Daily deals have created a prominent space on the Web in India. So much so, that there are currently 28 and counting “Groupon clone” sites. In a country where eCommerce is expected to reach a value of US $10 billion by the end of 2011, as well as a population that continues to rapidly embrace the social media and mobile culture, it should come as no surprise that daily deals and group couponing are just as popular with the Indian online community as they have become with numerous other countries globally. Yet for consumers in India, given the choice of 25+ different sites, how does one choose where to go for deals? Does this number of sites drive the desire to utilize them, or overwhelm consumers by continuing to crowd the market and ultimately lose their business altogether?
Launched in late 2010, SoSasta (which translates to ‘So Cheap’ or ‘So Affordable’ in Hindi) offers users discounts on services such as restaurants, spas and dance clubs in 11 cities in India daily. Acquired by Groupon in early 2011, the daily deals powerhouse made its entry into the Indian market as it continued to take the now-valued $25 billion company worldwide. Under Groupon, SoSasta has started to move from the rookie player amongst the more established Indian deal sites Snapdeal, Taggle and Mydala to one garnering increased visibility. However, all too recently SoSasta underwent an accidental leak of email addresses and passwords of thousands of SoSasta users.
In the wake of this security leak, SoSasta needs to leverage a bit of current negative media attention to champion on why this site has the potential to become the leading daily deals site for Indian consumers. Here’s how:
1. Groupon’s International Insights
As the leading website of its kind, Groupon’s fast-growing success has the ability to take SoSasta to the next level above smaller, local start-ups. By utilizing what has worked in other countries, Groupon needs to keep a close eye on security and privacy issues to ensure another accidental leak of private user information does not occur. Unlike other countries, deals in India tend to offer a wide variety of deals and don’t focus on a particular niche. By tapping into the particular wants and needs of Indian consumers – perhaps segmented to the extent of city or region – SoSasta can display its understanding of the country’s culture in conjunction with the larger corporate backing to offer the best products and services for its users.
2. Facebook Integration
India happens to be the fastest growing country on Facebook. SoSasta has a strong following on its main Facebook page, as well as smaller followings on additional SoSasta pages organized by city. The company could do even more, however, by enabling consumers to login to SoSasta through their Facebook account to purchase deals. By offering consumers a prompt after purchasing to share via Facebook, SoSasta can garner increased consumer attention and utilize social networking to its benefit. If it truly is a great deal, consumers want to share itwith their friends, so why not make it easy and prompt them to do so right away?
3. Mobile Penetration
More Internet users in India access the Web via mobile than actual PCs. As mobile devices continue to become more affordable, they will increase Internet traffic to those who might not be able to afford PCs – in India, this could mean increased reach to rural populations outside of major cosmopolitan areas. As SoSasta offers products as well as services, the ability to make purchases via mobile is becoming increasingly important for consumers, and is a third way the site can distinguish itself from the cluster of other competition that isn’t currently engaging users through mobile in a distinct way.
The name of the game for daily deal sites in India has ultimately become a fierce competition for the top spot, with companies vying to establish relationships with retailers and consumers to bring them back again and again to their sites. SoSasta has the resources to ultimately overtake – or at least become a major competitor – to the current #1 Snapdeal. It will be up to consumer participation and interest, however, to see how this will unfold.