Exclusive Interview : Sahil Chalana , Founder of Coupon Aggregation portal Zoutons.com

Sahil Chalana

Sahil ChalanaWe spoke to Sahil Chalana, one of the Founders of Zoutons.com, an online Coupon Aggregation and deal Discovery portal. Sahil, a BITS Pilani Alumnus, is also the CEO of 3.14 Digital , a digital performance marketing firm founded by him in 2010. 3.14 Digital has a large client base including, Educomp Raffles, NIIT Imperia, Foodpanda India etc.

Q: So What is Zoutons.com all about and What is the Business Model?

Zoutons.com is an online Coupons and Deal Discovery Platform featuring coupons from more than 300 ecommerce portals including top stores like Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, and Snapdeal etc

The Business Model is simple, we direct traffic onto the shopping portal websites where users apply the coupons they have discovered on our website. This way we generate transactions for these stores and pay us an affiliate commission for every transaction, which varies from 5-20% of the sale.

zoutonsApart from this, we are the only Couponing Portal to Feature Exclusive Bank Coupons. So if you are searching for HDFC Bank Coupons or the Citibank Card offers, we have the most updated list of card offers.

We also offer brand wise coupons which further reduces the effort of users in finding appropriately matched coupons to their shopping needs.

The portal is ergonomically designed for startup stores, providing them a genuine platform to enhance their consumer reach through coupons.

Q: Why Zoutons.com and how did it all start?

I am also the founder 3.14 Digital, a 30 people strong Digital Performance Marketing company having specializations in Lead Generation and Cost per Acquisition (CPA) models for Education, BFSI & ecommerce verticals.

At a point in the beginning of 2013, when our ecommerce revenue was really picking, Nishit, who is the other founder, came up with the idea of getting into a coupon Aggregation Platform for e-retailers.

Since internally many of us were Discount and Bargain Hunters, launching Zoutons was also in a way gratification for us as well as a step to diversify as a company. We launched Zoutons in July 2013.

Q: How do you differentiate yourself from other couponing Portals?

We try to differentiate ourselves from our competitors in several ways.
First, we put of a lot of Focus on the coupon & deal Quality. At the end of the day, it’s all about giving your users the best experience which in our case the best coupons which they could use.
Second, we are the only site to focus on coupons and offers by Banks and brands. When the user goes to an e-commerce site, he might easily miss the fact that his bank is offering him a discount. On Zoutons, you can look for bank wise Coupons and not miss any.
Real Time coupon Syndication & feeds – We also do some real time coupon syndication. Lot of couponing websites do this manually. We are trying to automate this. Also, since 30% of traffic of ours is already mobile, there is a greater focus we are putting on getting the mobile piece right.

Q: What is your Current Team size and growth Plans?

The zoutons.com team consists of 6 people, ably assisted by the Affiliate team from 3.14 Digital. Most of the time is spent on training people on how to deliver the best of Coupon and Deals to our Users.

Right now we offer deals, discounts and coupons on around 300 Stores, 50 banks and 450 Brands. We have an aim to touch 700 Stores and 1500 brands by end March 2014. From a user point of we just crossed 100,000 users in December this year. We would like to touch a million users served by February.

Q: Tell us about your Technology Platform and upcoming features?

The Coupon Aggregation Platform is built on Open source LAMP. The Technology is in-house though the initial Design was outsourced.

From a Features point of view, our biggest priority is going Mobile. We are currently in the process of coming with an Android app and a much faster version of the current Mobile Website.

We are also building real time Coupon Syndication Engine that would add and update coupons just when they are created an ecommerce stores so that there is manual Lag. In future, we would like to have more personalization feature that shows coupons according to users’ past buying experience.

Q: Have you raised any Funding? What is it that you are looking for from the next round?

We have internally incubated Zoutons and have put in cash of around Rs 20 Lacs.  We are using that fund to build our technology and team.

The Angel round is enough to sustain us till March. Once we have crossed a milestone of serving a million visitors, we would like approach investors with the possibility of a next round.

