GrabOn: From Bootstrapped To A Million Dollar Company!
Coupon websites are a dime a dozen these days, but Hyderabad-based GrabOn has changed the game and the way we think about coupons. With a focus on creating a great user experience, genuine real-time coupons, and technology innovation, GrabOn is leading the way in this growing industry. And with 40 Million+ subscribers and an annual revenue of $4.88M as of December 2019, it’s clear that they’re doing something right!
So, in this edition of our Bootstrapped Heroes Stories, let’s dive into GrabOn’s story and see what we can learn!
Grab On: How It Started
GrabOn was founded in 2013 by Ashok Reddy.
What Inspired the Idea?
Ashok Reddy has over 15 years of experience in the technology industry and has worked with some of the world’s leading companies. The idea to create GrabOn struck when he realized the huge potential of eCommerce in India and with that, the prominence of sales and discounts.
He saw an opportunity to help people save more on their shopping. He founded the company based on his idea that there is a need for an easier way for online shoppers to compare prices and find coupons.
At Landmark IT Solutions, the parent company of GrabOn, Ashok Reddy had earlier created “Inspire Labs” where employees could discuss their startup ideas, nurture them, and kick-start their entrepreneurial journey. That’s where Ashok Reddy sat down with his colleagues and discussed the GrabOn idea with them. After too many brain-storming sessions, rejections, deletions, and revisions emerged GrabOn.
When Ashok Reddy launched GrabOn 9 years ago, he had nothing but 5 interns and a head full of dreams! Today, GrabOn is among the top 3 coupons and deals players in the industry.
GrabOn’s Revenue Model
GrabOn has been running profitably for the last few years. GrabOn’s market share in India’s deal and coupon industry is 70-80%.
Products (coupons) from GrabOn are sold through online retail channels such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal. It is based on a cost-per-sale model generating revenue through the end-user sale. Customers can redeem coupons in the app to get discounts on products. Also, affiliate marketing is used to drive traffic to product pages on these websites.
The company also gets revenue from direct partnerships with merchants and Gift Cards sale.
Lessons Brands Can Learn From GrabOn
Here are a few lessons D2C brands can learn from GrabOn!
Have a customer-centric approach
GrabOn is known for its customer-centric approach. The company’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find verified coupons and deals they need, which is why it includes a search tool and a variety of filters, with a rich tech stack.
One of the key things that makes GrabOn unique is its user interface – it is completely ad-free, with no irritating pop-ups, giving customers an excellent coupon browsing experience. And the company keeps updating its UI/UX based on customer feedback and consumer insights that they gather carefully.
One of the features added for ease of customers is the GrabOn Shop Assist. You click on it and a list of offers from the relevant merchant will drop down along with suggested deals. You can choose the one that suits your criteria and voila, money saved!
Also, GrabOn makes it extremely easy for customers to redeem offers. All of GrabOn’s products have clear instructions on how to redeem offers, making redemption a breeze. It also makes it simple for affiliates (such as bloggers) to promote deals through links or social media posts.
Create an ecosystem of partners
Aside from its user-friendly design, another thing that makes GrabOn stand out is the fact that it partners with major retailers such as Amazon, Myntra, Udemy, and more. This allows shoppers to access a greater range of deals than would be available on their own.
In fact, they were the first in the country to partner with Uber’s hot air balloon initiative during Diwali 2015.
With such partnerships, GrabOn gets an edge over other startups because it allows them to reach a wider audience more quickly. Also, affiliate marketing helps drive traffic to product pages which increases conversion rates and overall revenue. The company has also partnered with OTTs to increase its reach.
From their experience, it is evident that a strong ecosystem of partners is essential for success in the D2C space.
Keep Experimenting & Innovating
Soon after its launch, GrabOn rolled out its new feature “Buzz Me” which sends real-time notifications about the latest coupons, offers, ongoing sale deals, etc., to the users who have allowed this feature on their desktops and mobiles. This feature was launched to help shoppers decrease their time spent looking for the best coupons and deals. Buzz Me was the industry’s first notification feature.
Buzz Me by GrabOn is a great example of how brands can reduce online shopper time-to-purchase in order to improve conversion rates.
Another feature that GrabOn launched is the in-app Coupon and Cab Finder, which helps the customer find coupons directly from the GrabOn app without switching between apps.
Your team is the make-it-or-break-it factor
The GrabOn team is made up of people from different backgrounds which allows them to bring their unique knowledge to the table. This makes for a cohesive and efficient work environment, where everyone can share their expertise and help make things better for both GrabOn and its customers.
Ashok Reddy put a lot of emphasis on employee development and nurturing – from providing ample training to promoting from within. This helped him create an environment where staffers were excited about what they did, knew how to handle failures, and were passionate about creating value for their customers. Also, to make sure that the team gets the creative headroom, Ashok Reddy designed an office that anyone would want to “grab on” literally!
Another key difference at GrabOn was that they invested heavily in employee growth – both in terms of formal learning opportunities (such as intensive courses), as well as regular feedback sessions that help employees develop their skills and move up the ladder. This has helped them retain top talent, and motivate staffers to be the best they can be.
Create your branding content smartly
GrabOn’s tagline ‘Save on Everything’, is representative of the things the company wants to do i.e., help users save on anything and everything by availing the best deals, offers, and discounts. They have never used the terms “discount site”, “coupon site” etc. Rather, they have branded themselves as a brand that helps online shoppers “save on everything”.
In the end, we would just like to say that be passionate about what you do. Ashok Reddy is really passionate about his idea and sees GrabOn as an important part of Indian online shopping culture. This passion shows in the product and service offerings, as well as the strong customer base that has been built over the years. With over 25 million page views per month and more than 40 million subscribers, GrabOn is right up there with the e-Commerce giants today.
That’s all for this edition! Hope you liked this story as much as we did while writing it.
The objective of our Bootstrapped Heroes series is to show everyone that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Is there any other brand that you want us to explore as a part of this series? Let us know in the comments section below.
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