Ed-tech, OTT platforms bring about 30% of our revenue: GoPaisa's Ankita Jain

Jain discusses how the changing consumer behaviour fuelled the platform’s growth.

One of the early players in the cashback and rewards category functioning within the e-commerce space in India, product and offer aggregator platform was co-founded by the husband-wife duo of Aman Jain and Ankita Jain in 2012. The bootstrapped start-up has come a long way, with the platform currently recording more than three million user interactions daily. For online retailers, the platform acts as a massive ground for the promotion of their products and related deals. With an association of over 1,000 brands across categories, has already distributed over Rs 50 crore plus as cashback over the years.

Having co-founded GoPaisa at the young age of 23, Jain was awarded the tag of the Youngest Female Entrepreneur, in addition to bagging the ‘Unconventional Women entrepreneur of the Year’ award for her fresh marketing perspectives and take on traditional norms of media as CMO. The brains behind the brand’s popular ‘Don’t be a Kaddu’ TV campaign that emphasised its core philosophy of “Why wait for discounts when you can get Cashback every time you shop”, Jain has always sought to go beyond demographics in defining and engaging consumers, in context with the brand proposition. The app already flaunts a portfolio of reputed brands including Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Ajio, OnePlus, mamaearth, Oneplus, 1mg, Norton, etc., and is present across key categories like BFSI, Fashion, Medicines, Grocery, Personal care, travel, digital products. Her ultimate dream is to make GoPaisa synonymous with ‘shopping’.

‘Bridging the gap between a solution and a seeker’ is a concept that always intrigued Jain. Expanding further on this premise, the scope for a more user-friendly platform that also enables extra income for users was identified. And thereof was born the couple’s new baby- the deal-sharing platform, Earnly. The latest entrant in the E-commerce space aims to eliminate all the technical challenges of affiliate marketing, by introducing an easy-to-use platform tailored to users who want to earn extra money by sharing curated online retailer deals.

IndianTelevision’s Anupama Sajeet had an in-depth chat with GoPaisa CMO & cofounder Ankita Jain about the growth of GoPaisa during the pandemic, the company's new platform, Earnly, and what it plans to achieve through micro-influencer marketing.

Edited excerpts…

On the GoPaisa business model

We started back in 2012 when e-commerce was at a nascent stage. We had a tough task explaining our business model when we approached brands, for they would demand to know ‘what is it that our marketing agencies cannot do, that you can’. It is all about performance marketing- we only charge for sales, as we realise that at the end of the day it’s the conversion that matters. It's not about the number of clicks or traffic, for these are fictitious by nature, and until and unless it leads to conversion it is of no use.

Eventually, it became easier with big brands coming onboard- first was Snapdeal then we had Flipkart and Amazon. We work on a ‘cost per converted unit’ basis with the brands, which could differ from brand to brand. For some brands, the converted unit could mean the actual sales transaction. For some others, the premium paid or a credit card dispatched could be the converted unit, instead of sales.

On the impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviour

Our total traffic has gone up in the aftermath of the pandemic. Another major difference that I noted during this phase is the trend of adoption of new brands, unlike pre-pandemic, where people were hesitant and more comfortable with their ‘safe’ purchases from known brands like Parachute or Dove. The pandemic has changed that. Especially in tier-3, tier-4 markets, consumer behaviour has changed drastically. They have come online and are open to experimenting - ready to try new products from relatively newer brands like, say, a mamaearth’s onion hair oil or a beard cream from Beardo, which previously did not have penetration in these markets. The learning curve of the customer has been phenomenal and the entire gamut of D2C brands post-pandemic is the result of this.

Since we work with all these brands, we completely know where the trend is now shifting. We closed the financial year with Rs 15 crore revenue. We are growing 15-20 per cent month-on-month. So based on sheer numbers we have performed quite well in the last year and a half.

Also, there is this whole new category of products that has sprouted during the pandemic- digital products. By that, I mean the ed-tech platforms, OTT platforms, which comprise 30 per cent of our revenue. Right now our top five categories would be medicines, digital products, electronics, and furniture.

On the marketing & advertising media mix adopted by the digital-centric brand

Influencer content marketing has always been a major part of the Gopaisa marketing plan, along with the traditional digital advertising through Google, Facebook, etc. We did a small trial campaign on TV and then we went ahead with a marketing split of 50-50 between TV & digital mediums. Initially, we did TV advertising for three years, mostly during the festive season, so that we are assured of ROI on it. I wouldn’t say the ROI that we got on TV was bad. That’s also the reason why we plan to get the TV back in our marketing mix this quarter itself. But print and radio not so much.

On the platform’s consumer demographics

Our audience age group usually ranges from 18 to 34 years, with the core being from 24 to 34 years. Till last year 60 per cent of our consumers were from metros and 40 per cent were from non-metro cities. However, now the skew is towards non-metro. This is more so after we initiated regional marketing assignments, where we tied up with local micro-influencers from different regions and different languages like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi for influencer marketing. That’s when we began seeing increasing returns from the tier 3, tier 4 towns.

On influencer marketing & the idea behind Earnly

As a policy, we did not approach the big influencers, instead, we tried the local influencers with a limited following. These influencers had high relatability and also had the tracking factor of their audience. We saw that the reach of these micro-influencers was phenomenal. But still, they did not make money. Because the branding deals only went to the top five per cent, and brands do not grant marketing budgets to micro-influencers.

So how can they make money? And that is how we arrived at the idea of Earnly. With this new platform, they can actually commercialise their marketing efforts. And they rightfully ought to, for they make good sales through their video promotions of deals etc. When people see individuals like themselves, from a similar stratum of society or having a similar mindset, they buy due to the relatability aspect. Hence, we want to open up our entire gamut of 1,500 brands to these kinds of influencers with Earnly.

On the USP of Gopaisa & Earnly platforms

While competition has always been there in this space, our USP has been to work from an analytics angle. With advanced analytical tools, advertisers now have the freedom to pay for achieved results. We also understand the fact that we cannot be bombarding the customer with all 1,500 odd brands. So, for us to understand our customer is very important. Hence, we work a lot on our data analytics, which helps us to give the right offer to the customer at the right time. For that, we capture all the footprints that he/ she makes while or before making a transaction. So, ours is a very analytics-driven approach. And that is why our customer loyalty is high. Gopaisa has amassed 3.5 million subscribers as of today and with Earnly, we plan to cross 30,000 to 40,000 users by the end of this quarter.

On the challenges ahead for the new e-commerce platform

For three months, Earnly was in a Beta stage and we have already onboarded a thousand plus influencers to the platform, so the response has been really good. Right now, our main challenge is how fast we can spread the word. We have some campaigns going live on Earnly with big brands going on right now, and we are doing a lot of barter deals, where we can get the micro influencers’ costs for the product covered. We have negotiated with the brands such that the entire product cost, and commission- in cases when sales happen- is paid for by the brand so that there are zero investment charges for the influencer.

It is said that 21 days is what it takes to build a habit. So in terms of consumer behaviour shift to shopping online- habit formation has happened. Because people are just too used to it plus the advantages of the price and the convenience of not having to step out. More so, one’s everyday routine requirements- it has shifted from offline to online, which is a major shift in consumer behaviour and which is here to stay I think.

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