Q: Who are the Founders and their background?

Zoutons.com was founded by me and Nishit Kumar. I am also the founder of 3.14 Digital, a top affiliate Marketing company and had graduated from BITS Pilani in 2010.

zouton-founders

Nishit Kumar who is the other founder of Zoutons and is currently leading the team, joined 3.14 Digital as an Associate in early 2013. He graduated from Lovely Professional University in 2012.

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The development of Lithium-ion batteries

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lithium-ion
The Lithium-ion battery is being used increasingly in portable devices and finding the right one to suit your needs can noticeably improve your user experience. There are many specialized online shops that boast impressive ranges. Leading online suppliers such as RS Components and Premier Farnell, for example, have a wide range of batteries available online, including Lithium-ion ones, which offer several advantages compared to standard battery types.

Benefits of Li-ion batteries

The use of Lithium-ion batteries has been boosted recently due to their adaptability for mobile phones and laptops. They have a higher energy density and lower weight than the nickel-based alternatives, making them ideal for portable devices. Approximately five billion Li-ion batteries were sold worldwide last year.

Possible drawbacks

Despite the huge benefits of Li-ion batteries, their uses have been somewhat confined to small items such as laptops and mobile phones. Their suitability for electric cars is a matter of debate as such vehicles need a battery of 500 watt-hours per kilogram. The current batteries on the market only provide about 150 watt-hours, compared to petrol’s 12,000. Consequently, much more development is needed if the Li-ion battery is to be suitable for motor cars.

Improvements

Development of the Li-ion is ongoing and some companies are adapting it by using non-flammable materials. Meanwhile, improvements are being made to the performance of the battery by getting more energy stored in the same available space and also making the battery capable of holding its charge for longer periods of time.

Further developments in lithium will see batteries getting even smaller, some as small as grains of sand, while greater use will be made of solar power, which will increase the number of ways the batteries can be recharged.

There is also work going into extending the life of the batteries. Their performance declines a couple of years into their life, but new technology in wireless recharging could extend this considerably.

The future

Some believe that lithium technology is already showing signs of age. While the aforementioned advances will ensure lithium will remain dominant for a while, long term, there cannot be a reliance on it if we want improved performance from our gadgets and vehicles.

Maybe, as some researchers claim, there will be increases in the sources of energy used to power devices and there will be no need for batteries at all? Ambient backscatter is already used to power devices and its further development could make batteries obsolete. This is doubtful as it is likely only to be available for the smallest of devices and laptops, with electric cars having to rely on batteries for a long time to come.

Assuming that batteries will continue to be used, magnesium ion may replace lithium in the future because magnesium is more abundant and therefore cheaper. Lithium air is another possibility, differing from Li-ion as it allows much greater “charge storage”. Neither of these alternatives is the finished article but their development may be viewed more closely in the coming years.

 

 

 

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eBay India collaborates with PAYBACK; Consumers can now redeem their PAYBACK points on eBay India

eBay and Payback

eBay and PaybackeBay India , India’s leading eCommerce marketplace announced its collaboration with PAYBACK for the PAYBACK Loyalty Program, which enables consumers to redeem their PAYBACK points on eBay India. eBay India and PAYBACK consumers will benefit by using the accumulated points to make purchases on a wide variety of products available on eBay India. Consumers may also club an eBay India offer with the PAYBACK points to enjoy better deals for purchases made on eBay India.

Commenting on the collaboration, Ms. Shivani Dhanda – Head Marketing, eBay India, said, “At eBay India, we are committed to grow the eCommerce market in India and  continuously look at opportunities to evoke online shopping trial and also engage existing consumers. Our collaboration with PAYBACK is a head start in creating loyalty in the online shopping space.”

She further added, “Our main objective is to encourage more Indians to enjoy the many benefits of online shopping. This collaboration provides an easy avenue for customers to redeem their accumulated points from a wide selection of 1.5 million products across 2,000 categories at their convenience”.

