't wait to use all my new Diwali purchases once I'm home!

23rd October, 2014 - Day 3

I'm listening to Sona Mohapatra's 'ambar sariya' on my new headphones as I write this and the sound quality is brilliant - I can hear every beat, every nuance of Sona's voice. My favourite track never sounded better! Here is a better look at my new babies:

Right after checking the sound quality of my Dr Dre headphones, I plugged in my brand new, shiny hard disk into my laptop. I knew it was a slim model - yet I was unprepared for how small, sleek and conveniently sized it was! The folder opened as soon as I plugged it in - no installing of drivers. And I was gratified to see 931 GB space available for all my music, movies and photographs! I began transferring my essential files immediately - around 250 GB of data. The whole transfer happened rapidly and the speed was around 20 MBs per second. If only my memory card was that fast!

And now for the story of how I ended up with this lovely 1 TB hard disk at just 3900 rupees. After several calls and messages, Ashwin and I arranged to meet at Koperkhairane station, which was to be frank, quite out of the way for me. I thought he was being quite inflexible until I realised that he worked at Koperkhairane. He wasn't a dealer! He told me that he'd ordered a few hard disks for a client project and he was selling the three pieces that remained at a steal. I was more than happy with the explanation. I was just happy I had struck off the top three items from my Diwali wishlist, all thanks to Quikr,which turned out to be as quick as promised! (I ended up on the wrong side of Koperkhairane though and ended up burning quite a few calories getting to the right one. I later made up for this with a sumptuous plate of dahi puri). This photograph will show you how small the hard disk is:

I also inserted my new sandisk memory card into my (also new) Micromax Canvas Doodle 3 A102 phone and found my phone to be significantly faster after transferring all my data into the sd card. To recap my original wishlist:
  1. 1 TB Seagate hard disk - GOT IT! (Rs 3900)
  2. 16GB Sandisk memory card - GOT IT! (Rs 420 instead of 412 because the delivery boy didn't have change)
  3. Headphones or neckband - GOT IT! (Rs 650)
  4. Flip cover for my Micromax Canvas Doodle 3 phone
  5. Portable charger with around 5000 mAh or more
  6. Bluetooth headset
I might just get the other three items on Quikr as well, if I can find them at good rates (and I have no doubt I will). In fact, after seeing all the used items advertised on Quikr, I'm wondering if I should get rid of a few items I don't want through this wonderful website. I remember the time when my sister had wanted to sell her perfectly good guitar because she wasn't learning to play it any more. What if she'd advertised it on Quikr? Perhaps, she'd have gotten a better deal than what she eventually got. Another misconception I'd had about Quikr was cleared by the end of my shopping spree - that it was cumbersome and long-drawn. I had all my products within two days of starting to look for them! That was actually quicker than online retailers, who take more than a week to deliver items in most cases. What's more, I now had the contact details of a couple of good dealers whom I might contact in future as well, if I need mobile accessories.

You may still ask (as did I) why you should opt for Quikr and go to the trouble of calling and coordinating when you can just buy products at the click of a button. Well you know how we keep saying that you get gadgets at cheaper rates from a Lamington Road or a Manish Market? And we also lack the time or motivation in most cases to actually comb the streets of these markets and find a product that works for us. So, what if there was an online platform where you could find all these sellers, as well as individuals selling unwanted secondhand products from the comfort of your home or office? That platform is nothing but Quikr and in my opinion, there is definitely a market for a platform like Quikr. I mean, where else do you get a used Kinetic scooter for Rs 2500? (I'm not kidding. Check this out: http://mumbai.quikr.com/Amazing-Kinetic-Scooter-at-a-great-price-W0QQAdIdZ174923201 and http://mumbai.quikr.com/Scooters/w18222213048 for other options) And don't forget, you can even find jobs and homes on Quikr! If you have found some, befikar, do share your stories. :)

P.S.: For more information on how BlogAdda and Quikr made this magical experience of getting three excellent goodies in 5000 rupees possible, do visit http://adda.at/QuikBA