Koolkart, a startup bootstrapped by two IIM graduates, brings a personalised experience to shopping online
e-commerce is surely the flavour of the Indian online experience these days. The inspiring success of the likes of Flipkart as well as the growing confidence among users in buying things is giving an impetus to the segment.
Koolkart.com, a start-up bootstrapped by two graduates of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, in January this year hopes to combine the two big lures of the Web: social networking and e-commerce. (The concept itself is not new, but Koolkart seems to be among the first movers in India.)
Ever since the site's soft launch, its founders Suneil Chawla and Anupam Agarwal claim their shopping aggregator compares prices of more than 14 million products from over 200 boutiques and retailers. Its engagement with users is also good. The founders say they have close to 4,000 users logging in every day. And this is on word of mouth and recommendations made through social networks.
Now the site only offers a shopping discovery engine: combining a shopping aggregator service, in many ways comparable to Amazon's Junglee, and combining its USP of integrating friends' recommendations. So if one registers himself with Koolkart, he might not just discover products based on his preferences but will also get to know what his friends are liking or buying.
“Shopping is often a social activity one undertakes with friends,” explains Mr. Chawla. “That holds good for the offline experience. With Koolkart, we offer the same online too.” Also, it creates a less than icky way to let friends know what is on one's wishlist, making choices for gifts easier.
On a more serious note, Mr. Agarwal explains the other key difference. “Often on some e-commerce sites, there is always the possibility that some vendors might push products from stocks they want to clear out. But our engine is purely based on preferences and recommendations.”
The next big step for Koolkart is to move from being just a discovery engine to becoming a payment gateway. The Koolkart team of six, who work out of a small office in Chennai, are expected to launch that gateway soon. This will also help smaller retailers get online and be catalogued along with the bigger brands. Further plans include moving into the mobile space.
To learn more, log on to www.koolkart.com.