To redeem PAYBACK points on eBay India, consumers are required to link their eBay India account to their PAYBACK account. Each PAYBACK point is equivalent to twenty five paise.

eBay India (www.ebay.in) is India’s leading online shopping destination with the widest range of great deals on over 1.5 million products across gadgets, lifestyle, collectibles & media categories. eBay India has 2.1 million active users from 4,306 Indian cities, towns and rural areas.

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How to buy gifts without having to worry about it

Gift

There are numerous occasions when one wants to give a gift to friends or relatives but   money is limited. This feeling generally is a setback for youths who are into a relationship and are not able to buy the gift of their choice for their beloved as they are too expensive.

There are numerous occasions when we want to express our love and affection to the special someone in our life. But, pocket money is limited and gift items that may add value to a relationship are many. Managing both the things together gets somewhat difficult and most of youngsters end up with no money in pockets to manage monthly expenses. However, money crunch cannot stop them to go shopping for gifts.

Shopping itself is a task that takes your valuable time and energy. There are several products like clothes, jewellery, footwear, jackets and accessories that tempt us to buy. However, it causes much inconvenience to look for things you need to buy from one shop to another. Above all, it is quite dissappointing when we do not get the things that we desire.

But, Gen-next need not worry. The way and means of shopping has changed. The online multi-brands stores have come as a solution to all the worries of young guns who are leaving behind the traditional way of shopping. They are buying things the way they want. Single platform or shop, gift coupons, vouchers, credit and debit card, monthly instalment facility from banks have brought back the joy of gifting. Registering for price alerts along with discount gift coupons can save a lot of money for those who buy gifts frequently. Each time you buy something, it increases your chance to get gift coupons of higher value.

The sudden spurt of online shops selling all kinds of brands at a single platform has changed the meaning of shopping altogether. It has given option to compare and buy the best in the market. Replacing brick and mortar shops, online shops are turning out to be saviour for shopping freak people who often get amazed by the products. The added advantage of redeeming gift coupons is an added advantage with online shopping.

Today, all big retailers have online shopping stores selling a range of products virtually. Be it anything all kinds of products are available on the virtual world where you can compare prices and get the best deal with a single click. Online shopping has come as a respite for people who do not wish to step out of their homes for anything they need. One can shop anytime and from anywhere. After all, it saves money, time and energy in today’s fast paced life.

Started in the year 2007, Myntra is one of the biggest shopping portals for all the online shoppers. Grab the best discounts and offers from the new collection available, or you can also get additional discount on the products using Myntra’s discount coupons. The wide range of products lets you simply choose the best one that suits your style. Be a trendsetter and walk in style with the latest in the fashion trends with 100% original products from over 500+ brands to shop from. The online shop store offers to its customers a hassle free shopping experience with the widest range of products and brands.

Online shops are win-win situation for both customers and shop owners as it is pocket friendly for customers and shopkeepers too need put heavy investment in market to purchase or take a shop on rent. Virtual world has lot to offer. So, don’t wait and feel the experience.

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Mobile App Revenues to Grow Over $77 Billion by 2017 – Gartner

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gartnerA recent report by Gartner has revealed that by 2017, mobile apps will see more than 268 billion downloads, generating revenue of more than $77 billion.

“Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

Currently, apps often provide an opportunity for brands to reach and engage with customers in a direct way, and therefore data coming from the user is often treated as a resource. This is especially true of free apps, which in 2013 account for 92 percent of app downloads. App users are providing troves of data and often accept advertising or data connectivity in exchange for access to the app.

Gartner said that brands and businesses are already using mobile apps as a primary component of their user engagement strategies, and as the use of mobile devices, including wearable devices, expands into other areas of consumer and business activities, mobile apps will become even more significant.

According to the report, wearable devices will use mobile apps as their conduit for data exchange and user interface, because many of them will have few or no user interface capabilities. Offloading that responsibility to the mobile device means the wearable devices will depend on apps for all types of user input or output, configuration, content creation and consumption, and in some cases, basic connectivity.

