If you are looking for the best shopping deal in your city, only option you’ve got is to flip thru’ the newspapers ads or track ads on TV/other media etc.. The problem here is that you may miss out on a lot of local/small merchant deals.
The smaller merchants don’t have deep pockets to invest in media ads and there is hardly any other means to promote their offers [except for putting banners outside their shops, i.e. you need to visit them to know the offer!].
A typical information problem! Right?
Not any more.
OffersforShoppers, a Bangalore based startup attempts to bridge the gap between shoppers and merchants.
OffersforShoppers collects deal from retailers [thru’ various channels like offline/telephonic/ emails etc] and organizes them based on various category/area etc.
The site, in it’s current avatar operates only in Bangalore and is soon launching in Delhi.
The site has a primitive feel [web 1.0, or older than that] and calls for major UI overhaul, but what matters is as long as they get the core right, they have a strong differentiator.
OffersforShoppers have implemented few nifty features – for e.g. quick way to find area based discounts, email alerts, tagging etc.
One of the feature that they should implement [and monetize thru’ text ads] is the ability to send the discount details to one’s mobile instead of printing the coupon [look at: burrp’s Send2Phone feature].
OffersforShoppers have quite a few interesting features slated for future release: the most significant being making the buying intentions transparent [heard of intention economy?], e.g. I declare my intention to buy a LCD TV, several others too want to buy the same and once we have a critical mass, we can demand group discounts [shopping 2.0?], i.e. consumers make their buying intentions known, inviting suppliers to bid for their business.
Having said that, one of my major concern about the product is that collecting discount details from retailers is a manual process – and that means scalability is going to be a humongous challenge [especially in the unorganized retail sector in India].
But at the same time, the entire market space isn’t well defined and OffersforShoppers don’t really have a direct competition; there are a few other players [like explocity, discountsindia.com etc] who are entering the market but not in a very focused manner.
And that leaves OffersforShoppers an opportunity to leverage the first mover advantage.
Do give OffersforShoppers a spin and share your comments.
I did an email interview with the founders and will publish tomorrow. stay pluGGdin.