“The Guru of Discount”
The search for a great deal ends now, or at least if Nitin Gupta Amit Kumar Sharma and Anurag Aggarwal have their way it shall end for most shoppers with “Khojguru”. These three entrepreneurs have taken the concept of bargain shopping to a different level with their offerings coming typically from high end companies. The threesome told us what Khojguru is and how their entrepreneurial journey has been so far.
“We help our users save money. We do that by providing attractive discount coupons from leading brands and retailers across categories (which are relevant for our target audience). These brands and retailers can be both physical outlets and online stores. Some of our popular coupons include:
Yatra: Rs 200 Off on every flight ticket
Colorplus: Flat 25% Off
Dominos: 20% Off
Bharti Taneja Alps : Rs 250 Off on bill of 300
VLCC: Get services worth Rs 2500 for only 499 etc.
John Players: Rs 250 Off on bill of 1000”
“We have more than 125 partners as of today. Users can simply log onto www.khojguru.com and get the coupons as an SMS on their mobile or take a print-out of the coupons and present them at the store. Coupons for online stores are promotion codes which can be entered at the time of checkout to avail the discount... SMS coupons are also available on the move and can be accessed by sending a SMS saying Khojguru <brand name> to 575758”
“Coupon are a relatively new concept in India and are done in a very scattered way – one gets coupons/offers with the credit card, telephone bills etc. However, most of these coupons have hidden terms and conditions. Further, these discounts/offers are restrictive and available only periodically. Therefore, the usage of such coupons/offers is low. Our attempt is to make a destination where users come in because they know they will find a relevant coupon and they can access this platform any time, anywhere.”
“Coupons work effectively only for organized retail (brands, restaurants etc) because in unorganized retail coupons lose effectiveness since a lot of negotiation takes place. In organized retail, you will not get access to these offers if you do not have the coupon.
Additionally, we also aggregate different sales and promotions going on at different brands and retailers since users are also interested in such information if aggregated at one place.”
Their website has certainly been living upto its name and many people believe that Khojguru is the best search site for discounts. The trio says “We currently have a traffic of over 200,000 visitors/month. These visitors come in to view our coupons and to view the sales/promotions going on at different places. More than 9,000 coupons were downloaded last month from users of Delhi-NCR. And we have just started to scratch the surface. To measure the potential of such a service, anybody who buys a branded shirt or visits a restaurant or orders a pizza or buy branded FMCG products or buys books or buys gifts or travels on holidays or uses a beauty salon can benefit from this service. We now have hard core users on the website, who decide their outing every weekend on the basis of the coupons available on Khojguru.”
Their site has been making rapid strides and there are no secrets to their success, only good business practices. The trio outlined the habits that have helped them saying “Relationship with retailers. We have deep relationship with the retailers and we are able to source good coupons from them because we have a commitment towards delivering them value. While there are a dozen players who approach retailers/brands for discounts right from Credit cards, telecom operators to new startups – however, most of them do that to provide an additional benefit to their users. Since it is not their core service, they can not commit value to the retailer. Our commitment is to show value to the retailer and therefore we enjoy deeper and better relationship with them.”
“Customer Service to the user: Since this is a new concept therefore we have to educate the customer and retailer both. Every coupon carries a 24 hour help line number for the benefit of the customer and any issue is resolved within 15 minutes. We always work to delight the customer and have redeemed their whole bills if their offers were not honored.”
“Breadth and Depth of service. Every consumer has different needs, lives in different geography etc. Therefore covering a large breadth in terms of coverage area, decent options to choose from is extremely important. The more partners we have the better we become.”
“Our business model is simple. We drive business and footfalls for retailers and we get paid. At the same time, there is a real saving for the user which was not possible otherwise. So the user is willing to share a part of the saving with us.”
Their system of getting their product visible and in common parlance relies heavily on new age know-how. They revealed their ways saying “We are using technology to distribute our coupons i.e. internet and mobile. Therefore it becomes very easy to scale up the business as the technology platforms that we have developed are highly scalable and that too in a very short period of time.”
They believe that as Indian entrepreneurs we must take care to be unbiased in our thinking, they explained how it can lead one astray saying “Getting too influenced by American business model and trying to replicate them here. This results in wrong assumptions and waste of time/money.”
The three entrepreneurs have different circumstances that led them to their present vocation but are candid about the unifying factor behind their partnership. They revealed what glues them together saying “The primary reason is money. All three of us co-founders have a fantastic pedigree and will do well in our respective jobs. However, we think we can make several multiples of that and entrepreneurship allows us to give a decent shot at making that happen. Of course, it also has a high associated with it when you achieve your goals, make things happen and create jobs.”
Their work and ideas seem to have caught on with a staggering 10,000 coupons downloaded in November. The trio told us what kept them going when the going has been tough saying “We get more than a dozen emails from our users everyday thanking us for the money they have saved! We also work with some NGOs and have helped them raise money though Khojguru. They have recognized us for the same on their website: http://www.milaan.in/
Because it’s a roller coaster and we are making significant progress every month. The lows are battled because we know we will make it happen.”
Their plans for the coming years are simple yet elegant; they spoke of what they are going to orchestrate saying “We want to create ongoing promotions for offline and online outlets. Coupons are one such example. We have few more products planned. We want to be the biggest aggregator of all offline and online promotions at one place so that whenever people have to buy anything, they first visit Khojguru because they can save some money.”
The three entrepreneurs have made good progress with Khojguru and are on their way to making their dreams come true. They reflected on their experiences and advised their peers saying “Believe in what you are doing and hang on, it takes time. Work hard towards monetizing your services/products as soon as possible. Don’t delay or don’t wait for the huge user base to happen before you can start doing it.”
The three entrepreneurs Nitin, Amit and Anurag have what it takes to be successful in their arena. We wish that they grow in knowledge and fortune with each passing day that brings their dreams closer to them.