Gartner also predicts that by 2015, cognizant computing will be a key enabler in smart home solutions. Cognizant computing can play a meaningful role at home because home settings are stable with relatively fixed equipment, and the user behavior there is routine and predictable. According to Gartner, large service providers such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are likely to have a head start in this market due to the relationship they already have with consumers, which provides them with a large repository of user data that they can analyze and predict — a key asset in cognizant computing. In addition, consumers also trust these brands to manage their personal data — another key aspect in cognizant computing, whereas newcomers will have to build these relationships from scratch.

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By 2018, Global Phablet Shipments to Reach Over 120 Million Units

juniper

juniperA recent report by Juniper Research has revealed that sales of big-screen smartphones, popularly termed as Phablets, will reach over 120 million units by 2018, rising from an estimated 20 million in 2013. According to the report, the device will find particularly receptive markets in East Asian territories such as South Korea – with gamers who desire a larger surface to play on, and China – where content streamers will benefit from a higher quality screen.

The report found that the Phablet market could become a growth area for established smartphone vendors, allowing them to build flagship phablet models targeting tech heavy demographics. As proved by the recent entry of new vendors, including Nokia, Alcatel and Intex, the Phablet market will likely grow from both ends of the price spectrum with established global brands predicated to focus on higher price points allowing local players to gain a foothold in the lower end.

According to the Juniper Report, the OS market for Phablets will be dominated by two major players, Android and Windows. The Windows ecosystem will be driven by Nokia’s Lumia range, which is anticipated to find success in the more affluent demographics of developing nations. Meanwhile, the Android ecosystem will be driven by the latest in Samsung’s Note series in developed markets as well as local vendors such as Intex.

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Global Mobile Ad-spend Expected to reach $18.0 billion in 2014

gartner

gartnerA recent report by Gartner has forecasted that Global mobile advertising spending is expected to reach $18.0 billion in 2014, up from the estimated $13.1 billion in 2013. The market is expected to grow to $41.9 billion by 2017. Gartner said that display formats will make up most of the revenue, but video will show the highest growth.

With regard to the different ad formats used in the mobile sector, mobile display ad formats are collectively the single biggest category of ads, and will remain so throughout the forecast period, although this category will shift to mobile Web display after several years of higher growth in in-app display. Uptake of the audio/video format by the end of the forecast period is higher because the tablet form factor will drive video, and the tablet market continues to grow.

The report found that search/map ad types will benefit from increased use of location data gathered from users, either through them opting into being located automatically through their devices or because they proactively check in the places they visit using apps such as Foursquare and Pinterest. As a result, local advertisers will be more interested in the mobile channel as a means of pushing ads. The split between in-app and Web display is taking longer to shift in favor of the latter, as the use of HTML5 tools in mobile website development is taking longer to impact the market.

According to the report, all regions of the world will experience strong growth in mobile advertising spend, although North America is where most of growth will come from, due to the sheer scale of its advertising budgets and their shift to mobile.

Western Europe’s market for mobile advertising will remain similar to North America’s, albeit at a slightly lower scale, for the duration of the forecast period.  Asia/Pacific and Japan is the most mature region for mobile advertising, and therefore growth will slow between 2012 and 2017, averaging 30 percent a year. Historically, the unusually high adoption of handsets for digital content consumption in Japan and South Korea has given the Asia/Pacific region an early lead in mobile advertising. Looking forward, Gartner expects the high-growth economies of China and India to contribute increasingly to mobile advertising growth as their expanding middle classes present attractive markets for global and local brands.

The report found that in the emerging markets of Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, mobile advertising growth will largely track the technology adoption and stabilization of emerging economies, but will mostly be driven by large markets such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico. From 2015, growth rates in this region will exceed the worldwide average.

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Smartphones Are Transforming User's Shopping Experience – IDC

smartphone

smartphoneA recent survey conducted by IDC found that survey respondents believe the smartphone is transforming the shopping experience. Around 69% of the surveyed respondents agree that their smartphone is a critical tool allowing them to have a better shopping experience. The report found that the smartphone is enabling shoppers to be more informed and more confident in their shopping decisions, as many consumers reach out to their trusted social networks while shopping. Seven in 10 respondents said they check prices using their smartphones, and five in 10 said they check reviews from their smartphones.

