Crownit - An App-only Merchant Discovery and Privileges Platform
We plan to have 20 million users and drive $1.2 billion of annual GMV across 25 cities in India by the end of 2018. We will continue to be a zero-marketing company with no spend on marketing.
Crownit is an app-only merchant discovery and privileges platform. It works on an O2O model, connecting consumers with local merchants. Launched in July 2014, Crownit offers its users cashback at local merchants and customers can redeem their crowns (Cashback) by shopping online, book movie tickets, pay their bills and many more. The retail program helps attract customers for outlet partners by marketing them through the app.
Sujata Sangwan Interacts With Sameer Grover, Founder, Crownit And Spoke To Him
What made you to start it?
When I was heading product for Knowlarity, I used to interact a lot with SMEs. And I saw a clear opportunity and need for a marketing solution to help local SME retailers to help them grow their business. And I wanted to make it fun and engaging for the consumer. Hence Crownit was born. Consumer use Crownit to discover local merchants and deals on those merchants. And transact there to earn Crowns and participate in our game.
Crownit business is to drive high volumes of business to local merchants and retailers in domains: F&B, Beauty, Health, Fitness, Hotels, Movies and Special Experiences. We charge the local merchants a commission % of the business driven to these merchants. We started operations in Mar-2014 and for first 15 months we serviced only F&B in one city. Now we service 10 categories in 4 cities. Our headquarter is in Gurgaon and we have offices in Mumbai and Bangalore also.
What were the initial challenges? How did you overcome them?
Every enterprise has challenges at each stage of growth. Our initial challenges were to convince the merchant to try our product and pay us commission. Being an innovative new product, this took us some time to establish. Now our brand is well known so this isn't a challenge any more
It took a lot of education and data to convince merchants about Crownit's value proposition. Now merchants call us themselves to sign up.
Unique pointers about the company
· Crown-it is one of the pioneers of O2O platform especially in India with it's presence in 4 cities with over 10,000 local merchants
· It helps consumers with buying decision by offering them curated and personalized eating out and shopping options based on their spending habits, interests and social data, with Cashback benefits.
· The Cashback to customers is credited to their closed Wallet, which the customer uses for talk-time, Bill Payments, Online Shopping, Movie tickets, Charity etc.
· Crown-it had raised series-A funding of $5.5 million from Accel Partners and Helion Ventures in May-2015
· The core proposition of the company is to drive customers for fragmented businesses, it has a strong user base of over 8,00,000 on Android, Windows and iPhone
· The growth story of the company, at present it drives a monthly GMV of $3 million and is on its path to achieve a couple of million users
· Future Plans- The company is targeting to have 20 million users and drive $1.2 billion of annual GMV across 25 cities in India by 2018
Another unique feature about Crownit is the engagement and customization factor that the app offers. It not only offers personalized and curated shopping offers and cashback offers to customers based on their liking and spending habits but also enables the dealers to reach out to their target audience through customized deals.
Who is your competitors? How are you different from existing ones?
We compete with local deals companies like Groupon's Nearbuy and Zovi's Little. Our key differentiator is that our product gives cashback Crowns instead of Discounts. This attracts good quality users. Merchants like us because we don't ask them for deep discounts. We have created a business which works on shallow discount and high customer loyalty.
Biggest USP of Crownit is that instead of discounts, we give away crowns at every transactions. These crowns can be used for Talktime, Bill Payments, Online Shopping, Movie tickets, Charity etc. We have gamified and personalized the entire experience of the customer.
What is your vision to scale your business?
We plan to have 20 million users and drive $1.2 billion of annual GMV across 25 cities in India by the end of 2018. We will continue to be a zero-marketing company with no spend on marketing. Our primary customer acquisition channel is through referrals and word of mouth. This ensures high quality users which creates a homogeneous user community.
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