Offline shopping in India with a twist – Online Coupons

Offersforshoppers

Well folks, I’m back, had a little siesta, and did some travelling to India (Delhi) of all places. Nice to get a feel for the buzz that’s happening. So its Sunday (parantha this morning was a treat) , checked my inbox, and voila was hit by a website which, intrigued me. Enough of the rambling, this post is all about Offersforshoppers.

Before you fall off your chair with boredom….wait, please. This is different, this is not your normal e-commerce run of the mill Indian shopping website. It has a little imagination, added to alot of color, and just a little je ne sais quoi.

Have you ever had all those coupons sent through the door, dominoes giving you 10% off, some local shoe shop offering 20% of shoes next weekend, well this site removes all of that. It puts all those offline offers, online, so you can easily track, manage and enjoy them. Big deal you may say, but here are a few facts.

In 2005 335 billion coupons were distributed in the US alone, and only 4.5 billion redeemed. Potential savings of $315 billion were wasted.

Over 50% of Sunday newspapers are purchased for there coupons. More than 50% who use the Internet to shop conclude the deal offline.

Hence by combining the offline and online world, this website may just take India by storm.

(Note: All data blatently lifted from the web using CAP technology)

Offerforshoppers, plans on localising the offers per city, I personally think this should go even finer, and look at pincode based offers. Currently the website is limited to Bangalore. So how does it work?

Goto the website, find an offer, and then either contact the vendor, or print the coupon, jump on a rickshaw/scooter/car/plane and visit the vendor, throw the coupon on the table, get the discount…simple and elegant.

One other really cool feature is that if your friend also wishes to purchase, then you can purchase together, and get group discounts. On the flip side, if you are a vendor, and wish to add an offer, you simply fill out the details. One downside is that you need to upload a picture of your coupon. The website should allow you to create this coupon from a few templates, thus allowing the vendor to add coupons more quickly.

Current offers are from Sahara, Suzuki, Hindware, to name a few.

Okay so you can save money as a buyer by using the coupons, a vendor can sell more products by offering more coupons….but, and here’s the cute part, you can also MAKE money by telling people about the website by using the referrer program (Not sure if I get included here…maybe I should use the referral program…Note to the owners, I quite happily take Dominoes Pizza).

In summation a great idea, competition may come in the form of google, allowing users to add coupons to their listings, however since this is India centric, it should not be too much of a problem. I would add offers via RSS though, and make them pincode specific, that way all websites could pull the offers and include on their websites, i.e extend the referral program.

In addition include a mashup with mapmyindia, so that users know howto get to the shop.

There are a few more details, but instead of typing all this myself, I’m going to invite some of the people behind this venture to come share their ideas on the blog.

So don’t be shy, come and tell us, Why?, how? and whats the plan?

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33 Responses

  1. First, let me thank you for writing about OffersForShoppers.We are just two month old self-funded company and are trying to get good leads in all categories.Hope we will be able to provide best of the deals to our users.We started with bangalore,soon we’ll be launching services in Delhi and subsequently to Mumbai,Kolkata and other metros.Let us know if anyone is seriously ineterested for the same.

    Iqbal,we really liked the idea of Coupon and we’ll definitely implement it.Thanks for that idea.It’s a great suggestion and will definitely add a lot of value.Regarding RSS feeds, we are almost half way through.Very soon we’ll be providing the feeds from our site.

    Again, map thing was in our mind but we couldn’t find a good service for same.The one’s available in market are either very slow(takes too much of time to load) or are very costly (at least for start-ups like us).If anyone of you know of a good Free 🙂 service, please let us know.
    We are in touch with some angel investors, hope that will bring some cash to out accounts.And if you can share some money, we’ll definitely not mind having it 🙂
    Let us know if you think there is something we can do better.

    Shweta

    • Hello Shweta,
      I am Himanshu Singh 17 years old from delhi. I’ve a idea about offline coupons. And most probably i’ll be starting my startup with in few month. We may talk in personal for further.

  2. This is a good, when is it in Delhi

    Deepak

  3. Thanks for this wonderful write-up. The facts mentioned by you are enlightening and encouraging. I feel excited when people talk about online shopping deals in an India scenario. I live in Redmond, WA and experience the importance of deals almost daily. For most of us buying decisions are based on the current deal on a product whether I am shopping for digital camera, laptop, daily grocery, milk & vegetables.. car wash, milk or even a hair cut.

    The trend of ‘deals’ is already beginning to catch on in the Indian markets. If you look at the Google trends data for “online deals” India is not too low down on the list.

    Big questions is are Indians buying online?.. and I have confident “YES”. IAMAI forecasts that e-commerce transactions will cross the Rs. 2000 crore mark (2006-2007) which translates into an increase of over 300% from financial year 2004-05.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce the readers of your blog to http://www.allindiadeals.com aka “India’s Hot Shopping Deals”.
    We started this website in August 2006 and we were the only one serving online deals to Indian Shoppers then. However now we have more players in this games which will eventually help the Indian Shoppers in saving their hard earned money.

    We search the online stores and store flyers for the deals, free stuff, and discounts, and after filtering them, publish the very best ones! At http://www.allindiadeals.com shopper will find the best deal for gamut of products from Apple iPod to Vacuum Cleaners, Laptops to Levis Jeans, Computers, Digital camera, Cell phone, MP3 players and more.

