An excerpt from the interview:
What made you start your venture? When did you start it?
Ever since my business partner and I were roommates in US, we’ve been passionate about helping our friends find the best deal when shopping. In India, online shopping is still in an early stages. People have questions regarding reliability of stores, warranty, delivery times, where to find coupons etc. At the same time, offline retail is also booming in India.
As a result, people have plenty of choices when shopping. We thought it would be cool to take our hobby to the next level and build a service that could be useful to many more people outside of our circle of friends. So we decided to take the plunge and start Shoppingwish. We started the company in April 2012.
What is your business model?
We are an omni-channel shopping asisstant service. We have a website at shoppingwish.in and an Android app called Scandid that helps users in finding the best deals and coupons for products that they are looking to buy. We have an affiliate based revenue model – we make a commission out of all the transactions that happen on seller site from buyers referred from our site or our app.
Have your reached break-even? What has been the key to your business’s success?
So far, our focus has been to build the technology that powers the website and the app. We launched the website last year and we launched the app just last month. We are now working on scaling the number of users visiting our site and users downloading and using our app. Both the website and the app are performing very well and much better than our initial projections. In the coming months, we will break even as we continue to grow our userbase.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Our initial struggles were in finding the right product-market fit and building a team. To get there, initially, we worked on the product for a few months to refine the idea and figure out what value-add we could provide in the market. When it was time to expand the team, we reached out to people referred by our friends and people in our alumni network. After a few hiccups, we were lucky to find a team that is equally passionate about building Shoppingwish.
Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
Yes we have mentors in Silicon Valley and New York who have a lot of prior experience in mobile and Internet. They advise us from time to time on business matters.
Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We deploy a full open source technology stack that powers our website as well as the app. We also use CMS and project management tools such as Asana that are useful in streamlining day to day operations.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
For customer acquisition we focus on word-of-mouth, social media, SEO and email marketing. For customer satisfaction we do a detailed analysis of user activitiy on our website and app using tools such as Google Analytics and Flurry. We respond to each customer feedback personally and make sure their queries are answered. This helps us as happy customers spread the word and get us additional customers.
What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I think the top 3 skills required for an entrepreneur are perseverance, resourcefulness and ability to identify customer needs Looking for a great deal online? Visit http://shoppingwish.in Like them and spread the word on Facebook: ShoppingWish