In Conversation: CouponDunia
Like any other passionate shopper around the world, Sameer Parwani too looked for additional savings while online shopping. The simple yet elegant business model, where the shopper got savings and the online store got a sale and a customer, appealed to him.
The admiration was spontaneous and the value proposition was clear. It was then that Parwani came up with the idea of CouponDunia.
“I looked for markets with large populations that were still developing. I was looking for unsaturated markets and India seemed to fit the bill perfectly so India it was,” says Parwani, the founder and CEO of CouponDunia.
CouponDunia was started in December 2010 in Boston but running the site for India from the USA was getting difficult, which prompted Parwani to return to the country.
“It was virtually impossible to hire people and totally impossible to meet clients. Even calls were tough due to the time difference. I became virtually nocturnal to have as much time as possible to deal with clients. It then got to a point where it became clear that I needed to shift to India to allow CouponDunia to reach its full potential.”
But shifting to India was not so easy for someone who had never lived in the country before and whose last visit was back in 2004 and was unacquainted with the language.
“I didn’t speak Hindi so there were even cultural issues to overcome. But despite these issues, we did really well.”
Getting into the Indian market has its own challenges with much couponing, cashback and deal sites entering this fray recently like Cashkaro, Couponrani, Mydala, and many more.
“Every company has a different DNA, we believe we have built a great product/platform because offering cashback isn’t always a smooth process – the transaction happens on another site but must be tracked through us. There are competitors but what differentiates us from these websites is the quality and accuracy of our content,”says Parwani.
CouponDunia has recently announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind Premium Lifestyle Card named as “Quirk Card” in Bangalore. It has been specifically designed to cater to the lifestyle needs of the urban city dweller and offers exceptional Restaurant Privileges.
Priced at Rs 1,999 for a 6-month membership and Rs 2,999 for a 1-year membership, the card is an absolute steal, as the flat 25% off can be availed on both food & alcohol. The Quirk Card can be used on all days of the week and at all times of the day.
The monetization model of CouponDunia is quite simple. Merchants like Flipkart, Amazon etc pay a commission for every customer CouponDunia redirect on to their platform. As a cashback site, they share a part of that commission back with our users, helping them ‘earn’ while they shop.
After five years of successful operation, CouponDunia has now forayed into cashback. Parwani, however, sees this as a natural transition.
“The main aim is to be the pre-shopping destination that consumers visit before making any transaction online. This move brings us a step closer to that goal. We hope this revamped offering will present customers with a platform that will enable them to make smarter shopping decisions, and make shopping a rewarding experience.”
While couponing is a relatively new concept in India being introduced only a few years back, Parwani says it has gained widespread popularity in tandem with the burgeoning e-commerce market in India.
“Today every merchant, brand or seller is leveraging the power of couponing to garner more customers. Hence, the opportunity in India for couponing/cashback is huge.”
Parwani defines an entrepreneur as someone who takes bold risks. “One should be to analyse their offering well before placing it in the market & concentrate on building a robust product. I strongly believe the product is where it all begins and ends.”