Kharidari is a Pune based listings site that goes one step forward from local search and allows local business owners to upload product catalogue and host deals. As a merchant you can register with Kharidari to have your dedicated store front that allows you to put business information, products, new arrivals, services, delivery information, photo gallery etc.
While in principal this sounds good, specially given the rise in Internet population of India and more and more people researching on web before buying offline, but with the kind of execution they have done, it’s a complete fail. Kharidari is a typical case of intent to make a usable product vs. a usable product.
While their pitch is around making the decision process of the buyer easier by giving him a web catalogue and location wise filtering of merchants etc. the product doesn’t get anywhere close to that. The bad UI and bad SEO, make it look like some overnight spin-off with little thought gone through about value add to merchants or users. The product could have done a much better job with a cleaner UI and a better UX. The concept does have strong potential of selling a web presence to local businesses for Rs.1K-10K money, but in this avatar that won’t last for long.
Here’s a QnA with Arshad Shaikh, founder of Kharidari:
1. What value are you adding to the retailers?
In our website we are providing retailers & stores owners a platform to advertise their products, offers, new arrivals etc to their potential customers, These retailer cannot advertise their products in Print Media etc. as their budget is very low. User will be able to browse and compare through all the stores available in their vicinity for product availability, cost, offers etc. before visiting the stores for shopping.
We are providing store owners an account through which they will be able to upload products and provide all the information about the products available in your stores through a do-it-yourself store management account (DIY). We have a central database of products so the retail store have to just select the products he wants to sell, enter the product price and he is ready to sell.
We believe that business owners need much more control on how and when discounts run. The offers displayed in their stores would be managed by themselves and not us.
In case of deal sites the stores/outlets don’t know whether they will ever see that customer back again?Most people who sign up for the deals are not regulars. They are the deals site customers and not store/outlet customers – they are people who are trying to so spend less and would not try to get the same product or service at a regular price.
In our case we are not influencing the customer to buy a product/service just because there is a potential discount on that products. It’s all up to the customer to browse our website for stores/services select the particular product/service and then make a smart decision for shopping.
Also whenever we go shopping we don’t successfully carry out the bargaining, we would be providing bargaining power to the users, and in turn bringing out loyalty towards our partners and merchants.
2. How are you approaching the retailers? How big is your sales team?
Each Retailers need to be approached in different ways. Securing deals with retailers is often the most difficult task of all. We are educating retailers about the power of selling online and reaching target audience and potential customers on a wider base. We have a sales team of around 6 people who are adding stores continuously in our database and we are also looking at appointing resellers in different parts of the city who would manage the stores update products etc. as per the requirement of the stores and charge them a small fees for providing their services.
3. How do you plan to make money?
Store registration and product display on our website is completely free. If the stores decide they want to sell online we are charging them a small fee per transaction for the products which are sold through our website. We also have section on our website where stores can make announcements, get their offers featured on Kharidari for which we are charging a small fees.
4. How do you think users will find you?
We are completely bootstrapped and are looking out for funding and we have budget constraints so we are not spending on advertising currently. We are providing a dedicated URL to each store with their name in the URL and placing a banner in the stores registered with us. We are asking stores to promote their store online by running campaigns and making people aware that they are available on Kharidari. We are planning to launch some campaigns to promote user for buying from Kharidari. Also we are working on SEO which would boost our website.
Do give Kharidari a spin and let us know the first thing that you would want to change in this product.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]