Quick 5 with Surjendu Kulia on Reviews42 mobile app
Reviews42 offers reviews & ratings to users while they are shopping, thus making it an online shopping companion, says the company’s Co-Founder
In an era of smart selection and informed choices, need for an unbiased and true review about any product has grown up. Consumers now look at a product from various angles, see how it has been performing and then decide whether it will fit their pockets.
To fill in the ever increasing demand for finding out unbiased views and shopper advice, Solvy Tech Solutions launched Reviews42, which helps users make an informed decision. Surjendu Kulia, Co-Founder, Reviews42 shares with exchange4media the rationale behind Reviews42, its role in a consumer’s life and the way forward.
What was the rationale behind launching Reviews 42?
Solvy Tech Solutions, which runs Reviews42, was started in September 2011. The platform Reviews42 was launched on April 1, 2012. The goal is to help consumers buy the right product by providing all necessary ingredients - User Generated Reviews, Expert Opinions, Price Comparison and an array of products to choose from. As a platform, our aim is to empower consumers to make an informed purchase decision.
Almost 96 per cent of Indian consumers follow the research online, purchase offline pattern. How will Reviews 42 provide services in such a scenario?
ROPO is a well-established phenomenon, not only in India but also in the US. Reviews42 mobile app (currently we have an Android app, work is on for Windows and iOS) was launched a week back to specifically address those users. Let’s say a user is standing in an offline retail store and is about to buy a consumer product, this app will provide him/her with information about online prices, neighbourhood store prices, product reviews, ratings, discount coupons and an intelligent product search and discovery. Our vision is to help people buy the right product. In addition to aggregating data from all e-commerce portals, we are also integrating catalogue information from offline retailers. Using location based services, we would be able to show neighbourhood store prices.
Who would you consider as your immediate competition? How do you plan to keep Reviews 42 ahead of the game in this kind of competition?
We are a product research portal and a comprehensive one. We are a mix of hard core tech and media and we are pioneering the shopping companion app in India. So, in true sense no one is our immediate competition. Having said that, there are indeed other companies doing stuff in just one vertical or a maybe a couple.
We built this company with a vision and not for a fly-by-night kind of an existence. And that is why, we invested heavily in recruiting high quality tech talent and in building a solid platform using artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. We have already filed provisional patents for our tech work to ensure no one copies the same in India. In addition, our focus has always been execution and we know we are good in that.
Indian marketers are still warming up to the mobile app economy. How do you plan to enhance your database and get marketer supporter?
I would say marketers would be present where consumers are. Today, mobile traffic for any media company or e-commerce company is a substantial chunk and people are building tools for “mobile first”. So, it is a matter of time before the marketers would start flocking in. We intend to create demand at the point of decision making (read - retail store) and that is reason enough for marketers to advertise. Someone flips open the Reviews42 app at a retail store when he/she requires info. All other mediums, including print, TV, OOH, etc. (except internet search) are push mechanisms, forcibly sending info to users. Advertising at the point of decision making is a pull mechanism and Reviews42 app provides that.
What kind of response have you garnered so far? Where do you see Reviews 42 a year down the line?
The response has been overwhelming. We have raised two rounds of capital from VC firms (September 2011 from Blume Ventures and VenturEast & January 2013 Series A round from Nirvana Venture Advisors and Blume Ventures). Since our inception, we declined three acquisition offers (two Indian and one global). Traffic on the website is growing as expected. Our mobile app response is absolutely fabulous and we have started seeing a lot of organic downloads. In the next six months, our goal is to become India’s largest product catalogue company and become the No. 1 shopping companion app.
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