A serial entrepreneur, Suresh Kabra is the founder and the driving force behind PriceMap. After starting his own mobile video space company which was got acquired in 2013, he decided to converge the online and offline shopping. PriceMap helps a consumer to find the nearest retail shop offering the best price on the product that he wants to buy. As e-commerce businesses lead the market, brick and mortar suffers a big blow. With PriceMap, the consumer has an easy way to find the best price of a product in an offline store by comparing it with online price. Read on Suresh’s interview with Yo!Success and know more about PriceMap, an app that tries to save the mom-and-pop stores from the uber competitive ecommerce world.
Please provide a brief overview of your product / service?
Pricemap is the google of brick & mortar retail. Using the app, a consumer can find the nearest shop offering best price on the product he/she wants to purchase. No need to hop shop-by-shop in multiple markets to check availability and best price. PriceMap brings the entire bazaar on your mobile phone. On the seller side, it’s an enabler for the 40 million plus mom & pop stores to reach out an online buyer and in less than 5 minutes by just using their smartphone. No need to spend a penny in IT infrastructure or resources to create an online inventory model.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
India has 40 million plus mom & pop stores where 92% of the retail trade transacts. 99% of these stores have no online presence and don’t come-up in Google search. On the other hand, consumer has moved up the technology ladder and is researching online before making any purchase decision. This is creating a “digital divide” and brick & mortar is suffering badly as they are not being discovered by an online consumer. The current e-commerce marketplace model followed by likes of Amazon, Flipkart etc. is a cut & paste of US/European model where modern retail rules and large chains have already wiped out the small retailers. It is not suitable for a highly fragmented retail market like India as it requires the sellers to have digital online inventory. As a result less than 1% of total merchants are selling online in this country even after a decade of etail prevalence. We wanted to evolve a “Bharat Ka E-Commerce” model which enables every mom & pop store to reach out to an online buyer by just using his smartphone. PriceMap does that exactly. We want mom & pop retail to survive as it forms the 2nd biggest employment generator & GDP contributor. It essentially defines the spirit of entrepreneurship in India.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Breaking the myth that online is cheaper than offline. On PriceMap, 92% of customer queries get a better price from a shop nearby than Amazon, Flipkarts of the world. Etailers, by spending billions of Dollars in advertising, have created an impression that online is always cheap as they know that consumer has no easy way to find the best price offline and compare with online price. Now PriceMap is bridging that gap as you can compare online-offline price for the same product right on your phone sitting in the convenience of your home.
How did you overcome initial mindset challenges?
We added features in the app that allow customers to do a quick online-offline price comparison on popular trending products. This has been an eye-opener for both the consumer and VCs. We promoted messages like “paas ki dukaan se, online se behtar daam pe” to build the awareness,
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Don’t sweat about the distant future. Sweat about the problem you face today and how to solve it.
- There are no shortcuts to success. So take every decision aligned with your long term goals. Don’t deviate.
- Learn to manage your fear of failure. Managing failure is in general much easier than managing the fear. So shut your mind to negative thoughts and do what needs to be done in the given circumstances.
What is your life mantra?
If you are persistence and working hard towards a good cause, you always get your “Jaidrath Vadh” (refer Mahabharata) moment when you come out as a winner with all odds stacked against you. That’s the way cosmos is built.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Google Maps as it solves a fundamental problem of urban living, commute and contributes to a better quality of life.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Starting my work day by building a TBD list and attending to “practive” items first instead of getting into a “reactive” mode of checking emails & WhatsApp messages.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Leave my car and start cycling to work.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Take PriceMap “Bharat ka e-commerce” model pan-India so that every mom & pop store is enabled to sell wares to an online buyer and not just a handful few. To present a truly omnichannel shopping experience to the Indian consumer where they can check availability and price of both online and offline channels on their smartphone and make an informed purchase decision.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Start on the entrepreneurship leg a little earlier in life. Your learning stops in a corporate job after having spent about 20 years, unless you reach to the very top. One must switch gear and move to “entrepreneurship mode” to keep learning and evolving as a human being.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Coorg to relish simple things in life, lush greenery and a good cup of coffe. Scotland for the vast empty space & the serenity they can bring to you. Jaipur for its great food, tradition and nice people.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“There is nothing I cannot do, Cause I am human” from the song Human by Rod Stewart