Archive for the 'Startup' Category

E-Commerce 2.0 – Deal Sites in India and their Future

Over last 2 years one has seen lot of Deal sites come up and be at forefront of the new E-Commerce revolution, to name a few snapdeal.com, dealsandyou.com,sosasta.com(Groupon India venture),mydala, taggle, koovs, bindaasbargain, dealivore among many others.

Many have raised the question on the business model of the deal sites questioning the need for a crowd sourcing/group buying models ability to gather scale in Indian market scenario. From Indian E-commerce successful measurement metrics of doing 1000 transaction/day being a yardstick for a model to survive one sees atleast top 3-4 players already achieving the scale and going strong, though in how much time will they achieve 10,000 transactions per day to become a success is to be seen.  These models requires going hyper-local which means if you are in Delhi, you just dont need deals from South Delhi but actually go upto the level of providing deals in New Friends Colony. While having set that this space will have 2 different models of operations which will emerge out keeping in mind India scenario very similar to OTA space where we will have deal sites similar to Makemytrip.com model (One of my fav Indian E-commerce company) of the world focusing on end to end customer acquisition,servicing and value realization and other will be like Via focusing on being a platform b2b play, both the business models have their own merits and demerits with MMT model shown its worth will wait for Via model to prove its exit value.

While deal sites focus on going hyper local and expanding market beyond the traditional digital advertisers enabling SME’s to use power of Internet to scale customers we have seen lot of new E-commerce players coming in and building businesses using marketing reach of Deal sites.  Which brings us to the next part of the story on how Deal sites are going importance in the overall digital value chain by owning 3 important pieces required to build relevant e-commerce model in india

– E-commerce ready Audience

– Customer service

– Trust

1 out of 5 deals on deal sites being pushed are voucher codes for other e-commerce companies ranging from Letsbuy, HP snpafish to lensmart.com like niche players which shows how Deal sites are becoming an important quadrant in digital media planning and focus need to think e-commerce acquisition strategies around it.  Which proves that deal sites model shouldnt be considered a pure-play e-commerce but one with high media valuation.

In US and UK Voucher code strategies have been core for growth of e-commerce with large media houses running coupon code sites and meta search engines. One believes deal sites can play an important role by becoming a voucher code platform in parallel to deal a day concept which will help them in following ways

i) Generate content which will help improve SEO traffic

ii) Impact Organic traffic with people not satisfied with deal pipeline today still remain regular visitor and this acts like a strong retention strategy.

iii) Deploy parallel media revenue which goes straight to bottom-line and helps improve revenue in capital intensive business.

The deal sites will become central to e-commerce ecosystem as ebay was 3 years ago from where most of the current wave of e-commerce companies validated their business models by setting up ebay stores.  Deal sites are here to stay and there is enough room in market for multiple players.

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M-Commerce India – The Future & Challenges faced!!

For last couple of days have been doing lot of research on M-Commerce Models in India and lot of people have come to my rescue in making me understand perils imposed by government regulations restricting growth of e-commerce in india through mobile medium.

Best to my understanding all the existing M-Commerce model been adopted by players like M-Check, Obopay, Paymate etc require user to map a banking instrument like credit card, debit card, bank account etc to their mobile phone account and via an application installed on phone or through the provider concentrate on making payment instrument mobile enabled.

Although its a big leap from security point of you enabling people to start paying via the mobile phone WAP,SMS medium for various merchant services available though still such services have not reached a critical stage due to lot of factors like non-tie up with all the banks or people still not comfortable sharing credit/debit card account information etc.

Trying to understand with such stringent norms coming through TRAI guidelines making its mandatory to identify customers which are as stringent as required to open an saving account and get a debit card, it made me wonder telecom companies with their access and reach are in the best for forward integration into becoming a bank then other way around. If today i using my mobile phone account could start paying at merchants like credit cards or using pre-paid cards start buying stuff like vegetables etc, my bank usage for daily transaction would reduce significantly.

I am sure it may make you think why are people at telecom companies doing same though biggest barrier understood from various experts is the TRAI license fees calculation system which is approx 6% of annual gross revenue. So until unless you register as VAS provider with operator and clearly revenue parted is shown in books it will be still counted as net reciept revenue making the commerce business unviable as merchants wont be ready to pay for transactions around 7-8% where banks are charging between 2-4%.

Compliance to RBI banking norms is much simpler task for such telecom companies for handling banking, fraud transactions but the biggest barrier imposed by TRAI in terms of license fees need to be cleared.

The way around for now is to build MVAS application which can be charged to user account on service or tangible asset delivered for consumption on mobile device then its workable.  The TRAI Guideline paper(linked) actually doesn’t restrict telecom companies to use their platform to accept payments as when you clearly read 2.1.3(iv) it clearly states in case of M-commerce one needs to adhere to RBI guidelines where ever necessary and if you goto RBI guidelines(linked) it states clearly that these guidelines are for “BANKS” for dealing with customers via mobile as a medium, this still doesnt govern the telecom companies.

