Startup City Magazine

Scope & Scale of Indian Coupon Industry in the Age of Online Expansion

By Ashok Reddy, Founder & CEO, GrabOn

Ashok Reddy, Founder & CEO, GrabOn

Headquartered in Hyderabad, GrabOn is the leading couponing space in India. Aiming to provide more value to the customers through technological innovation, the entity provides exciting offers & deals.

Indians take pride in their negotiation and bargaining skills and quite rightly so! Naturally, online shopping isn’t an exception to this rule. Boasting the second biggest internet user base, the e-commerce scene in India is witnessing a fast overhaul to become the biggest market in entire Asia Pacific region. With new merchants in different categories setting up shops every day, there exists the scope for coupons, for ways to help the average online shopper save money. As such the couponing industry in India is more than just living up to its expectations.

Few years back the concept of an industry solely dependent on coupon sales would be scoffed at. We have indeed come a long way from then. The coupon industry in the west is a well-established money churning machine. Needless to say billion dollar companies are a plenty in the sector. However, the market is getting saturated, evident from the expected 3.6 percent increase in U.S. couponing space in the year 2016, while the couponing industry in India was expected to rise by a massive 500 percent. This can be attributed to the ever expanding e-commerce market, wider internet user base and the audience still coming to grips with online shopping, deals and offers.

India coupon sector is ripe for the taking but underestimate the competition at your own risk. During the last fiscal year, the number of coupon and deals website in India was recorded at 150 and growing. Overcrowding is an issue that needs to be dealt with. You need to be innovative, come up with new ideas and offer better couponing service if you want to survive and make it big. Going by the Forrester report, 2012-2016 is set to be the period of maximum growth with the industry expected to scale up by an annual 57 percent. This indicates that the scope is very much out there but in an extremely competitive set up. This is where innovation and technological advancement is so very crucial.

  • Online marketers have long been targeting the search engines to suit their purpose of driving traffic to their pages, gaining visibility and building a better brand memory and image. Once the trust factor sets in, the brand faithful will flock to these sites seeking discounts & deals thus pushing the coupon sales and overall revenue up.
  • Exclusivity is another area which is making quite some noise. In a bid to ensure regular consumer visit to their site, Coupon companies are tying up with various sellers offering the consumers unique and exclusive coupons. This in turn is circulated among the said consumer’s circle of friends and family bringing in more consumers.  
  • With an estimated 204.1 million smartphone users as of 2016, e-commerce and coupon sites alike are switching to mobile apps and improving their current version to a more mobile responsive one. This is no longer a choice whether you want to go for a mobile responsive version or not. No, this is an absolute must-have especially now, as the number of users redeeming coupons on their smartphones is increasing every second with no signs of slowing down.
  • In a sector like couponing and deals, you tend to generate a lot of data, day in and day out. What you do with that data will determine the course your company takes. Analyzing the obtained data is of paramount importance as it provides you insights about consumer preferences, coupons used and redeemed value addition and complete user experience of your website. Followed by this analysis you can work towards improving your website accordingly.
  • Finding a company that doesn’t use social media as promotional tool is tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack. When virality is the need of the hour, you can depend on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the likes. Be it updates about new coupons & deals, getting referrals or launching a discount campaign, social media is a pièce de résistance among many other modern marketing tools in use today.
  • Being receptive of consumer feedback is an essential aspect of any industry especially couponing. Customer concerns about valid and expired coupons should be dealt with swiftly. Always welcome reviews, ratings and feedback; they help with customer satisfaction, trust, customer retention and eventual referrals.
  • Couponing industry relies on a basic, rudimentary concept: getting the best deals.
    Hence, a tool for comparing prices of the said product is a necessity. It makes the life of a shopper much easier and who doesn’t like easy!

To sum it all up, when it comes to technological innovation and incorporating it to your strategy, there are only two choices: adapt or fall behind. As we are entering the final quarter of this fiscal year, there are some noticeable trends and others that are worth looking out for, in couponing and deals sector. Focus on proliferation of the sector into the tier 2 and tier 3 cities are one such trend. More and more areas being serviceable by the e-commerce portals provide fresh market to push in the coupons. Targeting these cities, creating awareness and supplying appropriate deals and offers should be the tentative goal.

Local offline business has suffered as the consumers have moved on to the online retailers offering lucrative discounts and better services. This situation has created a void for hyper local services and deals. Couponing industry offering the same deals and discounts on the offline retailers could act as a bridge between the disconnected online shopper and traditional offline retailer.

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