When was the last time you visited a shopping store to buy something matching your taste? You must have thought such an experience would not have been possible at an online store. When you are at a retail store buying clothes, store representative shows you all the great collections one by one. Within a minute from your expressions, he/she understands your taste and narrows down his/her search to find for you something that suits your needs best. With advices and compliments, the store representative encourages you to make the purchase creating a win-win situation.
This was not possible on online stores until now. Today personalization is very new in e-commerce. Amazon was one of the initial pioneers in this domain, while a majority of other ecommerce businesses are still following suit. Indian origin expert, Saurabh Nangia (alumnus of UIUC & IIT-Guwahati) had steered a similar project to take personalization to new levels while he was at Amazon.
Saurabh’s intense hard work and intelligently made calculations came right in line with expectations as his new tool brought an appreciable difference to the whole user experience and conversion rate. At the success of developing an excellent personalization solution, Saurabh had understood that the tool could provide ample business opportunities, especially in emerging markets. He convinced his friend Rahul Singh to embark on a journey of adventure and entrepreneurship with him.
This cloud based personalization platform creates real time suggestions based on customer’s browsing and shopping habits along with the insights from the profiles of similar users and comparable taste. These suggestions help customers find similar items from the catalogue, new releases, what others are buying and popular combinations of products.
Today TargetingMantra is providing a number of business solutions to various e-commerce websites that includes Similarities, Recommendation Widgets and Targeting Tools, everything from personalization to customization to analytics.
1. What inspired you to come up with this idea?
With the rate at which amount of data available online was multiplying, I identified the need for something that could curate this data for users. Currently, there is over 3ZB (1021 bytes) data created online every year. Therefore a good personalization and targeting solution is needed for any online business that wants to deliver a good customer experience. The amount of resources (both time and money) that went into building an in-house world-class personalization solution were not feasible for SMEs. This gap is further accentuated by the dearth of experts in the field of big data and personalization, across the world. There was a business opportunity out here. These companies were spending a lot on customer acquisition, but were unable to retain customers, increase customer loyalty and increase conversion rates. Therefore, it was clear that only if they could get a personalization service at a reasonable price they will gladly use the service. We therefore came up with a SaaS based personalization solution.
In this process, I also realized that people do not have access to important metrics about their business for making strategic decisions. As we were already profiling users, we therefore also started providing detailed insightful analytics to businesses.
2. How did you transform your idea into a startup venture? What were the things in your checklist before working on it full time?
There are three important things that one must look into before working on any idea full time. First is validating the feasibility of your idea. Having worked in machine learning for over 5 years, I knew that it is possible to use machine learning to personalize the web. SaaS services had already started becoming popular and people were receptive to third-party solutions. Second was validating the market. Quite often, either the market is not ready for the product or does not need it at all. We actually talked to 3-4 major e-commerce players in India and asked them if they would be interested in such a service if offered it to them. All of them came back to us with a positive response confirming that they were more than eager to try it out. The third and most important thing is to check if you are ready for the start-up. It is a tough journey, with statistics telling you more startups fail than succeed. There is no right age, time or method to know this but the day you feel ready to quit your comfortable job for your passion is the day you are ready.
3. How did you all meet and form TargetingMantra team?
Rahul and I know each other for over 7 years now, as we are family friends. We used to discuss a lot of ideas earlier but it was only with TargetingMantra and the idea behind it that convinced us to take the leap of faith and quit our jobs to pursue our venture. Our other early team members are all passionate individuals whom we met at different start-up events or online on similar forums and who shared their interest in our idea.
4. How easy or difficult is it to start a business in India?
To start a business in India is definitely no cakewalk. However it has improved a lot over the last five years. Legal, taxation and other process are not streamlined. For any manufacturing unit or a hospitality sector outlet depending on the type, dozens of licenses are required from different agencies. On the other hand, building software companies is slightly easier in India. Talent is cheaper and living expenses are lower compared to US. It is easier to validate product market fit in India market and then grow internationally after that. Receiving funding and credit is still difficult at early stages for entrepreneurs, as people and institutions are quite risk averse. Compared to US, it is also difficult to find early adopters amongst potential customers.
