Though e-commerce has become a way of life in India, the sector is also going through its share of ups and downs. Even as big retailers like Flipkart and Myntra continue to grab headlines, there are some like Buyt, which are working silently behind-the-scenes. Buyt, a year old search comparison engine, which helps customers find the best deal among the various e-commerce sites, has turned profitable and clocks an average of 1,500 transactions per day.
Buyt is among the few comparison sites that offers information across categories. It is not just limited to electronics or laptops, but they also provide information on apparel, shoes and home décor — the whole gamut. Next is the accuracy of data they provide to the customer. Buyt has built a proprietary algorithm that keeps updating product information on the site every hour or so. “A lot of times you click on a product because of the price you see, and then when you reach the purchase screen, the price has changed. But our algorithm ensures you see the actual purchase price of products all the time,” explains co-founder, Simran J Singh.
Buyt has also integrated product information with coupon information of the site. Once a customer has selected a product he wants to buy, the site gives the buyer information on discounts and coupons on the said product. This enables customers to get the best deals on a product at a single location, rather than checking out different sites.
Another interesting feature that the search engine has built is the ability to perform generic search on it. “Just like you can type anything on Google and get results, we allow customers to do the same,” says Simran. If you have seen a red bed sheet with orange sequins somewhere and want to buy the product, you can simply type ‘red bed sheet with orange sequins’ on Buyt and be assured of finding a result. While they have worked hard on the algorithm to help them do this, Simran says they are continuously refining the algorithm to be cutting edge.
Buyt is also among the handful of search engines which allows customers to perform voice-based searches. No problem if you don’t want to type the information, you can do a voice search for a ‘red bed sheet with orange sequins’.
“When we launched we were a me-too comparison search engine, but now we have many differentiators and more specific things to offer customers,” says Simran.
Partnerships and support
Besides working on their own algorithm, Buyt has also adopted the partnership route to hit the numbers. As they are tied down by the confidentially agreement with partners, they cannot reveal their names. However, Simran says, “At the backend we have traffic coming from two sources, one is the organic traffic we get and the other is the tie-up we have done with three leading US and European comparison and search engines which helps drive traffic,” he says. These tie-ups help Buyt get 80,000 – 100,000 visitors a day and helps them do approximately 1,500 transactions daily. The Google Shopping Festival helped raise this number to almost double during the period of the festival. The startup will hit revenues of seven figure US dollars this year, while the total worth of products they sell is more than $10 million.
Buyt’s has entered into partnerships with Santa Clara-based world’s number one browser extension for comparison shopping, Isreal’s largest comparison shopping engine and the world’s largest website monetization company based in San Francisco. Simran says the numbers he has shared have been verified by independent third party auditors like OMG, Tyroo and Komli Media. “Partnerships have helped a lot. Our partners are much larger in scale and really know how to drive traffic. Along with the accuracy of data that we provide, we have been using their ability to drive traffic too,” he says.
Apart from external partnerships, Simran says their internal SEO team has been working hard to bring in the numbers. Word-of-mouth has been another aid to boost sales. 95% of the site’s traffic comes from India today. They are also in the process of developing a mobile app, that Simran says “will revolutionize the mobile commerce space in India.”
Buyt also has a strategic investor in Valuefirst – an advertising and marketing firm based in Gurgaon. Besides providing capital, Valuefirst also helps Buyt with their social media marketing and website re-design efforts.
Long term view
While there is enough to keep them going at the current pace, Simran says they are constantly evaluating new revenue streams, and their partnership with the Santa Clara-based entity will help further monetize their site through intelligent contextual marketing.
The other big focus for Buyt is the optimum utilization of their copyrighted algorithm, and one way to do that would be through their expansion into SE Asia and Middle East. When they expand internationally, it will be through local presence and tie-ups with local retailers. A local team which understands the nuances of the local market better will also be brought on board, says Simran. Buyt is looking to raise its second round of funding to help achieve its international ambitions.