Vikas Rathee was happy when his wife gifted him a Samsung mobile on his birthday. However, his happiness didn't last long when he realised his wife had paid an excess of Rs 1000for the handset. Online, he was shocked to find different rates on six different websites for the same handset.
After searching for price comparison sites, he could only find websites that provided price comparison for specific products. There were websites that compared prices of books, electronic equipments, or ones that showed information from all categories, but not from all websites. Vikash decided to solve these problems by creating a price intelligence engine.
Vikash started PriceTree, a platform for shoppers and retailers to help find the best prices online. The platform also helps retailers monitor their prices and the prices of their competitors. It supports a wide range of products, including cellphones, cameras, books and home appliances. It also helps users find the cheapest prices online and offline. Vikash started by launching a widget for blogs to drive context-based advertising for affiliate sites. He claims over 150 tech bloggers have used his widget to increase their advertising revenues by 800 per cent.
Vikash coded the entire platform by himself. And it’s great to see the list of features they’ve come up with. He says, "Sometimes it took the entire day to code a module, and StackOverFlow was my mentor.It played a seniordeveloper role to ‘plant’PriceTree.Finally, we were ready to launch in July 2014."
Apart from the widget,they’ve also come up with an open source price comparison api for developers’ community and retailers to integrate price comparison data with their website, app or tools. They’ve launched an offline local store locator to find electronics, appliances, books and other stores to help shoppers find nearby stores. At present, they have around 12,000+ offline stores listed on their website for different categories.
PriceTree has come up with a bookmarklet that compares the product prices from Flipkart against more than 2000 other online stores. It suggests whether you should buy from them or a cheaper alternative, if available. Vikash says the reason they came up with the bookmark instead of a browser extension, which are device-specific, is that it works with all devices.
Vikash says, "Before we started working on price comparison models, we were doing market research to find what percentage of people influence their buying decision by price comparison.We found Statista "Shopping Cart Abandonment" report, where it was found that 36 per cent of users leave e-commerce websites without buying, because they find a better price elsewhere.
“Let me give a quick example. If Flipkart is currently making $65,000/mo in online revenue from electronics products and could turn just 25 per cent of those abandoned orders into sales, they could make an extra $16,250 each year with thebrand value to have lowest price in competitive markets."
Talking about future plans, Vikash says he’slooking at growth;his focus is on team building and hiring. They have openings for content writer, data analyst, SEO analyst, mobile app developer and international sales leader (US only) roles among other positions.