5. What all market industries and regions does your product target?
Being a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) product we can actually target any region including North America, Africa, Europe or Asia Pacific. We have started offering it in India as it was the home market but within the next 6 months we plan to integrate with international companies as well.
Regarding industries, personalization is required by all websites including e-commerce, media, job portals, dating etc. As content grows it will become increasingly important to curate it better for users. We have started with e-commerce but plan to extend our services to other industries soon.
6. What do you think of the future of online shopping industry in India where until few years ago people hesitated using their credit/debit cards online.
While the number of customers purchasing online is still a small fraction of the Indian population and it will take 3-4 years to reach a level that is comparable to the developed world, a few drivers will help it take there. Mobile commerce is the main driver and is growing so rapidly that many e-commerce players believe in a year or so, they will be selling more from mobile than other devices. With smart phones becoming as cheap as $100 it has suddenly opened doors for e-commerce firms which were struggling to reach the masses. Now they are actually trying to get the ‘fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’. Cash on delivery is another enabler which has tremendously increased the penetration to masses who do not necessarily believe in paying through cards online. Low credit/ debit card usage is no more the major hurdle for the sector. However I must add that offline and un-organized retail are also not going to go away in the near future as it happened in other countries. So in the future, as share of online shopping increases so will the size of the total retail pie keeping the all channels alive and kicking.
7. According to you where does online shopping industry in India stand compared to that in the developed world?
It is one of the fastest growing industries globally right now. Almost all products are available online now right from apparel, jewellery, health products to midnight meals and car accessories. The model is evolving more on the lines of China with more focus on the market place model unlike the US where each brand has its own online presence. The logistics infrastructure is continuously improving with few companies now offering same day delivery in select cities. Companies are trying to learn the global best practices.
However with heavy discounting and high customer acquisition costs hardly any company is making money. This is bleeding the sector overall and multiple sites are shutting down every month. However, opportunity lies in abundance in the Indian market and the time to take the plunge is now.
Find more about TargetingMantra. Also follow them for latest developments on your favourite social media network.
Preparing To Start A New Business: Things To Think About
There aren’t many people who don’t daydream about becoming their own boss. However, the percentage of those who do daydream about and those who actually do it is a lot lower. What is it about becoming our own boss that stops us from following our dreams and turning a dream into a reality?
For many people, it is the fear of the unknown. Not knowing if you are making the right decision can be the tipping point for many people. Another hurdle is money and, dare we say it; self-belief can be a huge factor in starting your own business. If you don’t believe in what you are selling, then it goes without saying that no one else will either.
Removing all the obstacles you place in front of yourself is the first step to starting your journey to becoming your own boss.
Every new start-up and trading business needs a business plan. Why? Well, for starters to steer you in the right direction to making a success for your new venture. Knowing what you want from your company, where it is going and where it could potentially go will give you something to aim for and make sure you deliver what is required to make your company successful.
Essentially it is a detailed list of the projected journey of the company to help you steer it in the right direction. What the plan involves can be different depending on your trajectory and what you are offering, but the following will help you to form a plan and know where to start.
- What are you selling?
- Who is your customer base?
- What percentage profit can you expect to make in the first year?
- What is your initial outlay cost to get up and running?
- Is there scope to expand in your sector?
- Do you have a USP? (Unique Selling Point)
- How do you plan to find and attract customers?
- Why will your customers stay with your company?
- How do you plan to evolve the company and expand?
- Are there ways you can adapt what you do and offer more services/different products?
- Where do you see the company in 5 years?
- How do you plan to get your company to that point in 5 years?
A thorough and detailed plan will help you for many years to come, not just for their initial starting period.
