Delhi-based PriceMap aims to be the Google of off-line retailersAparajita Choudhury
Is online shopping really the best and cheapest option all the time? Have you ever discovered that a product you bought online at a huge discount is available at a much lower price at a local shop? PriceMap is here to give you answers, and to help you make smarter shopping decisions online. According to a joint study by Assocham and Grant Thornton, India will have 40 million online shoppers by 2016.
Suresh Kabra, an online shopaholic,once bought a laptop table from Snapdeal. Over the weekend, he visited Panchkuian market in Delhi, and was shocked to discover the same table from the same manufacturer being sold for 30 per centcheaper than what he paid. This incident led him to come up with a business idea and that is how PriceMap was born.
Currently operational in Delhi NCR, the startup has a team of 10 members including Co-founders Shishir Dubey and Basabjit Dey.
PriceMap is a mobile app that helps consumers compare the price of the products they buy online with brick-and-mortar stores in local markets,so they can enjoy better deals.
Launched in September 2015, PriceMap has more than 800 registered sellers across categories like watches, mobiles, footwear, home appliances, kitchen appliances, home audio-video, and digital cameras. The PriceMap Buyer app has witnessed close to 10,000 downloads in less than six weeks.
“It is the convenience that brings people to online shopping in the first place,so “what-if” we can bring the same convenience to brick-and-mortar retail? PriceMap was further validated by a Think With Google post, where Google,using customer surveys,found that 3 out of 4 shoppers actually prefer to buy from a local shop,” says Suresh Kabra, a serial entrepreneur whose last venture in the mobile video space was acquired in 2013.
Taking a closer look at the target market
PriceMap is all set to target the $600 billion retail business, which is still dominated by 12 million mom-and-pop stores, by increasing the footfall of buyers in physical stores.
Suresh mentions that online to offline commerce is not only bridging the gap between new-age online stores and traditional brick-and-mortar shops, but also acting as an instrument to rule out the general scepticismof shoppers while buying products online.Currently, the startup is bootstrapped,but it is in advanced talks with investors to raise seed funds.
He says, “The investors like the value proposition of PriceMap, which works for both online and off-line shoppers equally well.They view the venture as the “uber” of the O2O space.”
Convincing the retailers
Initially,PriceMap had to work very hard to gain retailers’trustbecause the notion of not being equal or better than online pricing made them unwilling to try something new. However, Suresh says with a big smile that once the retailers started using PriceMap, queries from buyers multiplied. Shopkeepers realised that they could compete equally if not better with online stores in terms of price competitiveness.With PriceMap, they can convert online customers into offline customers with zero IT investment or MIS integration.
Usage of App
Do you want to know how local shops are pricing something you want to buy online? It’s very simple. Share the link of the product you found online with the PriceMap app. Once shopkeepers receive the link, they respond to the customerwith the best deals they can offer on the same product.
Suresh says, “For sellers, PriceMap works on a real-time transactional basis. For mom-and-pop stores, there is no IT overhead of uploading pictures, product details, and inventories. For modern retail, there is no API integration required with backend systems.”
A sneak peek into the market
The growing acceptability of online shopping in India has given birth to a plethora of price comparison websites and apps in the recent past such as Junglee, MySmartPrice, PriceDekho, PricePanda, CompareRaja, Scandid, Grabon, and Smartprix.
Now, a handful of startups have also managed to draw the attention of many investors. Kolkata-based BuyHatke has raised $1 million in funding from Krish Gopalkrishnan and Japanese investment company BEENOS. Mobile-first savings discovery platform Scandid has raised funds from Micromax. Recently, Accel Partners invested $10 million in MySmartPrice in Series B funding.
PriceMap,despite being a new entrant in this overcrowded market,seemsto have made space for itself. By 2016, the startup aims to be across more than 30 product categories in the top 20 cities.
“In the next few years, PriceMap wants to be the “Google” of offline retailers, wherein a buyer can pick any product from any online site, e-commerce or company site, and check for its availability and price in the local market.We are targetting a topline of Rs. 100 crores in the next three years,” adds Suresh.