“Have you ever thought of getting paid just for shopping at your favorite stores online?” - Vadodara based Entreprneur Rauf Saiyed on Cazbak in a conversation with YourStory.
Tell us about Cazbak.in.
Cazbak.in is a unique shopping rewards concept for the e-commerce industry in India. Cazbak is an online loyalty based website which redirects users to their intended retailer and in turn rewards them back with a certain amount of their spending as cash back. For example, if a user buys a watch worth Rs.1000 from a Cazbak partner store who is offering 5% cash back, the user gets Rs.50 as cash back from the store. Almost all major merchants and online retailers offer similar cash back discounts ranging from 3% to up to 20%. Once having enough funds accumulated in the account, a user can request the payment via check or Paypal. Cazbak India has 45+ online stores across India offering services in various categories like travel, health, insurance, telecom, apparels, jewelry, entertainment, electronics etc. In India, Cazbak is one of its kinds shopping rewards website which offers cash back rewards for almost all major online stores and helps users save money from their online purchases.
How did you come up with the idea? Why did you start this?
Seeing the exponentially growing Indian e-commerce industry, I realized the potential of this vast domain and the untapped market of affiliate marketing. There are a handful of websites in the USA and UK which works on similar business model. I was impressed by the idea and did some more research to realize that it can be very new and unique concept for the fast-ever-growing Indian e-commerce industry. Also there aren't too many strong competitors in the US market as well. Thus I gathered required technical expertise, designed the whole solution with some twists and uniqueness and started the development - which took almost 1.5 years. I am sure the idea will be widely accepted in India and will become a great one stop source to help Indian consumers save extra money.
How is Cazbak different from all the other discounts offering portals available in market right now? What is your competitive advantage?
In the US market, there are hardly 2-3 long-established portals offering similar cash back services which can be seen as a direct competition. The main advantage Cazbak will get over others is the low cost of development/maintenance and ability to provide equally prominent services. There also will be some unique ways to promote the website in order to get customers attention – like price comparison, gift card bonuses, Cazbak debit card etc. There is no strong competitor in the Indian market which provides cash back rewards to the online consumer base. Cazbak will probably be the first website of its kind enabling users to shop at all major online retailers and earn cash back. Further Cazbak will also add services like product and special offers, price comparison, cash back gift cards etc to enhance the service portfolio.Who are your competitors?
In US there are a few web portals offering similar kind of cash back rewards. Some do offer other services of coupons and products and some don't. Here are the websites which I know of. - Ebates.com, Fatwallet.com, Extrabux.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have done my B.Tech(IT) from S.P.University and completed my Masters in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. I worked as a Software Research Engineer in a telecom related firm in US. After completing my Masters in US and working there for two years, life became monotonous and I needed a change. Thus, in late 2008 I decided to move back to India and started my entrepreneurial journey with Epsilogic Technologies - which is an IT/ITES service provider firm. The company is two years old now and caters clientele from USA, UK, Canada and Dubai for their software/web development and maintenance needs.
What is your revenue model? How do you make money?
Cazbak has partnered with majority of online retailers and e-commerce websites. When a user gets redirected from Cazbak and makes a purchase with a participating store, the store pays commission to Cazbak. Instead of keeping all the commission, we return a major chunk of the earned money to the user who made the purchase. Our revenue model also includes online advertising of popular stores, affiliation with name brands and customized campaigns to promote their products.
Did you break even?
Where are you based? Tell us about your team.
The company is based out of Vadodara, Gujarat. Apart from me as a founder and BD person, rest of the team includes five people - A senior project manager, two experienced software developers and two design engineers.
How long have you been operational? What has been the growth rate since then?
We have been operational in India since last three months only. We have just started our marketing and branding campaigns and getting attention from users. We have reached 120 users in last month and expecting to grow rapidly once our branding campaigns gets active. So far, we haven't generated good revenues, but at least the numbers are not discouraging.
What are the biggest challenges you faced while starting up? Especially because this is such a crowded space, was it difficult to acquire first few customers?
One of the biggest challenges during start-up was to find a correct way to approach online merchants and get connected with them to offer cash back rewards. It took lot of research and months of efforts to find a correct way to get retailers and develop a system to connect Cazbak with hundreds of different online stores. Once the system is in place correctly, now we are facing another major issue of creating a brand value and acquiring a large and loyal customer base. It is not as easy to spread the word and make people aware as it seems. We are constantly doing research to find and develop unique ways to get attention and do something differently to showcase our services.
What are the market specific challenges?
Acquiring customer base and spreading the brand name.
Getting in touch with online retailers and merchants to partner with us.
Create attractive and lucrative campaigns to spread the word – Advertising and Marketing.
R&D to evaluate customer needs and create user friendly services.
Let us know your expansion plans.
We have launched websites in US and India. We are planning to add further services of Gift Card and Debit card payment services in the US market. In India we will add product and coupon catalog shortly. We are also exploring new ways and methods through which we can make payments to users.
Anything else you want to tell us.
Cazbak has also participated in some state and national level competitions as an Entrepreneurial debut. Also we are putting some serious proactive efforts to get VC funding for further development and branding of Cazbak in national and international markets.