And know what you want to do and how you plan to get there. Building a new company for the wrong reasons will never work out well and may end up leaving you in a worse place than you were before you started. With as many as 50% of businesses failing in the first five years, knowing how to succeed and being willing to do what it takes will help you stand the test of time if you are genuinely doing it for the right reasons.
Combine your goals with your personal drive and perseverance and make sure that you are fully committed to making it a success. Simply starting a new business because you dislike working for other people or you think it is a get rich quick scheme will no doubt be your undoing if this is why you are starting a new business.
Do you need money to get the company up and running? If so, you need to know precisely what you need and how much money you will need before you start looking for loans or financial backers. Some companies will be able to start up on a very small or even no budget at all. Other companies will need to look at purchasing stock, finding premises, and making sure they have everything they need to run their company successfully.
Warehouses, industrial sheds, offices, and tech for employees don’t come cheap, so factoring them into your budget is essential before you start looking for finance options.
Is there a market for what you are selling?
Who is your ideal customer? How are you going to sell them? If there is no market for your service or product, chances are you may struggle to find suitable buyers or to get people’s attention.
Being able to identify a gap in the market and fill it will help you to attract the right customer for your company. You need to demonstrate a willingness to be able to adapt to meet the demands of a changing market and satisfy the consumer needs as and when they change. Diversifying is something that will help your company stay heads and shoulders above the rest and keep you relevant and able to fulfil your client’s needs as they change.
Having a unique selling point will mean you are offering people something they aren’t getting elsewhere or may not even realize they need. Identify a gap in the market and strive to fill it before someone else does. A great way to do this is by asking current or potential clients what they are looking for and what would make their lives easier. Then, you can adapt what you do to meet this demand.
Keep an eye on the competition
Always know what they are doing and make sure you are competing on the same playing field. Copying them may seem dishonest but staying ahead of the market is essential for your company to survive, so make it your business to know new and emerging trends within your sector. Keep on top of client demands and know exactly who your competitors are and what they are offering.
Make sure to stick to your company’s values and integrate any new ideas, ways of working, or new products/services as and when demand calls for it and emulate the success of your competition for yourself.
Starting off on the right foot with a solid plan in place will give you a better head start when it comes to starting up your business.
The best services to improve your business’ online presence
Internet was, by far, the biggest XXI century revolution, bringing a lot of changes into our lives. One of the most significant changes that have occured over the last decades can be seen on business management and how adapting to the internet era can have a significant effect on our company’s profits. With the help of professionals in the sector, we can launch our business right into the digital media world and increase our yearly income dramatically.
Creating a webpage for your business
Since internet became a significant part of our lives, the way we see business has dramatically changed. In today’s society, a company without a web page is perceived as obsolete and ends up missing a lot of potential business.
By hiring the services a web design Sant Cugat assistant, you will be able to create a webpage to launch your business right into the internet era. Studies show that having a webpage not only increases the visibility of the business, but companies with a nice, simple and fast design, help keeping the customers attention, assisting companies on keeping potential business chances that otherwise would had been taken somewhere else.
Web designing companies are aware of how important this may be for small business owners, that is why now we can find professional website designer services like the ones offered by Mudblu.
Mudblu is a website design company created keeping the needs of business owners’ into mind. It does not matter that you are not very familiar with internet and how websites works, Mudblu will have you covered all along the way. By joining their monthly subscription services, you will have your website designed and ready to get started, as well as the assistance of your own website building team. One of the things that makes this company a smart option for small business is their customer support team, who will assist you all year on any problem or doubt that could come across regarding your website.
Trusting only the best professionals in the sector for your Google quality score
Internet has brought a lot of changes to the traditional way in which we perceive business. Nowadays, a company is destined to fail without the proper internet presence. The most notorious example of this has to do with our company’s Google quality score. By hiring the assistance of a professional quality score agency, you will be able to dramatically improve your business in an easy way.
A company that will help you improve your business relationship with Google is Quality Score Agency. Quality Score Agency, as its own name may suggest, is a company that focuses on improving companies quality scores. But the services this company offers go far beyond that, offering companies social media advertising services, google ads, etc.
