Abhishek Kumar, Founder-Director, MadPiggy, in his exclusive interview with the Retailer Media, speaks about India’s first app to integrate Apple’s proprietary promoted iBeacon technology and how this technology will nurture Indian e-shopping experience. He also unveiled the debut of his eponymous shopping app Madpiggy.
To start with, in today’s “app-for-everything” time, people prefer not installing various apps in their phones, so how are you convincing them to use Madpiggy?
Precisely, that is our point. Nowadays, every shopping mall and brands are coming up with an app of themselves, which does not give enough value to users to install and retain the app. Further, maintenance of those apps by shopping malls and brand outlets is a challenge, and over time, we see that the app loses its relevance and management loses its focus in keeping such an app alive.
However, the requirement of having an app for the user to showcase all deals and discounts from all nearby outlets – be it apparels, or restaurants or movie theatres or retail chains like Big Bazaar and Easy day – is necessary. We work on credibly serving the consumers only deals and discounts from nearby stores, without spamming and without any advertisements. This will help keep the platform relevant and win the trust of consumers.
An app for booking tickets from a particular movie theatre might be overkill for a smart phone user and he might hesitate to install such an app. However, a BookMyShow app is a relevant requirement. We, at Madpiggy wants to be the BookMyShow of deal & discounts and remain relevant and by serving credible deals to the users.
From where did this idea of a location-based deal searching app came out from?
In the age of location based services, we were doing a project for one of our clients in Dubai, to create an application, which selects nearest parking zone automatically based on the location of the user. On the same day, I saw the advertisement of promotional sale form a Big Bazaar outlet on my television. The idea struck to me.
A big Bazaar or Shopper’s Stop can still afford to put up a print or electronic advertisement for their promotional sale, but many others cannot. How do they communicate to their users for a clearance sale? The response was none. Hence, we decided to create an app to overcome this problem by providing a seamless communication channel.
Being a location specific app, what methodology does your research team use to build a strong database?
We want to have out platform clean and relevant for our users. Hence, every merchant registered undergoes two levels of verification. First of all, he is verified for his valid email id. Later, he is verified to be a genuine merchant by our operations team. While verifying the merchant, our operations team verifies the merchant details, phone number and even his location details, so that user at no point of time is misguided to a wrong number or a wrong location while looking for driving direction through the app.
For users, we capture user’s location based on his phone location. Many a time, users do not want to switch on their location services. For those users, they can set their location specifically in the app to see relevant deals.
What initial challenges are you facing in terms for rooting Madpiggy into the market?
The main challenge we are currently facing is that merchants have to put up the deals on using our web platform.
Our platform is so easy to use, that a new deal can be posted in less than 10 seconds. However, the retailers are still new to such a format of deal posting over web and they may at times, forget to use the platform. We have to keep reminding them and following up with them for increased adoption of the platform.
Are you in talks with any angel funding or investors? How soon do you expect to get a back-up?
Yes, we are talking to Venture Capital firms for funding. As such a Consumer-to-Consumer app (if I may call so) needs a lot of marketing effort to get the critical mass to stand on its own. We have tested the NCR market. Now is the time to expand our services to other cities. Our plan is to cover more than 8 tier 1 cities within one complete year of or operations. We plan to expand to 2 other cities, preferably Mumbai and Bangalore by June 2015.
We expect to get a back-up by venture capital firms in a couple of months or earlier.
How well has the retail market responded to Madpiggy? Do they really consider this app as a point-of-sale?
Retail market is responding to our app with lot of positivity and excitement. Eventually, it will help them with an additional free and effective communication channel. Especially, the features such as beacons, loyalty solutions are going down well with the retailers. We are now joining hands with shopping malls and brands for co-branding to present Madpiggy as a credible app.
What addition features are you planning or have in mind for future references?
We can build a lot of data analytics over our app in future. Saving user preferences and presenting her tailor-made list of deals, of her choice would be a great thing to achieve. Further, the app can also evolve into a hyper local e-commerce model. We can also integrate the payments processing from the app like LevelUp or Square Inc.
But these are wish list for future. Right now itself, the app is loaded with a lot of features. We will see how market reacts to each of current features or requires additional ones and we will keep improving. One thing for sure, we will improve and mature as an app over time.
Apple’s iBeacon technology is a popular concept abroad but it still needs a hold in Indian Market. How good is the future aspect of this technology in India? Your take.
I think it is a great thing to adopt. It has tremendous power to change the presentation. I have been mesmerised by this technology ever since I have known it. Imagine, getting all the information on your fingertips, before you actually visit a particular store. The iBeacon-technology has further potential usages in many fields including parking, restaurants amongst a few.