It was my Diwali wish to get a violin. I had dropped giant hints to my parents, sister and anyone who would listen, but alas! Diwali came and went by, but I did not have any violin with me. That is when I decided to take matters into my own hands, and get myself the musical instrument I had been craving for years now. Then reality struck me, and I realized that my paltry savings wouldn't afford me even a toy-violin, let alone a good quality real one! I was wallowing in self-pity as the country burst crackers outside.
I flumped on the sofa and blindly surfed the TV channels. Suddenly, I came across the Quikr commercial:-
This 30-second ad made me sit up and wonder if Quikr was really a matchmaker for buyers and sellers. I decided I'd give it a shot and find out for myself! I quickly logged on to my laptop and opened up the Quikr website.
I was pleased to see the neat homepage which had automatically picked up my location from my previous login. The homepage has neat tiles of categories you can choose from. Quikr apparently lets people buy and sell everything - from houses and vehicles to pets and electronics! It also supports 7 Indian languages along with English. (I hope they start supporting Bengali soon!)
Meanwhile, I was fiddling with my phone (yes, I just can't stay still!) and downloaded the Quikr app for Android from the Google Play store.
I was amazed! The mobile app looks even neater than the website! I tapped on the "search" icon and the application smoothly used the GPS of my phone to fetch my city.
A simple "tap" lets you change the city too (in case you are shopping for a friend in another city).
I drew my attention back to my laptop and typed out my search text. I was going to get me my own Diwali gift!
Quikr's autosearch feature intelligently found out I was looking for a violin under musical instruments. I ran a simultaneous search on my cell phone.
I was taken to a page where multiple sellers displayed their violins. You too can take a look here: http://mumbai.quikr.com/violin-musical-instruments/violin/x1042.
The panel on left allowed me to refine my search results. I could reselect the category or subcategory, and pick multiple musical instruments from the list.
The mobile version showed me a similar scene, only with a design that is much simpler. Every ad shows:-
- at least one picture (they say ads sell better when you have many pictures to back them)
- the title (the more informative your title, the more your customer will notice your ad)
- the cost
- the location/area of the seller
- date of uploading the ad (new ads are displayed first if you don't select any filter)
Most of the violins I skimmed through were priced at around Rs.50,000. My face fell. Quikr again stepped in to cheer me up and I noticed the slider to select a custom price range, along with predetermined price-bars on the left panel.
I set all the filters to suit my budget, and sent up a prayer. I could not afford to spend more than Rs.5000 on a used violin. I sorted the list in ascending order for price. I checked to see if the mobile app also had a similar function.
Lo and behold! I could sort all the violins based on price, pictures and recency of the advertisement. And that was not all!
The app also let me filter according to the locality of the buyer, the price range, the seller (individual or dealer) and the condition (used or new) of the violins! I adjusted the filters and pressed the magic button ("Apply").
My precious shortlisted violins appeared on my phone, and to be on the safe side, I quickly saved my search as an alert. This is a wonderful feature, and I've been receiving text messages and emails about violins so I can take a well informed decision.
Coming back to the laptop view, I finally was able to choose a violin after saying "no" to a few. I was blown by the pictures of the 2-year old Selecta violin which came with the case, not one but two bows, and a chin-rest and all the 4 metal strings affixed to the instrument.
The Andheri East location was also closeby from my place. And had it been far, I could have taken Quikr's help to get the muscial instrument delivered to my home! How awesome is that! To avail their pickup and delivery service, you only have to mention the to and from locations, the product details and the date of delivery. You can make the payment directly to the Quikr representative when you receive your goods.
Out of curiosity, I checked how my selected violin would look on my phone. The interface is user friendly and lets you swipe to browse through adjacent ads. I read the details of my selection.
My (presumably well off) seller was upgrading his violin to a Hofner. There just couldn't be a better time for me to get myself a Selecta! :-) I saw that he was going to sell his shoulder-rest too. The app would let me call, SMS or email the seller through the app. I decided to call up the owner immediately. His phone was engaged, but I did not have the patience to wait. So, I turned my attention to my laptop again.
I clicked on "Reply to this Ad" on the right panel and typed out my message. The smart system had auto-populated my email ID and phone number. I had requested the guy to sell me the shoulder-rest and electric pickup within the 5000-cost. I was buying a second-hand violin afterall!
With only 3% battery on my phone, I decided to reply from my phone as well. I quickly tapped out a message there too, and hit the "Send" button.
After my reply was posted successfully, I sat back and waited for a call, text or email from the owner. You will notice how fast Quikr actually works when you see that I made my entire search, selection and intimation within a span of 7 minutes. In an hour, I got a call from the seller, and after a couple of minutes of negotiating the price, we closed the deal. I was going to get the violin and all paraphernalia for only Rs.5000! The same thing if bought from a music-store, would cost me upwards of Rs.10,000!
We quickly decided that I would collect it personally from him outside his office during the lunch hour and pay in cash. The transaction and settlement were swift and by dusk, I was back home with my prized catch. ;-) And now I testify that Quikr really is "buyer aur seller ka perfect matchmaker"!
You can only derive vicarious pleasure from watching me play my "Diwali gift" which I bought with my own money. I was so happy to finally own a violin, that I immediately subscribed to some YouTube video channels for violin lessons.
For Christmas, I think I'll get myself a real violin-instructor. By the way, did you know Quikr also has ads for violin teachers? Well, they sell "services" too!