Indian Startup Vs Indian Startup

Posted on December 24, 2007. Filed under: Comparison, Indian Startups | Tags: , , |

You have a startup in India. You even present that idea in Proto. Within a year, you see another startup with the same idea! Well, I am not here to start a war between the two startups. Infact, competition is always a good indication of how the particular market/segment is maturing. Without making you all wait, let me go straight to the point.

Both of these startups are into comparison shopping, with the former launching straight away with api. The website about spoteazy has no mention about api, so I will not be able to comment on that.

Like I pointed out, this competition is a healthy sign about the market. I am taking the freedom here to provide some suggestions to both these startups, since I have some background in this domain.

UI is the key

Dont put too much flex stuff. Make it easy for the people to perform basic things like search for a product even without knowing the model number (like cellphone with camera, fm for 3000), side-by-side comparison of the products. When I looked at both QuarkShop and Spoteazy, I felt that still something could be improved in their UI.

Only show graphs that make sense

Dear QuarkRank, I saw a sample graph in your home page (Rating features of ipod, creative, zune). Frankly, I am not able to make out anything from that graph. Players like nextag, shows the price history as a chart, which makes sense right. Sorry, for mentioning this as a separate point instead of including it along with point 1.

Have a clear idea about the target market

Are you developing this product for the Indian market or for the entire world. If your target is india, then it doesn’t make sense to recommend products like zune (infact even for the entire world :)). Also, reviews from someone in the US may not necessarily convince a guy in india. For eg, ipod has non-replaceable batteries. An american would be happily churning out $99 for getting a new ipod, every time his current ipod’s battery dies, and still would rate iPod as the best music player ever. Dont expect a desi guy to do the same thing. From my little understanding, QuarkShop is targetting US market where as, spoteazy is targetting Indian market.

Pricing information needs to be accurate

The primary reason online shopping in India is still in its nascent form is that the price quoted in some of the online retailers is arbitrarily high, when compared to the local shops. Now you are doing a comparison shopping for them. In which case, you should atleast quote the correct price mentioned in each of the online retailer website. Now, most of these online retailers doesn’t have api to extract the pricing information. So essentially, scraping their web pages is the only available solution. Make sure, you scrape at the right time and quote the right price.

Negotiate deals with online retailers

Make it easy for the users to buy easily from your website. Dont just provide one part of things which is reviews and ratings. Complete the cycle by linking to the online retailer also. QuarkShop, please fix your “Price comparison” and allow me to buy something!

API

API is another key to success. But like I mentioned not many online retailers in India have api. Since they dont have apis, why not you guys develop it as a service for them? Collaboration is another key to success right.

Make sure your product answers this simple question.

Why should I visit your site, instead of googling or calling up my friend? At every step, keep asking this same question to yourself.

NLP is fine. But have some good reasons for retailers

The last thing any online retailer would want to hear is NLP. Frankly, I dont think most of the ceo’s would understand terms like “Sentiment Analysis”, “Competitor Analysis”. So if you are negotiating deals with retailers, come up with something they could understand and something that has business value to it.

I think I am done. Use the comments section, to interact with me. Look forward to see more and more promising startups from India.

-Prabhu

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