How did you adapt to the changing online ecosystem?
There are three fundamental drivers for both users and local businesses. The first is to reduce the time of getting a job done. The second is to reduce the cost of getting the need fulfilled and finally, the third is to decrease the hassle. For instance, for users, the hassle could be calling a business, and the business not calling you back or picking the wrong and low-quality business.
For local businesses, the hassle could involve the time it takes for them to get a prospective customer and close the sale or to find out how much he spends on a customer acquisition.
Therefore, we strive to increase the quantity of responses, to improve their quality, and to increase the agility in getting the need fulfilled. By staying focussed on these three things, we are able to determine what kind of technology investments we need to make, and hence, adapt better to the online ecosystem.
You launched a mobile app for android in 2013. How are you strengthening the mobile platform? Do you plan to expand to other platforms?
Most local businesses are extremely small and they are looking to pay small sums of money and receive targeted leads from Sulekha. They neither have brand presence, nor equity. So Sulekha offers an affordable, low-cost, highly targeted way to procure users, and mobile is one of the ways to do it. We have created an extremely successful mobile app for our users and local businesses such that consumers or businesses won’t have to open their laptops or desktops. Today, about 40 percent of our leads come from the mobile app. We have developed the app in-house and launched it on the Android platform. We are optimizing the app every two weeks. We will also be launching the app for iOS and Windows platforms in the next few weeks.
With some e-commerce orgs moving the mobile way, do you see yourself becoming a mobile-only platform as mobile advertising in India picks pace?
There’s no need for us to do that. I don’t understand the logic to go mobile only. In the last 3-4 months, about 30 app-only companies were launched. A lot of these companies that are mobile-only will find it difficult to be discovered. In Sulekha’s case, we will be on all the platforms where our users are. We will not exclude any medium to reach our users. By 2017, we expect 75 percent of all our transactions will happen through the mobile app.
With new funding, what's your strategy towards rebranding? Do you plan to incorporate payment services in the future?
Our marketing and branding team will focus on the three fundamental drivers–time, cost and hassle–and the marketing campaign will encourage people to download the app to use it as well as browse the Web for Sulekha With new funding, we aren’t significantly changing what we do. We will continue to excel in one core service that we offer, but will expand in terms of cities and categories, and in turn, grow our users and businesses.
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