I  am talking to lot of telecom’s to get their views on same and will do a follow up post if see some success.

Health Startup Opportunity in Indian Market

For last couple of days had been trying to demystify the health space in India and found out most of the startups rising are targeting the B2C space where doctors are the businesses and connecting them with consumers. Though the space tend to be bigger but if you try to work out revenue per user and scale required to breakeven without the right money muscle power it makes it difficult to pull of the same.

Although a niche space not being explored and which can be scaled easily to other markets and have higher adoption by the doctors is to create a Doctors startup kit for independent practitioners which is primarily a vehicle for pharma and other medical device companies to reach out to smaller practitioners. The kit can take either of 2 directions

i)  Medical Journal Route where one discuss new happening,drug discovery and tries to push such information on regular basis, host webinars and conferences for doctors and takes care of sending free medical samples, garner feedback for medical companies etc. Help bring down cost of marketing for Pharma companies. The model is different from webmd.com which again concentrates on just the research information part but not concentrate on the business model for organizing free medical supplies and feedback loop from practitioners to Rx companies.

ii) Online Clinic Management Tools for doctors which help doctor use power of internet,mobile to manage patients their history etc free of cost again sponsored by Rx companies where access to patient data to pharma companies and doctors schedule help them push relevant diagnosis and suggestions of their products.

Rxvantage.com is another startup based out of US which has taken similar B2B route in the overcrowded B2C market and has great potential for growth if it clearly keep launching services which will enable doctor to keep moving more of his offline MIS online for more convienence.

Top 10 Business News Portals India

Lot of news sites exist in India but there are very few which concetrate on business news although all claim to be receiving relevant audiences.

These are the few which are my personal favourite and strong in terms of content and audience access

1. Livemint – Official website of Business newspaper in collabration between Wall Street Journal and HT in India. Their differential content from the newspaper does tend to attract the offline audience to their online pressence. A perfect example on how newspaper can always remain engaged with its audience and find ways to increase yield.

2. Economic Times– Online presence for India’s Leading Business and Finance News portal which is more of replicating point of information for all news covered in print.

3. Financialexpress.com – Really like the editorial quality and due to its inaccessiabilty on newstand makes it daily read for me

4. Business Today – One of the oldest business magazine in india from India Today Group. Covers quality content from the magazine and new effort being taken on adding web exclusive content is good.

5. Domain-b – Online Business magazine with no affilation to any print/TV or other forms of media. This shows in their effort to showcase information and act like a business infomediary then just a news coverage portal.

6. Business-Standard – One of the few Business News sites still investing in product innovations to help print readers have incentive for coming online.

7. The Hindu Business Line – Widely read newspaper from south, good quality coverage on industry development happening in southern indian states.

8. Outlook Business – Another print magazine which just went through revamp of web pressence. Just recently started following the content but higher coverage on government economic policies.

9. Businessworld.in – Better of the 3 business magazines portal covered in the list with growing relevant content and page views on comscore its a must ready for all business information seekers. The site has been modelled a  lot on business week online presence which is good from content coverage point of you for readers.

10. utvi.com – Could have covered this in Finance Portals but didnt feel the site made the mark. Hence adding it part of Business news portals.

These sites are in no ranking order

Top 10 Ad Networks in India

In continous effort to bring new top 10 countdown of things happening around. List of ad networks in no order

Google Ad Sense – Mother of all self serve ad networks with largest pool of impressions availables though effective on long tail, in effectiveness in guaranteeing delivery of impressions on particular publishers or tier-I and tier-II inventory is poor.

Tyroo Media – Largest Advertising Network which supports more than just display formats like Banner,Rich Media but offers innovative formats like E-Tickets,EDM’s(emailers) for advertisers. Strong Inventory channels – Finance, Technology, SMB,NRI Cricket, News, Regional Inventory. Supports all CPC,CPM,CPL Model. Yahoo funded company

Komli Media – Right Media Exchange Platform based ad network with ability to offer display formats like banners, rich media.Supports all CPC,CPM,CPL Model. Group also behind Pubmatic  which helps publisher select what network to run on which ad slot.

DGM – Affilate Management platform uses multiple formats for generating leads across advertiser categories using SEO,SEM, publishers and more than ad network competes with agencies

Ad Magnet – Ad network started by Interactive Avenues Digital Ad agency based out of Bombay. They are focusing on Display and recently were in news for launching Video ad format.

Ozone Media – Headquartered out of Bangalore has been using accipter for serving with major strength in News Channel Inventory.

Tribal Fusion -Global ad network with indian’s display arm reach. Blind in nature known to be strong on technology and news channel inventory.

Integrid Media – Full service publisher representation agency across digital and non digital format. Reseller for Axill and Ybrant digital international ad networks

AdRevenue – U.K Based ad network with focus on premium publisher Indian IP inventory. Business UK sites and gained traction by claiming first to offer linkedin in market.

Its good to see from 20 ad networks in 2008 starting we have seen only 10 ad networks survive or grade with 1 Network play missing which is more of a publisher representation business then a network. As a network is suppose to ad some kind of targeting or technology value to both advertiser and publisher – hence didnt make the grade.

