Mumbai startup Coinbazaar is aiming to strike gold by encouraging India to shop for bullion online
Indians love their gold and silver. From the larger-than-life weddings to simple housewarming ceremonies, gold and silver are always a part of every celebration. Interestingly, Indians see gold and silver as “investments”.
“There would hardly be a household in urban India who wouldn't have gold or silver coins at their home once they start saving,” says Priyesh Shah, the 36-year-old Founder of Mumbai-based Coinbazaar.
Founded in October 2012, CoinBazaar is a curator and aggregator of various Indian bullion brands. It also offers precious coins from various mints across the globe. CoinBazaar is the only platform in India working on transparent live pricing for precious coins and bars.
CoinBazaar's concept is simple: why go out and struggle to get the best deal when you can buy gold and silver at the click of your mouse?
The founders of Coinbazaar tell YourStory why they started up in this niche market:
The golden team
"The fact that there was no specific platform who could give variety of options at transparent rates led to the beginning of Coinbazaar. We are addressing the need to help India shop for bullion as conveniently as they shop for other products online," Priyesh says.
Priyesh, a chartered accountant, worked as the Chief Financial Planner at SRE Financial Planners before starting up Coinbazaar.
His co-founder and childhood friend, Pankaj Jain, 36, comes from a family of jewellers. He has worked with Infosys as the Technology Lead in various domains.
The third co-founder, Rakesh Jain, 36, worked with Tata Consultancy Services for seven years before starting Coinbazaar.
The total team strength of the bootstrapped startup is 10 at present.
“Mumbai's Zaveri Bazaar or jewellers market is one of the most trusted. We are looking at a bullion market with the same level of trust and transparency for people across India,” Priyesh says.
Coinbazaar's range of coins includes religious, festival, specific days, occasions, collector coins, and more. They offer more than 1,200 varieties of precious coins and bars, the rates of which are updated every 15 minutes.
Coinbazaar allows complete personalisation in terms of messages on coin, branding and packaging.
“We are not a ‘me-too’ company where we could learn from the experience and expertise of an existing company,” Priyesh says.
Starting up in a niche sector came with its own set of challenges.
Gaining the trust of customers was the first big challenge for Coinbazaar. They overcame this by having only premium bullion brands, showcasing Bureau of Indian Standards listed and Hallmarked products that come with certificates and secured packing.
CoinBazaar also has certification from MMTC-PAMP.
“Unlike other marketplaces we have complete control over the product being dispatched,” Priyesh says.
This ensures 100 percent trust in the product being shipped, and has resulted in building a customer base across the country.
"Logistics was a big challenge for us. However, over a period of time we have improved our packaging and tied up with precious metal handling companies for safe logistics," he adds.
Coinbazaar has tied up with BVC Logistics, BlueDart, and Ecom Express. “Changing the traditional mentality of buying from the local jeweller to riding the ecommerce wave, Coinbazaar has come a long way,” Priyesh says.
Coinbazaar works on a mix of real-time inventory and ready inventory model. While most of their clients make online payments, CoinBazaar offers a cash-on-delivery facility for orders up to Rs 30,000.
Coinbazaar initially managed to rotate stock with the help from family.
“Bullion is a slim margin business and we have been able to keep our costs low to ensure sustainable growth," Priyesh says.
Currently, Coinbazaar has more than 10,000 regular clients. The annual average of unique visitors on their website is more than 10 lakh and the number has been growing 20 percent year on year.
According to Priyesh, the growth rate has been 150 percent over the last two years. “Digital India initiatives like UPI, BHIM, and PayTM coupled with the exponential growth of smartphones in Tier II and III cities have let people shop for coins easily online,” Priyesh says.
Metro cities are responsible for 70 percent of the startup’s revenues, with Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Pune being the top five cities from where Coinbazaar gets its orders.
“We have been getting a lot of traction from Hyderabad, Jaipur, Chennai, and Lucknow,” Priyesh says.
The B2B stream generates 20 percent while B2C generates 80 percent of revenue. They serve B2B clients in the FMCG, paints, cement, finance, pharma, and online gaming industries.
All that glitters
Coinbazaar competes with big ecommerce players such as Amazon and Flipkart who also sell precious coins. “However, they do not have the variety and price that we offer,” Priyesh says.
Coinbazaar's live updates on the price fluctuation of more than 1,200 products help them compete with Flipkart and Amazon, in terms of pricing. "eBay India was good competition as it used to allow anyone to sell precious coins, which resulted in healthy competition. However, after Flipkart took over eBay India, it decided to shut it down. That was a big business booster for us,” Priyesh says.
The future is shining
This financial year, Coinbazaar is planning to scale up operations and raise angel funding to kick-start expansion plans.
“We are looking at adding digital gold as well, which will grow our client base,” Priyesh says.
Coinbazaar also has an Android and iOS application on the cards for daily price check and will soon allow its customers to opt for Systematic Investment Plan (SIPs) for gold and silver coins.