Driven by income growth, urbanisation and attitudinal shifts, India’s retail market is expected to nearly double to US$ 1.3 trillion by 2020 from US$ 600 billion in 2015. Even with high growth in modern trade and online commerce, the unorganised retail which contributed about 92% of total retail in 2015 will continue to contribute upward of US$ 1 trillion (76%) in retail market value in 2020.
Majority of Indian society being still hooked to the culture of direct interaction with the sellers, trying hands with the look and feel of the product and their preference for bargaining, makes the neighborhood stores a significant player in the future of retail. The segment is expected to gain another boost post-GST implementation. PriceMap being a facilitator app for mom & pop retail market, eyes for a big share of the pie and is all set to ride the wave with its expansion plans all set and rolling.
The startup is already talking to investors and soon expects to raise funds for its expansion. The series-A funding will be on top of the seed funding of $600,000 which PriceMap raised in early 2016 when the start-up was incorporated, from a clutch of HNIs.
Suresh Kabra, founder, PriceMap says, “We have witnessed a rapid surge in the userbase of PriceMap in the recent past. We have succeeded in crossing the first hurdle on our path to success, which was, the myth that you get a better deal online as compared to a nearby retail store. We have a long list of users who have got much better deals offline from a nearby shop in the local market compared to online, and hence returning again and again to PriceMap for more buying across categories.”
With the expansion in terms of reach and product range on offer, Suresh expects a manifold rise in his userbase. The targeted market that PriceMap is eyeing to penetrate by way of expansion is a mix of tier 2/3 cities such as Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Lucknow, to name a few. With a bigger population of value-conscious buyers in these markets, PriceMap is confident of higher adoption in these cities.
The app fills a void in the internet search today that is – being able to find the nearest shop having the product you want and offering the best price. It promises to be the Google of brick & mortar retail by connecting customers to local shops. Through PriceMap, the buyer shares the best online deal that he is getting for a particular product. The app finds the retailers in the market(s) selected by the buyer who is ready to offer a better deal than the best one available online.
PriceMap is currently active in the Delhi – NCR region only and its product portfolio includes categories such as mobile, appliances, home entertainment and more. With the help of aggressive marketing and innovative BTL activities, the startup has succeeded in garnering a lot of attention.
Speaking about the venture, Kabra says, “In a market like India, which has 15 million plus mom & pop stores, working on minimal overheads, the only reason the e-commerce marketplace model is successful is because of the convenience it offers. Given the traffic and parking nightmares, searching for the shop having the product you want and offering best price poses the biggest challenge for physical retail. PriceMap solves that problem and thereby has created a level playing field between offline and online retail. Just as you do an online price comparison, using PriceMap you can discover availability & price at shops near you right on your smartphone and buy from shop offering the best deal. People are actually shocked when they find a nearby shop offering better than online price, which happens in 95% of cases.”
“We are working towards a social cause”, continues Kabra. “Physical retail is the largest employment generator in the country. They have the stocks and are extremely competitive in price. All they need is a quick and easy way to reach out to the customer, who is surfing online to find a product. PriceMap provides this ability to mom & pop stores.”
PriceMap provides a win-win solution to both buyer and seller. For the buyer, it enables a price comparison across offline and online channels, enabling them to get the best deal across. For the seller, it generates additional footfalls into the shop from buyers who would have otherwise bought online due to lack of the seller’s presence on the net. In that perspective, it is an indigenous shopping assistant custom built for Bharat, where retail is a mix of mom & pop stores, modern trade and online commerce.