If you haven’t done your Raksha Bandhan shopping yet then let Shoffr take you around the best deals this season. This Shoffr we are referring to is a mobile app that tells you about the best deals you can lay your hands on in the shops around you. A web-rooming mobile app, Shoffr was released about a month back on Google Play, and the iOS and Windows versions are also in the offing.
YourStory caught up with the Founder to know the app better.
How is Shoffr different?
Abhishek Daddoo is the brains behind Shoffr, and he claims the app tells you about relevant deals in stores nearby, offers the shops have, location, direction to the shops and it can also help you to the extent of choosing the size and brand of the product the stores have to offer. Shoffr, however, is not the first of its kind product in the market and there are other startups like ApneAreaMein, Squeakee and Deals&You which are the other hyper local deal apps in the market.
However, Abhishek claims the differentiator is Shoffr’s ability to understand user behavior and then offer you the deals relevant at that point in time. “So if you have consumed a deal at CCD, then next time you are looking for a coffee deal we will serve the CCD deal before we show you an offer from Barista. So our USP is giving customer a specific deal, rather than serving them plain vanilla deals which anyone can do,” he explains.
To help identify the shop to the exact street and accurate location, Shoffr urges merchants that are listed on the app to geo-tag their outlets. “Shops being shown on our platform are better pin pointed than on any other platforms. If you search for CCD, then the shop location shown on other apps may or may not actually be the place. But when you see a shop on our map, you can be pretty sure that it is where the actual location of the shop would be,” claims Abhishek.
Merchants who are listed on Shoffr are given dashboards that they can operate at their store level. So the store manager can use the dashboard they give to put in the exact location of the store by logging in with their credentials and tagging the store.
While these two differentiators are not a big deal, Abhishek understands this and says he is banking on building a large customer base which will find the platform beneficial. Shoffr is also crowd-sourcing deals from across the country. So for example, if three users from three parts of the country send them the same deal, then they know that the said brand is in demand. Shoffr will then approach the brand to onboard them for the benefit of the customers. “Crowdsourcing will continue to be our philosophy, it’s one of the best ways to get customers involved,” explains Abhishek.
At present, Shoffr has 18,000 stores across 33 cities listed on the app and Abhishek says they have information on as much as 200+ brands on the app.
Abhishek has worked in technology, media and telecom space for over a decade in the US and Singapore markets before he decided to startup. “Having lived and worked abroad for over 12 years, every time I came back to India, I was frustrated about how complex a simple shopping expedition would become. Not being able to find exactly what I was looking for and not having information at my fingertips really bothered me. And search engines always pointed me to e-commerce portals,” he says.
This opportunity made Abhishek move back to India and startup GulakMaster, the earlier name for Shoffr. Abhishek started GulakMaster as an SMS service in December 2012, and people who were registered on it received information on offers in the form of push SMS. The moot point here was marketing the mobile number for people to register with, and that was an uphill task, and then a year later in December 2013 they realized that SMS was on its way out. The subsequent pivot turned GulakMaster into Shoffr – in its current avatar.
Abhishek started by bootstrapping and with some financial support from friends. Shoffr is currently on a lookout for investment to assist them in marketing and beefing up their backend. Shoffr is a 6-member team managing the affairs at the startup.
Shoffr relies on subscriptions to make money where customers pay a monthly subscription to get deals through the app. Once they have convinced brands that they are able to generate enough footfalls, Abhishek says they will also bring exclusive deals from brands direct to customers. If Shoffr manages to convince brands about the value they bring and the footfalls they generate, a per outlet subscription fee can also be charged to the brands. “The important part is to get exclusive deals and when that happens the generic deals of that brand will also get consumed well on our platform,” says Abhishek.
Abhishek claims they are not spending anything on marketing yet and are reliant on customers to spread the word. Shoffr now also has a shopping list and notifications feature, which allows users to specify brands/categories they want to shop for. “Once your shopping list is in place, if you are crossing a store with a relevant offer, Shoffr will automatically notify you about it. This is the first of its kind in India in the retail-tech segment,” he claims.
In its new avatar, the app has been downloaded over 300 times on Google Play, and Abhishek is confident of on-boarding the 120,000 users who were already registered on its earlier platform. How much success will Shoffr have with its plans remains to be seen. Abhishek admits they lost sometime moving from a desktop to mobile platform: “As a company, the riskiest thing we have done is to pivot late. If the market signs about the boom in mobile data had shown up earlier, we would have been much further in our trajectory by now. Smartphone penetration in India has shot up 3x fold in a matter of 6 months. This was not anticipated and caught us off-guard.”
You can download Shoffr here : http://bit.ly/shoffr