The research revealed that the Smart(Phone) Shopper may prove challenging to brick-and-mortar retailers. One in five survey respondents bought from a competitor while they were shopping in a retail store this holiday season. One in three respondents indicated they purchased much more online versus in a retail store this year compared to last year.

In addition to the survey, the app and mobile Web activity of over  10,000 smartphone users was analyzed during the holiday shopping season. Among retailers, Amazon dominated, with far more consumers accessing its app, mobile website, or both, than any other retailer. Brick-and-mortar retailers significantly lag behind Amazon when analyzing smartphone users’ propensity to use a brand’s app and/or visit the mobile website.

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GoIbibo.com Launches goCash Closed Wallet

goibibo

goibiboOnline travel aggregator, GoIbibo.com has launched a closed wallet named goCash. In the online travel industry, one of the biggest problems for a customer is to get fast refunds in case he/she decides to change or cancel their travel plans. Goibibo’s goCash solves this exact pain point by delivering instant refunds into the Goibibo goCash wallet.

On an average 2 out of every 3 people book again within 10 days of cancellation. Therefore, goCash enables customers to use their cancellation money for their future booking across the gamut of travel services available on Goibibo. Furthermore travellers can get extra bonus by using gocash currency.

So how does goCash work?

  • Cancellations and refunds: While doing a cancellation on goibibo, the user gets the opportunity to opt for refund to goCash, instead of refund to his/her debit/credit card. If chosen, this goCash amount is credited into his goibibo account instantly and allows the user to book any ticket on goibibo.com. As a launch offer, the user gets 2% bonus goCash (the offer is valid for 3 months from today).
  • Booking: While booking, if the user is logged in and has goCash in his account, goibibo will seamlessly deduct the booking amount from goCash. The user need only pay the difference, if any. If he/she has sufficient goCash, this means no more payment hassle – booking completed within seconds – flat.
  • goCash account: As with any currency, transparency remains our first necessity. Users can easily see all the transactions that happened on their goCash account, anytime.

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Amazon Launches The All-New Kindle Paperwhite in India

amazon india

amazon indiaToday Amazon announced that the all-new Kindle Paperwhite—is now available for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.in and begins shipping February 4, 2014. The new Kindle Paperwhite features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. While, the new Kindle Paperwhite is priced at Rs. 10,999/-, the new Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G model is priced at Rs 13999/-.

Starting February 04, 2014, the new Kindle Paperwhite will also be available offline across 250 retail outlets across India including Croma, Reliance Digital, E-Zone, UniverCell and Vijay Sales stores located in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Some features of the all-new Kindle Paperwhite are:

  • New display technology with higher contrast:  Higher contrast and better reflectivity means whites are whiter and blacks are blacker, so the pages are virtually indistinguishable from a physical book.
  • Next generation built-in light—Guides light toward the surface of the display so you can read comfortably without eyestrain.
  • New, 25% faster processor—Books open and pages turn faster for a seamless reading experience.
  • New touch technology—19% tighter touch grid makes Kindle Paperwhite respond even more accurately to the smallest touches.
  • New Kindle Page Flip—Skim page-by-page, scan by chapter, or skip to the end of your book, all without losing your place.
  • New Vocabulary Builder—Compiles words you look up in the dictionary into an easy-to-access list.
  • New Smart Lookup—Integrates a full dictionary and Wikipedia so you can access definitions, characters, settings and more without leaving your page or losing your place.
  • – New In-line Footnotes—With a single tap, read the complete text of each footnote in-line without changing the page or losing your place in the book.
  • – New Kindle Free Time- Encourage children to read even more with FreeTime for Kindle Paperwhite. FreeTime lets you create personalized profiles for kids and give them access to titles from your collection of books. Children are rewarded with achievement badges that keep track of their personal reading accomplishments. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading; number of words looked up, badges earned and books read.
  • – Cloud Collections—Organize your books in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.

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