One of the plus points of being an entrepreneur is that meetings are no longer inside closed doors but in a café or restaurant. However mine was more of a meeting with the Founders of Consumyze – Atul Shah and Tarun Mehta, both of whom I had met in the i5Talks and Atul had shown a keen interest in my work so he wanted to meet up.
Consumyze is an engagement platform for small businesses to connect and engage with their local and hyper-local target segments accessible using the mobile and internet. The office is located in the heart of the city on FC Road and anyone from Pune or who has been here will know what a cool place it is. We had a bit of interaction in their cozy office and after that Atul took me to the nearest restaurant along with Tarun. While ordering my filter coffee, I wrapped up my story with Lighthouse Insights and I wanted to know more about Consumyze and how difficult is it to work with the SME’s in Pune. By the way, for the rest of my article, I am going to call SME as Local Business (LB). A great advice offered to me by Atul who felt that it is bit harsh to call them small as they are doing good work in their arena. Consumyze was initially built keeping in mind to be a product-based company that would focus on the analytics for LB’s. Initial few months were tough with this business model as LB’s had couple of problems. One, LB’s were not ready to open up to strangers and second they were also not ready to share the data if they had assembled it, said Tarun.
Relationship is always the key for LB’s and coming from a Gujarati family, Atul knew it very well. So moving ahead they pivoted the model slightly and now they are focusing on giving support to LB’s initially and trying to build relationship and educate the market too. So the obvious question was does that mean that building an analytics product is off the shelf. Tarun said that it is very well there in our roadmap. “We are trying to support customers, help them realize how important is customer data and in a way lead to gather all this data and generate value and show the worth to our clients.”
But then it is not an easy job and neither it is going to happen pretty soon. Atul said that it is not at all an easy market and they are well aware that they are working at the grass root level. However if they can crack a handful of early adopters then the road ahead is not that difficult. Rest we are driven by our passion to help LB’s.
By the time we were sipping our hot drinks and the discussion was getting quite intense. Tarun meanwhile made some blunt but true facts about what are the biggest problems with LB’s market:
a) They don’t have any clue why is data so important, forget about they knowing who are their loyal customers.
b) There is an insufficient knowledge in LB’s. They are doing ten different things simultaneously because some one told them to create a website and they have created, someone said that register on JustDial and they have done and now they have a Facebook page with no clue what to do.
c) It doesn’t matter to them where their target customer is if they have heard that Facebook page is doing wonders then they will open a Facebook page and expect for wonders to happen.
Along with this Tarun emphasized that social media is not being used effectively. As for LB’s the objective to be present in any channel including social media is to make sales. They are not bothered with the number of likes or comments. For them the real question is that how many people who have liked my content are going to visit my shop. Tarun also stressed upon the fact that the discount or coupon model doesn’t work for LB’s because their purchasing power is anyway limited so how is it possible for them to provide coupons at regular intervals.
The argument that Tarun placed before me was similar to mine when very early in my Lighthouse days, I had the same ones too. So does that mean social media is not effective for LB’s?
It’s not that bad as they have found some early adopters now in the Pune market, added Atul. He shared an example where one of his clients who runs a Reebok franchise is ready to walk to the customer doors and provide service. There is one more client story that Atul shared that had a hand phone number displayed on his shop. So as a customer if you want to get updates, just register your number and one could get great service.
I argued that why not display your social presence on shops too, may be the customer won’t be interested but his family members might want to have a look. Driving of offline traffic to online and vice versa should be focused on. Customers may not buy things then and there but they might keep you in mind if you provide good service. Both the co-founders also stressed upon this thought that 10% discount hardly matters today but what matters for LB’s is good service and that in return will lead to positive word of mouth.
Along with this, Atul shared the problems in the franchise market too. We wrote about this on the same lines some time back too. Franchises have loads of restrictions and along with that there is a pressure of increasing sales. So even this is a market that Consumyze wants to tap in and try to help them out.
We spoke for a while and believe me both the gentlemen impressed me with their passion. You walk in to any social media conference today you will find the gurus talking about how much potential LB market has but I have hardly seen them doing anything. I found the guys at Consumyze really working at the grass root level and not only they are trying to set themselves but they are supporting clients with their day to day work, assisting them in data, content on social media sites, etc.
I am planning to dig deep in the LB market in the next few weeks and try to find out what LB business owners think about social media in Pune, how do they perceive it and is it really been effective for them or is it turning of no use to them.
Does it excite you and how challenging do you think is the LB market. Do share your experiences in the below comments section.