Last week Groupon India was again in the news and this time it was for some good news. Finally Groupon India has re-branded itself from SoSasta.com to Crazeal.com. Since the day Groupon acquired SoSasta, things were really not working in its way. First the big news of SoSasta database being hacked, second the media backlash that acquisition was a failure, third Groupon all of a sudden removing its logo from the SoSasta’s website and finally the ongoing battle to get the Groupon India domain. But Groupon India has kept all these things behind and recently issued a statement that it has re-branded itself to Crazeal.com. The shift also reflected in the management heads. Ankur Warikoo has been appointed as the new CEO of Crazeal and under his leadership, the world’s biggest daddy of group buying deals site is trying to revive its Indian venture.
To know more about Crazeal and the road ahead, we got in touch with Ankur for an email interview. Ankur who is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business, an entrepreneur and has been associated with Groupon India for a while now shares his thoughts below:
1. Hi Ankur! Thanks for talking to us. As the CEO of Crazeal, what do you think about the news that Groupon India is now Crazeal.com?
These are exciting times for us as we launch Groupon’s India unit. The team at Crazeal is excited to launch the new site. Starting things off, we have a new leadership in place and will also be having sales directors appointed across regions. Secondly, we are moving to the global Groupon technology platform to provide consumers with a safe and secure purchasing environment. Lastly, there will be an upshift in the quality of our deals. Consumers will have a choice of quality merchants to choose from including Claridges, Domino’s, Café Coffee Day and Crowne Plaza among others. Our model is based on the one pioneered by Groupon Inc. (USA) and the look and feel of the site is aligned as well.
2. From Sosasta to Crazeal, the re-branding brings in a lot of challenges from the past for you, how do you see them? And how do you plan to create a bright future for Crazeal too?
Any transition in business is not easy but with our new leadership team in place, quality customer service, great merchants with fantastic deals, we are confident of connecting with our consumers. Crazeal is here for the long run, we are fully investing in building this brand in India and we are confident of becoming a great service to use and a fantastic place to work at.
3. It is still in beta and when I last checked it has already been setup for eleven cities. I am sure the count will grow but are you considering when you are adding cities for deals to the list?
Our deals are currently live across eleven cities. As we strengthen our presence in these cities, our focus remains on building strong relationships with merchants to provide people with something fun to do with friends and family in their city. We have on board a passionate bunch of marketing consultants who are scoping out quality, premium merchant partners around the country. Our expansion across cities will happen as we see demand rising in other cities.
4. Group buying sites are sprouting every now and then in all corners of the Indian market. What will Crazeal bring in apart from being a Groupon India?
It’s flattering for us to see so many companies inspired by the model pioneered by Groupon, but we bring the global domain knowledge that has helped us establish the brand the world over. Our focus really is to gain consumer mindshare and confidence and become a ‘lifestyle enabler’ – when consumers wake up in the morning, we want them to use Crazeal.com to find answers to that one question – what do I do today? We run our business by strong principles that we call the Ten Commandments and the first and most important one is – we never offer deals we personally believe we will not buy hence always offering the best to our consumers. Quality and unique deals is what we promise our customers.
5. Crazeal has also ramped up its social presence especially on Facebook with amazing engagement with fans. How are you using social media and will it be one of the magic wands to revive the future of Groupon India?
Being in the internet industry, Groupon Inc. and Crazeal knows the value that social media brings to consumer engagement. One of our ten commandments is to listen more than we speak. Social media is an important channel that helps us listen to our consumers on a constant basis, especially about what kinds of deals they liked/disliked and the dream deals they’d like to see. It allows us to stay in touch with our consumers’ pulse and we love to stay connected so we can innovate continuously.
6. Finally, Social Commerce is expanding and will grow big in India. What are your thoughts and how do you see this growth?
The fact that Indian market has seen so many clones turn up is a strong indicator of the fact that the India opportunity is hot. Our member base is fast increasing and our 40% return rate among members is another reason for merchants to come to us. Quality of deals and customer service will be important drivers in the market. As internet penetration increases and cost of phones and computers reduces, we will see a rise in the consumption of social commerce offerings. This is the right time for us to be in India and with our long term view of opportunities here, we are confident of delivering the ultimate Crazeal experience.
Indeed these are exciting times for Indians and thanks Ankur for talking to us. However, the road ahead won’t be an easy ride for Crazeal as it is going to get stiff competition from players such as Snapdeal, etc. Apart from the competition, Crazeal will also have to get lucrative deals other than 10% discount on spas, a trustworthy customer support online and offline as well to earn the lost goodwill.
So do you think Crazeal will be able to attract Indian customers and what are your thoughts on the group buying sites that are proliferating in the Indian market?