In his TED talk on the paradox of choice, Barry Schwartz discusses how more choices have made us dissatisfied customers, paralyzed with the load of having to pick an option out of many, instead of turning us into happy customers who experience more freedom. When it comes to Internet buying, the information overload cannot get any worse.
This is where PriceJugaad.com could turn out to be your saviour and make your decisions simple for you.
Some of the best products in the e-commerce market are the ones that solve customer’s pain points. In April 2012, when Shiv Kumar Gupta and his team started IESoft Technologies, they decided to leverage their solid technological expertise and come up with a brilliant product. “Initially, to sustain the momentum and get funds, we executed service-based projects. Once we were comfortable and settled down, we rolled up our sleeves and got to our core objective, which was to build a product that played to our strengths,” says Shiv.
Pricejugaad.com was born after some heavy-duty brainstorming.
PriceJugaad helps a customer find the right product at the right price. Imagine that you want to buy a mobile phone. You would typically check out your favourite portals and look for the best price. This is the price comparison aspect. Sometimes, you are not even sure which phone to buy, so you would read customer reviews across sites to analyze the feedback. Now, one phone may have a better battery life, but not a preferred UI design. Another may have a cool UI, but the feedback on the camera isn’t great. Basically, you are trying to distil the feedback and do some subjective analysis in your head. This is where PriceJugaad comes in and does all the number crunching for you.
“There are other players in this market such as Buyhatke, Smartprix, MySmartPrice and PriceBaba, but we not only offer price comparison, but have taken it up a notch with product discovery and price analytics,”explains Shiv. Product discovery is about helping the customer find the right product by providing them sentimental analysis (a term that refers to data and trends collation on the web). This gives the end user a sense of the market vibe in a centralized place.
The data crawling does not just do a mere dump of all the reviews across portals, but it does intelligent reading of these reviews to understand if it’s a positive or a negative one. Scores are assigned based on the specifications and reviews of the product, making it simple and objective for the consumer. This way, PriceJugaad is able to offer a topic-wise sentiment analysis instead of dumping more data that might be useless to a buyer or might need more navigation.
Price analytics is another exciting feature for the enduser in which advanced statistical and stochastic algorithms help predict the product prices. So, if the phone you’re planning to buy might become cheaper over the next few days, this will predict it for you, so you can make an informed decision.
Shiv, with his solid data science background and 15 years of R&D experience in firms such as Motorala, Globallogic and Innominds, believes that this is a huge feature differentiator for PriceJugaad when compared to other players in the market. “The success of prediction gets better with more data gathered. Initially, the accuracy was low, but now, it has improved noticeably. We use tools like Big Data Analytics to facilitate this,” he says.
Shiv explains that the IESoft team in Hyderabad is excited by the technical opportunities and the innovation space they have been offered to work with. “We are also lucky to have investors who are not passive, but engage in frequent discussions and have become our extended execution team. This has been a great support in terms of strategy for us,” says Shiv. The angel funding round of Rs.1.1 crore was raised in April this year.
Susanta Misra, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus and ex-head of the software center of Motorola, Hyderabad, has been working with the team as a mentor.
At first, PriceJugaad was launched for the product category of books. “We understood that, especially in some segments, there is a high volume of products intersected by price conscious customers. Books were a great launchpad, since the large scale of online books buyers provided a good testable market for us,” explains Shiv. This has now been extended to include other segments like mobiles, tablets and cameras.
“We believe in a phased rollout since that has helped us gather incremental feedback. For example, when we launched, we received suggestions to make our UI design modern and we did tweaks based on the feedback,” shares Shiv.
Future plans sound exciting with integration plans for local stores and used products in the pipeline. Other product categories such as fashion, kids’ accessories, and home and kitchen appliances are expected to be made available too. In a short period of time, PriceJugaad has gained 1,000 users per day with minimal marketing efforts. Last year, the company booked revenue of Rs.50 lakh. This year, the marketing campaign is geared up to give the revenue and user base a significant boost.