Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Marketing and PR manager of MySmartprice.com, Mr. Ashwin Sreekumar Nair.
Hyderabad based startup MySmartPrice is price comparison engine that helps Indian online shoppers to find the best products in several categories, including mobiles, electronics, computers, fashion and lifestyle, cameras, books, appliances and personal care.
In addition to the price comparison section MySmartPrice also offers a comprehensive Deals section that caters to the Deal hunters in India. MySmartPrice was founded in 2010 by Sitakanta Ray and Sulakshan Kumar with the goal of creating the best online shopping research and discovery destination.
Q1. Hi Ashwin, thanks so much for joining us. We are very curious to know more about your business?
Ans Well, thanks to DSIM for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to speak about my company. About myself, My name is Ashwin Sreekumar Nair. I look after Marketing and PR for MySmartprice, a leading price comparison and product discovery portal. I am the second employee at MySmartPrice.
Q2.To begin, let’s talk about your, how did the idea of MySmartPrice come to your mind? How did you get started?
Ans. MySmartPrice was founded by Sitakanta Ray and Sulakshan Kumar in late 2010. E-Commerce industry was a sunrise sector at the time and both wanted to embark on a business that would help in its growth. A price comparison service seemed the perfect fit for them as it depended on product management and ingenuity more than processes and supply chain management etc. We knew affiliates ( sites that support e-commerce websites in bringing traffic) that contributed nearly 20% of the business in e-commerce sites of developed markets. Thus MySmartPrice was founded.
Q3. Ashwin, Let our readers know about your business model and marketing strategy?
Ans. MySmartPrice makes money through affiliation. In this, we get commission based on sales that are made on e-commerce stores such as Flipkart, Amazon etc. Our Marketing strategy has largely been to get users through Search Engine Optimization (traffic from google searches) and Social Media. We never really had the money for big budget television and print ad campaigns.
Q4.Can you share the process of developing MySmartPrice and some of the challenges you faced along the way?
Ans MySmartPrice started as a comparison website for books. We soon however discovered that mobile phone comparison is the biggest driver for sales as well as traffic for us. We optimized the site for search engine results related to mobile phones. By 2012 we were helping nearly 2 million users a month buy mobile phones at the best price. We diversified into more electronics categories and even started product discovery for Fashion, Deals and provided coupons for top sites. As far as challenges go, one of the biggest challenge is to keep growing organically and reach our customers efficiently. SEO and remarketing has greatly helped us in doing just that.
Q5. So, Ashwin talking about today’s technologies, what role does digital marketing play in your business strategy?
Ans. We are an internet company and hence Digital Marketing is essentially all we do. We engage in all the core Digital Marketing activities such as Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, Social media marketing and advertisement and Email marketing.
Q6. Are you also in email marketing? If yes then how are you handling it and implementing in your business?
AnsEmail marketing is a key component in customer engagement and in building conversions. We are very particular not to spam our users. It is important to avoid mail fatigue among users. We can say we’ve managed to keep unsubscribes to a very low number and have one of the best clickthrough rates in the industry.
Q7. . Do you also use affiliate marketing?
Ans We don’t use affiliate marketing to get traffic to our site. We are one of the largest affiliates in India and generate over $120 million in sales for India’s top e-retail websites.
Q8 Can you tell us something about MySmartPrice journey? Where do you see MySmartPrice in the next 10 years?
Ans.It’s been a tumultuous 5 years. We’ve grown from strength to strength. Grown from serving a little over 2 lakh people a month to 10 Million in a month. The next 10 years is one of hope and ambition for us. We want to become the destination Shopping research site in India. We want to help users make shopping decisions like “What to Buy” and “Where to Buy” for all the things sold online and offline in India.
Q9. We are keen to know, who are your major competitors? How do you deal with the competition?AnsOne of our biggest competitor is Junglee.com, which is owned by Amazon.com. We believe in producing a robust product that is both accurate and exhaustive in giving users results. We believe the product should speak for itself.
Q10. Finally, at the end of our interesting conversation, Any wise word for entrepreneurs willing to start an e-commerce business?
Ans.The only advice I can give is to stay true to your core strength. Don’t try to do something others are doing just to stay in the game. Innovate and find your own way to market. If SEO is your core strength then work on it. If good PR and publicity is how you get your customers then work on that. Don’t get into the game of outbidding competitors for Ad space and Television spots, atleast while starting off.
It was fantastic talking to you Mr. Ashwin. Thank you so much for giving your time and providing us valuable information. Team DSIM wishes you all the best for your company.