The last couple of years have been a turning point for India in terms of online shopping. We live in a digital world where things are constantly evolving. The internet has pretty much taken over the way we buy and sell products. People prefer shopping from the comfort of their homes instead of walking around malls or stores. It was back in 2015, that online shopping started booming in India all thanks to e-commerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. According to Statista, online shopping increased to 93.4M buyers, which was approximately a 40% increase when compared to 2014.
With every online store having a wide range of products online shoppers had to visit multiple e-commerce websites, compare prices, read reviews before making their buying decision. It was during this time that Ruturaj realized the tediousness of going through multiple websites to find a single product. Even price comparison websites failed to provide the real-time prices of products. This became the main reason why online shoppers picked the first thing that they saw online, eventually spending more than they should. That was the beginning of an Indian startup called ‘Pricekart’.
In the midst of completing post-graduation, batch mates Ruturaj Kohok and Nitin Nagar realized the challenges that buyers face to find the best deal and lowest price for a product online. With their educational background in IT and previous experience of working with UK and US based e-commerce clients, they came up with the idea to start a price comparison website called ‘Pricekart’. The initial motive of the website was to help buyers find the real-time prices of products and best deals on a single platform.
Start of Pricekart
In early 2016, the entrepreneurial-duo made their entry in the e-commerce segment with the beta version of Pricekart called Mobikart, which was solely dedicated for mobiles. The beta version allowed users to compare and find the lowest prices of various smartphones across various e-commerce websites with their real-time price. The website managed to get almost 500,000 monthly visitors within the first six months of its launch.
The road to success is never easy. There are a lot of ups and downs that every new startup and entrepreneur goes through. The journey started off with a small team, with every member being extremely motivated to see their company grow. It was the multitasking capabilities of these members and Ruturaj’s extensive knowledge in SEO and digital marketing that brought Mobikart on the road to success.
Within the first few months of its launch, Mobikart was nominated for the Best Website of the Year 2016 award under the Price Comparison category by MetrixLab. Ruturaj Kohok was presented with the ‘Most Promising Entrepreneur’ award at Upgrad by Mr Ronnie Screwvala and Radhika Agarwal (Co-Founder, Shopclues) in 2016
Entering the Market with Other Categories
After seeing the success of the beta version, Pricekart.com was launched in 2017 with added categories like televisions, refrigerators, laptops, washing machines and much more. Pricekart is an online portal which collects data like price, coupons and deals from over 100 online stores. This platform will help users compare prices, read reviews and find the best deals and coupons for a diverse range of products.
Pricekart is a result of a set of machine learning algorithms and data intelligence devised to act as a shopping assistant to its users. Additionally, real-time prices of products are updated from various online stores constantly. This makes it easier for online shoppers to save a lot of time and money by finding the best deals and the lowest prices on products at a single place.
Along with the categories, even the extensions and app of Pricekart made their appearance to make it easier for users to compare prices of products on the go. This eventually led to Pricekart becoming one of the top 10 leading price comparison websites in India, within the first 18 months. The website recently also included the voice search feature which will help users find products just by giving a simple command.
After Pricekart made its base in the price comparison market, both Ruturaj & Nitin identified that major online sales were grabbed by the Ecommerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. While small online e-tailers were completely overlooked inspite of having much better deals & customer service. It was then that the duo decided to offer a platform that would benefit these small scale business retailers who did not have the budget for marketing their products. Thus, Merchant Center was introduced on Pricekart to help them boost their business. While other price comparison websites allow users to compare prices only from the top 5 online stores, Pricekart aims to offer a wide array of products & deals to their users by integrating these small online retailers. This will not just provide users with more options to choose from, but also help in empowering these retailers display their products on a larger platform.
A report titled ‘Digital Retail 2020’, forecasts the total no. of online shoppers will increase by 175M users and in order to meet the rising demand, online shoppers will increase by more than 5 times. As the number increases, Pricekart will integrate data from these small online stores, whose websites are based on platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, KartRocket and GetMeAShop.
Pricekart’s Merchant Center allows these retailers to upload their products in a single click. However, the retailers that are registered on the website are first evaluated and verified by the dedicated team at Pricekart to ensure their genuinity to make sure that the users only get the best deals and products.
The Growth Ladder
Every startup requires initial capital and funding to make their presence known in the market. However, Ruturaj and Nitin decided to break free from this trend and chose to begin Pricekart as a bootstrap startup. Pricekart took off its journey as a bootstrap startup, wherein the company funded itself without any external help which has made the journey so far a memorable one.
Along with the Beta version of Pricekart being nominated for ‘Website of the Year 2016’ in the price comparison category by MetrixLabs, it also managed to get more than 10,000 fans socially in the initial months.
The CEO of the company, Ruturaj Kohok was invited as a speaker to Josh talks and Sumago Infotech.
In 2017, out of the 650+ applicants, Pricekart was among the top 60 applications that were chosen to pitch at the ‘Rise Conf’ event which took place in Hong Kong.
Another milestone for the startup was when Pricekart achieved over 1.5 million page views and drove sales of over 150 million towards its partners in its first 8 months. Recently, Pricekart was also featured on websites like DNA, The Indian Express, Business Standard, ANI News and much more.
From celebrating and being exuberant after seeing 1000 viewers per month in the initial months, Pricekart has grown to witness over 16,000 viewers per day. It is certainly a huge milestone for the website and the entire team. The dream of seeing Pricekart on the top keeps the team motivated and driven to work together and accomplish their goals.
As per the mission, Pricekart has always focused on providing users with real-time prices and offering a platform to small online retailers. And at the same time, working on its vision to become India’s leading price comparison pre-shopping destination. The next agenda of Pricekart is to include various categories like Fashion, Finance, Travel, Furniture, Kids section, etc., and at the same time to expand its reach to International locations.
As per studies, India is going to see a rapid growth in small scale retailers in the next 3 years. The next goal on the agenda for this start up is to provide a platform to over 18000 small online stores. This number is expected to rapidly increase in the next 3 years. In order to enhance user experience, Pricekart is currently developing an online shopping assistant bot. This shopping bot will communicate with the users at any given time to help them zero in on a product that they are searching for. But that’s just not it! Pricekart will also soon be integrated with Amazon’s Alexa so that the users can carry their shopping assistant anywhere & everywhere.
Pricekart has gained rapid growth and it is going to keep growing. The website has already made a place for itself in the price comparison category of India. With Pricekart in the market, users will not have to worry about spending too much while shopping online. It is going to continue on its vision to help save a billion INR for 100 million online shoppers by the end of this year.