Rohit Sethi, Founder, ApnaCashback
“The Cash Back Advantage”
If Entrepreneurship is a battle then the discount and retail segment is definitely the gladiatorial coliseum. With so many gladiators/competitors flaunting almost the same wares, the difference between success and the graveyard of bankruptcy comes down to the individual skills of the entrepreneur.
Rohit Sethi is the young entrepreneur who believes that his venture “ApnaCashback” will make the cut and offers his reasoning saying “ApnaCashBack.com is a consumer centric website dedicated to offer best deals, discounts and cash back on wide range of products and services. ApnaCashBack is not a seller by itself, but partners with some of the leading brands and merchants in India.”
“The name “ApnaCashBack” sums up what the website offers, it brings your cash back to you.”
“ApnaCashBack caters to online retail segment in India where online shopping is probably in its nascent stages. Having said that, it is probably the fastest growing segment and our website potentially covers all consumers who buy Air tickets, gifts, flowers, electronics etc. from the most popular and reliable retailers who offer products online.”
Rohit made it clear that despite being in an arena where many seem to be selling and hawking similar offers, “ApnaCashBack” is the only one which has any real advantage for the consumer.
“There are lots of comparison websites which allow users to compare various products through the website, but unfortunately does not provide any significant advantage when it comes down to money! Apnacashback.com gives an opportunity to consumers to get some of their cash back on purchases that they were going to buy anyways! In this rough time when people are saving every little they can, this surely is a welcoming opportunity for them!”
“Other than this we offer a platform where customers can rate their purchase and provide feedback. This helps other users as well.”
Rohit believes that the future for online shopping is very bright in India and is preparing for the coming flood of online customers. He says “Online selling in India has been slow in picking up but today we have hundreds and thousands of Indian and International brands who are offering wide range of products and services. As online selling gets aggressive and competitive it offers lots of benefits to the consumers in terms of discounts, coupons and giving cash to consumers on purchases.”
“But consumer’s needs to know who is offering the best discounts and is adding value to their purchase. That’s where ApnaCashBack comes in, bringing merchants offering a wide range of products and services in one place, giving customers more options to choose and compare from.”
“In US and other European Countries, Cash back and other deal websites help to increase traffic and leads to the merchant’s website. Especially in this time of credit crunch, this market has evolved tremendously. Indian markets are also slowly following the same pattern. Consumers would research more and would look out for best deals available, and ApnaCashBack is out to help them in their savings.”
The choice to immerse himself in his own ideas and become an entrepreneur was something that Rohit had to do to be happy. He says “I guess it’s more of a personal choice than anything else. Either you are happy doing what you are doing or you are not. I never had anything planned out as to what I wanted to do with my life and was pretty much happy in a 9-5 job and one day I was not anymore! I guess it’s a slow, painstaking, transitioning phase when you move towards doing something of your own. With all the other commitments in life it’s very difficult to just give up suddenly a good paying job and try to live without a “regular salary”. I’m still in the transition phase.”
“We have had our share of hurdles, its part and parcel of the whole new business setup. We had smooth sailing in a few areas, but some challenges did add some fun. We are in an industry that’s still evolving in India. Many understand what we do and offer, but many don’t. Defining the right kind of strategy that would work with Indian audience, choosing the brands and merchants that we would like to partner with. All these were key decisions which were taken during the initial setup.”
“Marketing and educating user is another one big hurdle that we marked as an ongoing activity.”
Initially Rohit made a few mistakes in his planning or lack of it. He chalks it up to experience and says “Assumed too much and lack of planning. To be fair I didn’t have access to lot of market information to start off with. Googled day in and day out but it’s not the same as talking to a successful entrepreneur face to face over a beer and trying to understand the issues which might come along. I have made countless mistakes but the good thing is I’m making a note of them so that I don’t repeat them!”
“It’s quite difficult to point a single key challenge when there is nothing else to entrepreneurship! Its starts right at the beginning when you are seeking funding for your venture and then pretty much every day. Having conviction in your idea is the main thing. If you can hold on that, then everything seems easy! Just kidding!”
The challenges that entrepreneurship throws your way can make even the strongest individual crack. Rohit confesses to feeling despondent at times and says “Get that feeling all the time! I mean there are days when you are low and things are not moving that fast as you would like but I think expecting that in the first place is not very practical. You don’t get new ideas everyday and even a small change you make to your website can take a while before you start seeing results from it, which can be very frustrating at times. But in totality, it’s all fun, even better when you see some good results coming out”
He believes that his journey as an entrepreneur has changed how he sees his own life and the world around him. He explains his outlook saying “It definitely changes many things. It requires all the more hard work, thinking and dedication. Some things have to be kept on the back burner sometimes, but then good results add all the fun to the spirit. I am lucky to have a strong family who supports me through my venture and enjoy the milestones that I achieve.”
Rohit does not have any words of advice or experience but offered some wise words which he once received himself. He says “If you can tell user in one eye span what he is looking at, you have done your work. This advice was specifically for our website, apnacashback.com, and I believe we have worked on it and we provide such a user experience.”
Yourstory wishes Rohit luck in skillfully maneuvering through the world he has chosen. We hope to see him establish “ApnaCashBack” as a major retail discount player and see them grow bigger and better with time.