BuyingEngine is the shopping genie that helps to buy faster and smarter from the vast universe of online and offline retail/e-tail. In the quest to enhance, improve and innovate the buying experience, benefits, and the customer journey of every buyer, Buying Engine humanizes technology led by invaluable marketing insights gathered over the years by its founding company. It offers consumers unheard of first-ever in the industry and useful features and benefits like Auto-find Coupons, Deal Forecast, WhatsApp Shopping, and DealsBy you which have been path-defining. These features not only found second homes with many other top e-commerce brands but also won critical acclaim. Buying Engine has already crossed 100k downloads and is growing fast.
Jayanta Ghosh, Editor in Chief, DeviceNext interacted with Mr. Ranjan Das, MD, Buying Engine recently regarding India’s ecommerce industry and online shopping culture and more..
How would you like to sum up Buying Engine’s journey, right from inception till now?
BuyingEngine has been an enlightening, awakening and gratifying journey so far. The journey that started in 2019 with an aim to improve buying experience of all online consumers, has taken a much larger perspective. It was launched as DealComeTrue , where the primary objective was to save time and money of the end consumer functionally as a meta aggregator, finding the online buyer the best deal on a particular product from the plethora of ecommerce , each claiming to have the best deals. Driven by deep marketing insight and consumer’s buying behaviour coupled with innovative application of existing technology, DealComeTrue before being revamped and pivoted to BuyingEngine in 2021 had earned many laurels. With 1 lac plus downloads over Android alone, we have had many first of its kind features like AutoFind Coupon, DealForecast, Similar Buy, Shoot & Shop, BuyYourPrice and DealsByYou, that found validation and second home in most of the top ecommerce brands later. We were probably the first one ever to visualise and apply WhatsApp as a shopping tool. Our pilot run of promotions, before being interrupted by Covid, saw 2X number of sales month over month for the same monthly Ad spend. With backing and infra support worth $350K from the USA accelerator “The One Valley”, BuyingEngine has won AWS Activate program twice, which comprised of $100K and 2 full years of cloud infra and technical support. BuyingEngine is rapidly progressing towards industry defining new found goal of ‘ Buy Anything, Free’ where all FREEmium members of BuyingEngine will be able to buy almost anything available online or offline, free. This will change how brands and consumers buy and sell products, shifting focus of brands to spend more on the consumer rather than spending more for the consumer.
Compared to other countries, where does India’s ecommerce industry really stand when it comes to online shopping?
Indian e-commerce is growing rapidly from when it took its modern shape around 2010 with the launch of Flipkart and Snapdeal. Having launched Snapdeal as a marketer in 2009-2010, shaping e-commerce market, marketing and consumer expectations, I feel Indian consumer is maturing fast. It’s this mature and ever evolving consumer and their expectation that is encouraging and propelling the growth and investment in Indian e-commerce. Indian e-commerce growth during Covid 2020 was pushed to the global lowest of 18% YoY, followed by 5% growth YoY during the second wave of 2021. However, it’s expected to recover really fast and its sales are projected to go as high as $145 billion by 2025, clocking 25.1% CAGR between 2021 and 2025, led by exponential growth in grocery and fashion. Indian e-commerce will redefine the business model for the coming years in more than one way. Reliance, Tata, Amazon and other big business conglomerate are investing astronomical sums in a race to own a bigger pie of the cake. Currently India emerges as the fastest-growing retail e-commerce market in 2021 followed by Brazil and Russia, which are estimated to clock 26.8% and 26.1% growth rate, respectively. While the rate of growth is encouraging, it’s important to put things in real perspective. US e-commerce sales are expected to reach a whopping $933.30 billion in 2021 – 14 times bigger. While retail e-commerce is going to be about 20% of the total retail sales of 2024, in India it will be barely 10% of total retail sales by 2025. The journey is long and the opportunities are ample.
What has been the impact of COVID-19 on Buying Engine’s business?
Covid 19 impacted BuyingEngine (DealComeTrue then), adversely. Like everyone else we too were
unprepared. Soon after the first lockdown was announced, almost all major e-commerce platforms and brands stopped their Affiliate programs and all of the sudden we didn’t have anything to sell. Our 2X growth in number of orders, month on month, was hit in the center. Though slowly but surely, most of the affiliate programs restarted, but uncovering this vulnerable dependability of ours or any meta aggregator on affiliate programs started haunting us. Though the business started getting back to normal soon, but we knew that we needed to evolve.
We needed to have our own base of offerings and consumer pull where meta aggregation of affiliate programs is just a support feature, under the overarching purpose of improving the buying experience and benefits of the online and (now) offline consumer base. A pivot was put underway and DealComeTrue was revamped as BuyingEngine.
What is next for you? Where do you see Buying Engine two or three years from now?
Founded to improve consumer’s buying experience and benefits, BuyingEngine emerged stronger and sharper from the covid impact. Our industry defining feature ‘Buy Anything, Free’ would be the biggest draw. On the launch of this feature, all our FREEmium customer are projected to ‘Buy Anything, Free’ from our own e-stores as well as from our meta aggregation which includes almost all top brands and online marketplaces. It will change the way brands and consumers interact and how funds are generated and distributed between them.
Restructuring how business is done between brand the consumer, BuyingEngine is going to dramatically improve benefits that Consumer can draw from the brand and vice versa. Unlike the instantaneous presumption, this ‘Buy Anything, Free’ is no Loyalty or Bonus Point / Coin program at all where people earn very little points dragged over a long period if at all they get lucky. While such loyalty or bonus coin / point programs will take consumer very long time to accumulate even small fund to buy something small, here on BuyingEngine the Gold FREEmium members can accumulate real money in their e-wallet quickly to buy what they want to buy. The real money that the Gold FREEmium members accumulates will be available in their e-wallet anytime for his use.
While the Gold FREEmium Members can only buy anything available on our platform with the money accumulated in the ewallet, the FREEmium members can transfer this hard cash in their pre-authorized bank account as well. These features and various FREEmium Gold and Platinum memberships will be launched in phases to ensure consumers get the best of it, spread over various gratification stages.
With its one of the best peak traffic of 100K+ active users every hour, BuyingEngine is a course correction and a big leap in the e-commerce industry. We are currently aiming at the Indian target market of ~$200 B which is projected to grow to ~$400 B by 2030. Other two features by the names of Monthly Shopping and Virtual Shopping Stores are under development and are expected to bring many more benefits to the consumer.
Would you like to provide any rough growth or revenue projections for the future?
Post investments, BuyingEngine with its current self-valuation of ~Rs.300 Crore is aiming at a GMV of ~Rs.60 Crore in the 1st year of its operation, in the Indian market alone. Our aim is to humanize technology in a way that it makes the buying process easier, experiential, interactive and monetizing for both consumers and brands.
Would you like to share the growth predictions or estimates about Buying Engine for the next 2-3 years?
Our immediate target is to launch ‘Buy Anything, Free’ with starting strength of 50 lac customer base. It will be a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily subscription to Gold and Platinum FREEmium membership that the consumer can buy. Some of these categories of FREEmium membership fee in their initial inaugural “pre-book’ months may be as low as Rs.100/- ,which would increase with the passing time and strength. With its phenomenal growth in sight, we are projecting to start being profitable in the very 3 rd year, with our projected GMV of ~Rs.3628 Crore, Revenue of ~Rs350 Crore and EBIDTA at Rs.101 Crore by the end of our 5th year, post investment.