(Please note these views are solely mine and have nothing to do with my employer and list has been generated for self reference)

Facebook – Social Media or E-Commerce Strategy Required!!

Everyday facebook seems to be attracting millions eye balls across continents with average time spent on site increasing every month they soon needed a business model which evolves facebook from just being something dependent on Advertising to something which is recession proof or a transaction based business model which would lead to creation of biggest  marketplace platform which will have 10X  the valuation which it presently command and will be a true ebay or amazon competition.

There are already test runs being done for a payment system similar to paypal which will be available for developers to integrate with facebook apps being developed. With its availability it will open a new world for individual or mom&pop stores to come up on facebook giving competition to big stores due to power of community which empowered ebay.

Imagine coming up with a simple app of creating custom t-shirts with photos or coffee mugs with same for fan clubs to buy online and retail through community pages on facebook. Other hand even complex mico finance lending apps can become real time why facebook with money sharing and management throught online platform.

Over years online book stores like amazon have tried to invest in building products which help bring trust and confidence in people on search results via people reviews of product, community building etc which has helped in generating signifcant return by increase in ARPU(Average return per user) and increased order sizes, Now image with network of trust already established among people on facebook it will take right e-commerce strategy to get product results the way it would work on setting up store on internet.

Today when people talk about social media strategy they talk about blogging, community sites, apps on social networking sites and how brand/product can be positioned or communicate with their audience through such medium. All RoI metrics which are shared are similar media measurement metrics, they still dont map to e-commerce goals or sales goals for the product. I strongly believe its just due to the fact communication manager or marketing manager is defining direction for usage of platform instead of E-commerce manager who should be working on creating apps and strategy to sell products via an online catalog by understanding user behaviour with the platform.

Possible applications

i) Event Ticket Retailing – With so much convience to manage invites for events among peer networks. First feature which can start to reap benefits would be events ticket retailing via facebook and like google long tail theory would apply where even person is able to sell 10 tickets in his network still due to M-M fundamental of people using the platform facebook will make lot of money.

ii) Dell Laptop store – Dell could have a laptop store on which people can customize type of laptops or desktops built over dell series host them on their profiles for other people to see as their recommended PC to buy and earn comission through promoting Dell product ofcourse with their knowledge guarantee in their network

iii) Alternate to Itunes– People recommended music can sell via hosted service similar to i-tunes probably catalog app developed by music companies.

These are couple of opportunities which will come for businesses more than that today professionals need to start investing time in understanding the platform and start looking it as a marketplace platform instead of communication platform.

Open to other people adding their comments on way they see facebook evolve. Though bottom line is I see facebook as the next killer e-commerce app!!

Impact of Text Ads as Ad Format for Publishers

Its been long debated that display vs text ads which are better performing ad formats where both formats proving their own merits and demirts for a publisher.

Before one dives straight into performance shown by each its important to look at factors which would impact selection of an ad format for a publisher

i) Size of the publisher – Lot of people feels this is not an important factor while debating between the two as one page site or multiple page site both can take advantage of text or display ads in their own way. Though I still feel its important factor impacting total revenue earned per page. Past data analysis has shown site with page views >5000 per day would benefit with implementation of text ads format as compared to display banner placement or fixed slot selling. This is based on things where number of text ads placement per page(if >3) which will get CTR >1% as compared to same number of display ads placed on the page will get higher CTR or result in higher eCPM

ii)Ad Placement – This is one of the key factor which will have highest impact on eCPM irrespective of the size of publisher as text ads give ability to  the publisher to place relevant advertisement in the relevant content to generate higher advertising RoI. Text Links as another text ad format has seen 7-11% CTR on average content.

iiii) Selection of Advertiser – If you are in hand of an contextual ad network then you can be safe but another advantage  text ads have over display advertisers is sheer number of advertisers using the format. Cost of development and design of display communication is 20x as compared to text ads which also acts like a barrier in number of advertiser using the format. Again ability to change text ads faster to blend into relevant content act as key enabler for increasing CTR of text ads.

iv) color and font of communication – As emphasis is on blending combined with placement this plays important role for improving CTR hence larger control for publisher as compared to display advertiser where control is with advertiser.

Though this post does look tilted towards text ads as preferred ad format purely from publisher point of you not advertiser as peoples reaction or intent is captured faster with text ads as a format and makes complete sense for publishers as more advertisers are looking to capture audience which would buy product then and their itself.

Display advertising does have higher impact in creating a brand and especially for products where higher consideration cycle for buyer is higher and internet is just used as medium of research.

Earlier google content network was the only option but with other text based advertiser options coming up like Microsoft PubCenter, Kontera etc and with google ad network optimization tool like Yieldbuild etc available publishers can start to find more value in monetizing inventory via multiple partners and understand their advertising inventory more.


Contact Details

E-mail:siddharthpuri@gmail.com Call Me :+91-9910444460
November 2017
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