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An Interview with COO of Coupondunia.com, Ankita Tandon

07/08/2015
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Open Talk @DSIM

An Interview with COO of Coupondunia.com, Ankita Tandon

CouponDunia is a profitable and fast-growing startup based out in Mumbai that connects monthly audience of hundreds of thousands of Indian online shoppers with e-commerce merchants. CouponDunia the largest coupon and deal site in India. CouponDunia provides multiple options for easy saving and smart shopping

Q1.  Hi Ankita, it’s a pleasure to conduct this interview with you. Thank you for taking out your time. We are very curious to know more about you?

Ans. I am from Mumbai. I did my graduation from Jai Hind College, Mumbai. I did my masters from Warwick Business School, UK. So, my background is completely in finance and economics. I have worked for a financial services company in London for two years. While working, I thought about moving into startups, and CouponDunia is the result of my four years journey.

Currently, I am the COO at CouponDunia, and also a guest lecturer at Jai Hind College, Mumbai.

Q2. CouponDunia provides multiple options for saving money and smart shopping through its extensive listing of coupons, deals & discounts. The concept of offering discounts via coupons is quite intriguing. Tell us exactly, how does this work?
Ans. All  companies & brands have sales to clear old stock or to promote a new product and all these e-commerce companies is in the phase where they want to acquire customers by the sale method. So, we are providing a platform where they can publish their offers. You can put something on sale, but how would I know the sales exists, so you need a medium to let people know that the sale is going on.Usually, E-commerce companies don’t have a budget for promotion that the sale is going on. So, we (CouponDunia) are the platform which let users know about the deals and discounts. For that, we aggregate the deals according to the users or we extract exclusive deals from the companies and publish it on our platform.
Q3.  Now, CouponDunia is approx. $3.5 million big venture.  What is the story behind the CouponDunia success in India? What challenges did your business face in initial stage?

Ans. I think there is no secret for success, it is just hard work. We are a bunch of dedicated people who are working hard and having a mission to make sure that people get best possible deals and have all the information readily available to them at their fingertips. So, the idea is keeping the content fresh, making sure the site is always available with right kind of deals & discounts.

There is no rocket science behind, it’s just pure hard work, and yes we have great technology as well. We have got a very good technical team which is fairly large. This team makes sure our app & website are doing well.

The standby challenges which startups face in India are acquiring good talent. I think it is one of the biggest challenges, finding right people especially technical talent. We are based in Mumbai. So, technical talent is hard to come by as compared to startups in Bangalore.

Q4. So, Ankita talking about today’s technologies, what role does digital marketing play in your business strategy?
Ans. Digital marketing is very important in today’s scenario. Everything has gone on digital media. We started with aggregating coupons of the e-commerce merchants and those who have web can find these online stores & shop. So, digital marketing is a natural & easy marketing channel which we adopted. It is first marketing channel that we adopted so far.Digital marketing plays very important role in our journey, since we find our users on the web. We have advertised on almost every digital platforms like SEO, SMM, PPC, display advertisement, social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram), email marketing, all acting as a medium to the digital marketing.
Q5. The internet preference of users is changing faster. How is CouponDunia meeting this challenge?
Ans. Well, I think people are moving from desktops to Smartphones. The new wave of users is coming from the Smartphone, which is why we have developed our mobile App. We are the first mover in the deal space to do so. We launched our App a year back, and this is a big move for us. Within two years we are generating 50 % of the traffic from the App and mobile web.
Q6. Ankita, I read few days back that CouponDunia just forayed into brick-and-mortar retail, what exactly it is about?
Ans. As we enter a mall we see big banners showing discounts for various brands in a brick-and-mortar retail. Earlier we were dealing with e-commerce websites only but now we are publishing deals & discounts of these offline retail stores and also for big brands like Zara, Calvin Klein to name few among them. By this we have reached to much more users. This is a giant step in the Indian couponing space in terms of scale, experience, and concept.CouponDunia launched a new app which will push live discount coupons to your device when you are near a mall or a store. With automatic location detection, the app makes it very easy for you to find the closest restaurants and retailers in your city that are offering discounts. You can also browse by category or use our lists of best offers.Users will be able to access coupons of brands ranging from Food, Beverages, Personal Care, to Home Care category. These coupons can be redeemed at Spencer’s Retail, Star Bazaar, Vishal Mega-mart, Reliance, etc.
Q7. We are curious to know about what are your future plans for CouponDunia?
Ans. CouponDunia wants to acquire the pole position when it comes to savings. We want that the user should save money with their each transaction. User should feel smart about the purchase and CouponDunia has genuinely helped them in taking a better buying decision.
So, the idea is just providing discounts & deals in more categories as we move forward. Best discounts and deals available is the final endeavor for CouponDunia.
 Q8.We are keen to know, who are your major competitors? How do you deal with the competition?
Ans. When you are the first mover you feel a lot of competition coming in; which is very apparent, that you are doing the right thing. When people see you doing the right thing they try to catch up and when it comes to competition CouponDunia is miles ahead of any competition in the market.Presently, the idea is keeping our content fresh and real. We make sure our coupons appear on daily basis and they are not expired.

 

Q9. Finally, at the end of the conversation, what qualities an entrepreneur should have in current market scenario?

Ans. I think right now a lot of startups are getting funded and raising money. The most important traits that entrepreneurs should have are put their hard work.

In order to be better than your competitors you have to keep learning, keep iterating, keep researching your product and industry and make sure that you are doing the best you can. I think hard work is the most important among all as all of us know, “Hard work is the key to success.”

“Thanks for taking out some time from your busy schedule and giving valuable suggestion to our readers and sharing precious knowledge with us. Best wishes to you and CouponDunia from DSIM.”

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