March - 2009 - issue > Top 10 Internet companies
ST Team
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Nielsen survey shows that more than 85 percent of Internet users in the world are purchasing goods or services online, with credit cards as the most used method of payment. Dhingra's experience as a co-founder of the Yahoo! acquired Tyroo, an online advertising network, made him realize that there is a huge potential market for e-commerce in India, gadgets being the second largest selling product category online after travel. "In my office in Gurgaon, I don't have a shop nearby to go and buy a pen drive and I don't want to spend an hour driving to buy it either. Moreover, three years back when I bought an iPod from one of the leading e-commerce websites, I could not get the same color which I ordered for." Later Dhingra recognized that these e-commerce websites do not have any control on issues like product quality, delivery time, etc. as they rely on their resellers, who sell grey products without any warranty to gain higher margins. Most people feel vulnerable to fraudulent online sellers due to low quality or grey products, late delivery and poor customer service add to the woes of the customers. Cafegadgets worked on these pain points and has a strong direct association with more than 75 brand owners including Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, Fujifilm, Acer, Nikon, Imation, Sun Microsystems, and many more.

"The company founded in April 2007 target audience falls in the age group of 18-35 years, who are gadget savvy and hold credit cards," says Dhingra. The challenge for the 25 people strong Cafegadgets team is to maintain its USP (unique selling point), i.e. to deliver high quality branded products at best possible rates within the shortest possible time to its end customers. Satisfaction among its customer is well highlighted from the fact that 30 percent of its customers are repeat buyers. The company, which is working on technology internally, is constantly trying to innovate on the technology front to create stickiness among the customers.

Recently, Cafegadgets launched services like price and product search on mobile and social community shopping. Right now in the rat race to pool in more customers, the startup has started referral programs wherein the members can earn reward points if they recommend the site to their friends and relatives and avail huge discounts on the site by redeeming these points. "With innovation in marketing and technology, Cafegadgets has been able to acquire over 200,000 customers within a short span of time. It's difficult for any startup to leave any impression on its users unless it has a unique business model and offers value to the customers, or has the patience to wait for years. However, Cafegadgets has shown 300 percent growth amidst the economic crisis, while many e-commerce companies are finding it hard to pull on," says Dhingra.

Even though weak PC penetration, low broadband usage, reluctant credit card users, and high cost of acquisition are the major gray areas in the Indian e-commerce space, in 2008, India showed a year-on-year growth of 30 percent. Dhingra strongly believes that Indian online shopping would fast increase in the coming years. Cafegadgets, within its 18 months of inception, has already won the trust of its customers and continues to be a galloping horse riding the Indian market despite the present economic crisis.

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