Hey gorgeous gals,
I am back with Part 3 of the Decoding Series (Part 1 and Part 2) on Instagram Resellers. If you missed reading the first 2 parts, please do so. Part 1 of the series discussed how to identify a potentially fake reseller from a real one and also discussed the various types of orders that can be placed along with what kind of time lapse each one will involve. Part 2 of the series had a detailed response to why Insta Resellers charge the marked up prices for procuring the products for you and what adds to these markups.
Now that we have covered these 2 main headers – let us also look at what all goes on at the backend for the insta reseller. You may ask, how is it relevant to you as a customer? It may not make a difference to your life but I feel it always helps to have information on what impacts the people interacting with you. From empathy to understanding to trying your hand at it yourself, I feel it comes in handy to know what the other person is going through. It may also address concerns raised by certain customers that I have seen on the Insta Reseller pages – ranging from why the huge markup in pricing to why no one reverts to them within minutes/seconds, etc.
By “Backend,” I refer to what all happens behind the scenes of the reseller’s account. You see a post on Insta and place the order, make payment, and from that instant onwards, you start waiting for the product to come in. Let us find out what all goes on behind the scenes. I obviously am not a reseller, so I can only guess what transpires and share my own experience, from when I have placed orders directly with brands or through mail forward companies.
Let us discuss what all transpired at the Resellers’ end:
- Constantly updating about the products they have in hand or updating you about new releases in the International arena.
- They need to respond to numerous messages on the individual Instagram posts and on their message box/whatsapp. While you might actually be interested in buying the product, they would probably get numerous other queries which ultimately do not result in a sale. Yes, that is part of the job, but still, time consuming.
- Another aspect is to follow up for payments for orders which have been confirmed only verbally.
Once payments have been made, they need to ensure the amount reflects in their account. Now, it is time to order the product.
- Ordering something online may seem like a fairly straightforward activity – you go online, select the product you want and pay. Correct? Well, there are variations to this. A lot of stuff which gets ordered is new release and at times, limited edition. Since all these products being ordered are mostly from USA, the release time for the product is also based on USA time, not India. So, a product launch time may actually work out to be anything from say 10 pm to even 3am IST. So, to place the order, the reseller has to be awake and around at that time of the night. Trust me, not very convenient considering they are obviously on Indian Standard Time. Another stressful aspect of the ordering process is to actually place the order when there is a new launch or sale happening. The brand/retailer websites become unbelievably slow, the products literally disappear from your cart as you are trying to make a payment, the pages just don’t load. Just to add a product into the cart can take ages!! Even thinking about it is causing me anxiety!! Trust me – it ain’t fun! And worse is that with Limited Release Launches, the brand put a cap of say 2 pieces per person which means that the reseller has to place numerous orders.
- Post placing the orders, starts the wait for confirmation of the order. For regular products, this can be a simple enough process, but for new launches and limited releases, there can be a slip between the cup and the lips. The whole order may end up being cancelled cause of system issues or payment gateway issues! Assuming the order does get confirmed, next is the wait for shipping of the product.
- One has to constantly track shipping because there can definitely be misses here too. I’ve had courier services deliver the product to wrong address – meaning, I did not get my package at the US address. I had the courier company just losing track of my package. If it is a limited edition relate – you are so screwed!! The worst part of all this, I placed the order which the courier company lost. Since the courier company acknowledged that they lost track of the package – the brand refunded the money. Straight forward? Not really! So, while my purchase was about $60 and the refund was $60 – the bank charged me a tidy sum for foreign exchange conversion charges on both transactions! Lovely, ain’t it! So, while no product exchanged hands, I was still set back! Okay, now back to the train of events…
- Customs not releasing parcels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The paranoia of all paranoia – to trace your parcel once it has reached India and is maybe stuck at customs. Then is the indefinite wait for someone in customs to clear it. If not, there are innumerable calls to Government offices involved. If you think talking to your cellular network customer service is stressful, try following up on call with a Government Office! If by mistake you get someone who is helpful, it actually stuns you! Anyway! Further comes the followups with customs office to clear your package which can vary from just sharing of the invoice to them wanting the product to be tested by the Food and Drug Authority to ensure it is safe to enter India! No, I am not kidding – it happened with my Luna Oil from Sunday Riley. Follow up with customs may also mean actually visiting customs office to get your parcel cleared.
- Once you have the parcel – you need to check whether all items are there and pray that brand didn’t accidentally miss out on sending a product to you. Also, you need to check all products to ensure nothing is broken or damaged in transit.
- Next comes the most crucial aspect – the repackaging of the product securely for shipping to their customer. This is such a crucial aspect and I have a huge regard for resellers who understand how crucial this step is and don’t just send you limited edition palettes in envelopes! *Shudder* It seems like a simple common-sense step but I cannot tell you how crucial this is. I had one reseller send me an expensive, limited addition eyeshadow palette in a single bubble wrap – with no other packaging – no cardboard box around it!! Nothing!! Guess what condition it reached me!! And since it was limited edition, there was no option of replacement either!! Do note that apart from being crucial, it is also fairly time consuming – segregation, individual packaging, labelling etc does take time and effort.
- Coordination with the logistics partner for dispatch to customers. Every reseller has their logistics partners – the courier company they engage with. This can vary from the cheap, slow but still reliable speed post to quick, efficient but expensive FedEx and everything in between. You have to understand this that the reseller will more often than not try to keep this cost low since this is an overhead which impacts the price but is a necessary evil. Their customers don’t want to shell money on this and neither does the seller. However, there are certain sellers who identify this as a crucial step and have tied up with bigger players irrespective of the cost. However, you need to understand, at the end of the day, irrespective of big player or small – indirectly, you will bear this cost, not the reseller.
If you are an Insta reseller reading this article and feel that I have missed out on some aspect of the backend, feel free to remind me through the comment section.
I thought I would be closing this article here but doesn’t look like it. I think there needs to be one more instalment. Hopefully, it too should come up very quickly!
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