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'We Aim To Be The Leading One-stop Savings Destination For Online Shoppers'

CouponRaja & CompareRaja Co-founder Rohit Chugh says the traffic from non-metros cannot be ignored. The current traffic share from non-metros is about 40 per cent and it is on the rise for the last couple of years due to increased usage of mobile devices and 3G internet

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On CompareRaja, visitors typically are looking to find the best price for a particular product say a mobile phone, TV, dishwasher etc. In the case of CouponRaja, visitors are looking out for deals.

BW Disrupt interacts with Rohit Chugh, Co-Founder CouponRaja to know about how the business is growing & future plans.

Excerpts from the interview:

Where exactly is the coupon industry going in India? How big is the market and at what rate is it growing?

Indian consumers are pretty deal conscious & price savvy. So there is an inherent need in the market for coupon and comparison sites that can aggregate such information for the users and help them save time and money while shopping online. As online shopping grows in India, more and more people will also become aware of sites like Couponraja & Compareraja. Once we have helped them save time & money in their online shopping journey, these consumers become returning visitors to our site and mobile app.

The industry isn’t big right now because the last couple of years have mainly seen e-commerce players establish their brands and set up infrastructure to support e-commerce. As the market matures, more and more people will also learn about the ecosystem such as coupon & comparison sites which facilitate the shopping process. In mature markets, we see such sites drive 5%+ of online revenues. India will also head the same way.

How many direct visitors do you get on the website? Does that give you any insight on the brand loyalty of the visitors?

We get over 7 million visitors to CouponRaja & CompareRaja, and this number is increasing with every passing month.

On CompareRaja, our visitors typically are looking to find the best price for a particular product; say mobile phone, TV, dishwasher, etc. They typically have a list of few models they are interested in buying and based on the final price available from the top sites they can decide which model to buy. Our visitors here are in advance stages of making a purchase decision where they have identified the specifications and price range of what they want to buy. We then help them narrow down those choices and select a particular brand.

In the case of CouponRaja, visitors are looking out for deals. They might or might not have a particular product in mind, but if they find a deal that is deemed attractive, it helps them make the buying decision. CouponRaja visitors typically have a smaller basket value in comparison to CompareRaja visitors who are looking to buy big ticket items.

This is an overly crowded market full of 'me-too' sites with very little differentiation in the overall product or offering. A coupon available with you will also be available with your competitors. How do you differentiate yourself?

In the early stages of the market, you typically see a lot of players enter the space. However, over a period, there tends to be a shakeout with only a few serious players left standing. Users start to become returning visitors over a period if they get a good user experience (getting coupons which work and showing correct pricing information while comparing). We focus a lot of our effort on ensuring that the quality of information provided on the site is consistent of a high. Our team works quite hard to provide great user experience for our visitors. 

Merchants also start to focus on a few key partnerships that are willing to engage with them and provide an excellent experience to their customers. We also get exclusive deals and coupons from merchants that further help us differentiate our offering. 

The other means of differentiation is through distribution channels. Consumers can get information on deals and prices through our website, mobile app, emails, a browser extension and custom notifications. We also engage with our users on social media platforms like Facebook & Twitter. Over a period of time, it becomes difficult for 'me-too' sites to sustain their presence across all these channels.

How do you market yourself? I understand SEO must be the primary route, but what else?

Google, of course, is a big channel to reach out to users but by no means is it the only one. We have users who have installed our mobile apps, browser extensions and subscribed to emails and notifications. Facebook and Twitter are great marketing channels as well.

How do you see your traffic trend from smaller cities (non-metros)? Are the category based attractions from these cities similar to that of a metro?

The traffic from non-metros cannot be ignored. The current traffic share from non-metros is about 40% but is on the rise since the last couple of years due to increased usage of mobile devices and 3G internet.

The popular categories remain same for metros & non-metros; ranging from books to apparel to consumer durables. However, the non-metro consumers buy online more because of non-availability than for convenience. Some of the key non-metros are Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Bhopal, Indore, Patna, etc.

What are the current key developments on Couponraja & Compareraja?

As we are getting good traction on both Couponraja and Compareraja, one of our primary focus is to build a loyal audience pool in order to encourage repeat buying by means of cashback & reward system. We've already launched the same on Couponraja and getting a good response for the same. On Couponraja, we also have 'Hola' page which is one of its kind social networks to share popular Coupons and Offers. Users who create their Hola Page can follow other users, like online and local offers. Every user can score points for various activities and gets rewarded for the same. We'll soon introduce the loyalty program on Compareraja but maybe in a different format keeping in mind the higher ticket size as compared to Couponraja.

So when you look back, how has your growth story been so far?

The growth over the last couple of years has been massive, but we feel that this is just the start. We have drawn on our learnings from mature markets in Europe and adapted them to the Indian market. We are now profitable and growing. We have built an excellent team that is hungry to grow even more, and we will be flexible to pick up on any new growth opportunities that might come up.

Where do you see going from here, both for Couponraja and Compareraja?

Together (coupon & compare), we aim to be the leading one-stop savings destination for online shoppers providing them with smart experience that helps them save money as well as time while shopping across platforms i.e. desktop site, mobile site, mobile apps and browser extension. The two sites will have deeper cross-platform integration to achieve this aim.