Despite going through the tough task of rebranding from Groupon, Nearbuy witnessed 5x growth in just nine months and has been growing steadily since, something that wouldn’t have been possible without a solid strategy in place. In order to understand the growth strategy of the Gurgaon-based startup, we spoke to Ankur Warikoo, Co-founder and CEO of Nearbuy, at TechSparks 2016.
According to Ankur, the secret to growth in the online deal marketplace lies in engaging customers better and creatively expanding to the larger services sector. This coupled with a slow and steady rebranding exercise while keeping customers and stakeholders engaged has helped Nearbuy tread its growth path.
The problem with the online deal marketplace is that a customer experiences the final service in the presence of the merchant and not the marketplace. A customer may buy a restaurant or spa voucher, but ultimately goes to the merchant’s premises to experience it. This, according to Ankur, is the critical bit. “The customer is the single biggest things that impacts us, both positively and negatively,” he says.
To ensure better customer retention and experience, a dedicated team works continuously with the merchants to ensure that the customers are happy. Taking continuous feedback from customers is equally important. According to Ankur,
“I personally get about 180–220 customer emails daily. I either reply to all of them personally or add a team member in the conversation to take them ahead. Most of the feedback, thankfully, is positive. Some of them are about bad experiences with a merchant, which we instantly react to.”
Going beyond deals
“No one says we are going to eat out because there is a discount. People are going to eat out irrespective of the deals we offer. If we buckle down to deals alone, we are not going to see a big market,” says Ankur. Admitting that deals do not change people’s lives and behaviour, Ankur has a clear vision to target India’s $25-billion services industry.
Nearbuy, since its rebranding, has not targeted the deals space alone, but is expanding to tap the country’s services industry. Food and beverages, spas and salons, movies and events, activities, amusement parks, and hotels are a huge marketplace that are yet to come online with their full potential. Discount or no discount here becomes secondary. Ankur adds,
“Not just from a content perspective, but India’s service sector has to come online and sell. We are building the technology that tells a business how many customers are nearby and at what price they must be selling to capture a given percentage of that customer base. This way, we are turning the tables.”