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Entrepreneur Manish Tewari on why Groupon kind of models won't work in India

Team YS
6th Apr 2011
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YourStory exclusive with Manish Tewari, founder of Koovs.com, on group buying arena in India and why a Groupon replica based on services alone will not work in India.

Here are a few pointers from the conversation with Manish;

Multiple verticals, services and products at prices seemingly unmatched by the Industry pioneers, certainly Koovs.com(http://www.koovs.com/) is headed the right way. But will it reach there with such thin margins which is a fall out of offering heavy discounted deals. Answering this and why Koovs.com is Koovs Marketing and Consulting CEO, Manish Tewari.

Koovs.com, which started out as a Group buying portal for services alone, catering to a select cities is now reaching out to the entire country by offering a range of lowest priced and heavily discounted electronics and apparels.


The Indian group buying arena is undergoing a visible yet slow transformation from offering discounts for service categories like Beauty, Health, and Dining to the inclusion of products from popular categories like computer peripherals, electronics and apparels. The race to become a one stop shop for all services and products is on.


Call it umbrella strategy or what you may, this sudden shift in strategy was expected to dawn upon the players as the Indian e-commerce stage was still not ripe enough for a full throttle Groupon replica to be based on services alone and make enough moolah to appear under the shopping radar of Google or Groupon itself. And why not, some may ask, as Groupon itself, has offered certain product based deals every now and then.


If we go by the recent trend, one will see that the top three Indian group buying websites have started offering lifestyle and necessity but predominantly electronic products. " It had to be and we realized and worked on this reality long before anyone else did”, says Manish Tewari, CEO, Koovs.com. We knew when we set out that our growth goals will not be satisfied by offering services based deals alone, as it is restricted to tier one cities only. More so, featuring services based deals is manpower intensive and the ROI doesn’t justify the effort."

While other deal sites are featuring a few products every now and then, Koovs.com, which earlier dedicated a section of its page to products, has already launched its products shop a few days ago. Manish recalls, "Our traffic has increased manifolds and revenues jumped since the launch of the shop and why not as now we reach to an all India customer base and cater to demand earlier inaccessible to us”, says Manish.


The Koovs shop will initially focus three product verticals; Computer accessories and peripherals, apparels and cell phones. The first category is available in the shop while the other two will be up in a matter of few days.


With Ebay and Rediff; dominant product based e-commerce players entering services based deals market, it makes sense to nibble their product based market share with this move by the Group Buying players.


The road certainly looks promising for Koovs; a player of this size competing with the industry giants, who has smartly kept its operating costs low and offers at par and better.

A word of caution though, "Its getting too crowded out there". But these guys will ride along to pocket, even if a slice, of the estimated 440 billion dollar Indian e-commerce market by 2014.

You can also reach Manish at manish@koovs.com

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