Although Quality Score Agency is based in Spain, they operate worldwide with clients in countries all around the globe, and are recently starting expansion with the opening of new offices in Miami and Colombia.
Launching your business’ social media presence
Social media has become a vital part for the majority of internet users. Studies show that the average user spends around 2 hours and a half per day on checking their social media pages. Because of that, having a strong social media presence has become the best form of advertisement a company can have.
One of the most relevant social media websites over the last years have been Instagram. We can easily find Instagram pages for the more relevant companies in the market, which are gaining a lot of traction among their followers. But, how can our business compete with these big companies?
An easy way to achieve this is by purchasing Instagram likes. This practice would help us raise our social media presence, since Instagram posts with a big number of likes are able to reach broader audiences.
6 Things Your Company Must Do to Break Its Startup Shell
Growing a startup is no easy task, but there are a couple of things that you absolutely must do if you want to break out of that startup shell and walk among the well-established businesses in your industry. So in this post, we’re going to look at some of the most crucial things your business must do in order to break free from the label of a startup.
1. Focus on your audience more than ever
Whether it’s listening to customer feedback or engaging them on social media, there are lots of ways for you to focus on your audience. You can get endless value out of listening to your audience thanks to the feedback they give. As long as you keep an ear open to them and start taking on their feedback and criticism, you’ll easily be able to work out what to do next for your business.
2. Brace yourself for failures
Every company fails in its lifetime. Whether it’s an accident on social media, a poor product launch or a legal issue, there are lots of ways for your business to screw up and fall out of the limelight. However, bouncing back from these mistakes and learning from the past are key ways to help you grow your business.
3. Take control of your workflow
The less control you have of your workflow, the harder it’ll be to scale your business. Between using cloud-based accounting services to signing up for a cheap VPS for all of your server hosting needs, there are plenty of ways to take control of your workflow. This will help you not only understand your business better but also help you save money in the long run.
4. Start training your employees
It’s vital that you start training your employees so that they can be prepared to become managers and senior leaders in the future. A growing business will go through plenty of staff members, so it’s essential that you train them up to be valuable members of staff in the future. This could mean hiring a consultant to help train them or it could mean mentoring them yourself.
5. Evolve your idea by diversifying or specializing
There are two approaches to growing your business; you either diversify your company or you specialize. Trying to do both will only make things more difficult because you’re spreading your resources thinly. Make sure you focus on offering either a diverse range of similar products or perfecting a single product or service before you make something else.
6. Reduce your expenses as much as possible without reducing your quality
It’s vital that you start saving money to help grow your business, so look for ways to cut down on your expenses without reducing the quality of your products and services. This can be difficult depending on how much capital you have, but you should ideally be reinvesting every penny you make back into your business after paying everyone’s wages.
Humanity Endures During Coronavirus Pandemic
Congress’s Electoral Enervation
Putting your health on the best hands
Irrefutable Truths About Having Kids in the Modern World
Have everything ready for your next trip
Buying The Right Furniture To Do Your Home Justice
Fintech, the democratization of finance
How To Reopen Your Restaurant After Lockdown
5 Main Advantages of Colocation Hosting for Your Business
4 Ways To Improve Business Technology Management
Business10 months ago
Gutemberg Dos Santos and Robert Kiyosaki share their vision of leadership
Business9 months ago
Axel Andorff and Carsten Isensee, new SEAT Vice presidents for R&D and Finance
Opinion12 months ago
The History Question: Is It Better to Remember or to Forget?
Blog10 months ago
For Enea Angelo Trevisan and Ealixir, better than solving the problem of cyberbullying is preventing it
Travel5 months ago
Dolphin Discovery is the only park with the AZA accreditation in Punta Cana
Environment11 months ago
Nuclear Power and Other Power Sources: How Do They Stack Up?
Travel11 months ago
The 10 Best Design-led Hostels in Europe
Blog12 months ago
New photographs of great legends available to buy