    We get the deals from different avenues, most of the time, our sponsors, online stores and visitors contact us to post deals. Also, we find and investigate on the net to post the best deal that suitable to our visitors.

    Last but not least I would like to congratulate the offersforshopper team for putting up a nice & colorful website and wish them good luck in their venture.

    Cheers,
    Nidhi
    http://www.allindiadeals.com

  4. Iqbal, the post above could almost be a review itself.

    Alex

  5. Shweta, are you launching this, if so when and how.
    What is plan behind making money, how do you make money

    Tarun

  6. Tarun, this service has already been launched in Bangalore and within a month we’ll be operational in Delhi as well.You will see some actions in other metros also may be within few months.Money comes through advertisements.There are other ways also which i won’t be able to discuss here.But as of now, that’s not of our focus area.

  7. not a bad review….though in india coupons will not be such a hit…problem is the concept of vendors not implementing them diligently. So even if a customer walks in he can just ask for a discount and get it. Secondly coupons need to be coded but if they are coded vendors at their end do not have right point of sale software to help vendors analyze number of sales coming thanks to this channel.

    Concept of flyer’s do exist in India..but they are information tool announcing discount but not encouraging readers to conserve them and use as guide and ensure they enter the store.

  8. Hey Sid,

    I think they can be big, I don’t think point of sales is needed, since the idea is to encourage the user to goto the shop. I agree that most can get a 10% discount even without a coupon, but if I could subscribe to offersforshoppers, and get sent coupons for local shops, especially where I shop regularly, I would use…but then I could be a anomaly

  9. Hi Iqbal,

    Thanks a lot for the comment. As you rightly said :
    > always nice to know you have real readers and not spambots.
    🙂

    You bring up good points, but then these comparison shopping sites are just startiung out, I think it’ll take a little more while to understand user needs or even imitate successful ones in the US

    As I finished writing this comment, I realised that I had written a lot for it to be a comment & am excited to hear my other reader’s views on my thought, so i’ll just post on my blog.

    I think online shopping is going to be very different in India from how it works in the USA for the following reasons:

    1. A few fundamental things like cheap, reliable and timely postal & courier services are missing. As a result its difficult for merchants to go online & serve customers not close to them geographically.

    2. While convenience is becoming inreasingly important for the Indian customer, trust is very difficult to build. It will take some time & trust-building for indians to start paying online. Air travel seems to have opened a way, but for commodities, I have my doubts, I’ll be happy to be proven wroong.

    3. Most importantly the economics of payments in India. A large volume of transactions in India are cash based, I am not certain how many non-salaried people will adopt shopping methods which are completely accounted for. A classic case in point is the success of pre-paid schemes over post-paid schemes in the cell phone space.

    To me, there are 2 possible ways, in which online shopping in India becomes successful.

    1. A comparison shopping site compares prices with not just online but offline merchants also & factors in location & time-to-deliver.
    2. A large corporation (think Reliance) sets up marketplaces in their retail chain & are accesible online

    Thanks,
    -mekin

  10. hey iqbal,
    please tell honestly, how much did offersforshoppers pay u for that write up. the portal is a complete disappointment considering the professionalism and elagance of the fresh web portals coming up in india. they have tried to copy http://www.zixxo.com and have failed miserably. it is so very difficult to search links for navigation in the portal.
    well..this approach of starting posts in forums with some good (but fake) reviews is very popular and ppl are smart enuff to understand it now. however, it does help in catching up page ranks.

  11. E-wiz, I wish I did get paid, but honestly I don’t get paid to write any reviews at all, always my own thoughts, the only thing I guess which may bias them is the weather :-).

    Can you highlight some nice web portals in India, because I have yet to see them, offerforshoppers has a bright layout, which appeals to me, and it is subjective. I have sent notes to them on what they should improve, I tend not to post all negative comments on my blog.

    Also if you go through all of my posts you will see there is a heavy bias to criticism as opposed to praise, hence not sure where the “good (but fake) comes from”.

    Iqbal

  12. Hey E-biz,
    It’s sad to see people criticizing start-ups based on one point agenda.Like film critics who spend half of their life searching for movies from which a bollywood movie is copied or seems to be copied,instead of actually looking for the content of movie, you should not always try relating a start-up with anoter company and say they have failed.If you are actually evaluating a company then you should evaluate on whole bunch of critera like idea, team,market need and usability.So just because a company doesn’t have web-2.0 look,as per you, doesn’t mean they have failed.And if you truly want to help them let them know what exactly is the issue that they should solve.Simply saying that they have failed won’t either give a good credit to your criticism or help them improve them.So instead of discouraging start-ups, better develop a tendency to provide feedbacks to them and help them achieve higher.
    I appreciate that Iqbal is doing that and will prefer that others also think in same direction.

  13. Hey Vaidehi I have a fan….yeahhhhhh

    Iqbal

  14. hai i have found one more online shopping portal named http://www.Storrz.com in bangalore, where we can shop groceries online.I couldn’t find any other sites which allows customers to buy groceries online.They are selling branded and quality products.. They r providing good offers to consumers.check it out guys!!!

  15. I read some of the posts and I think it is a great place! I want make the best use of my moist entertainment A JOKE! ) What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work? A stick.

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