We use so­cial me­dia as a per­for­mance medium and keep a close track on met­rics like vis­its to site, con­ver­sion, unique and new cus­tomers driven to web­site through var­i­ous so­cial me­dia ini­tia­tives”

InformationWeek - - Interview - Sachin Ka­pur CMO, Groupon In­dia Srikanth RP srikanth.rp@ubm.com

What role does tech­nol­ogy play in mar­ket­ing? Groupon is a unique tech­nol­ogy com­pany that lever­ages tech­nol­ogy and lo­cal mar­ket knowl­edge to give cus­tomers a great deal ev­ery sin­gle day. The great thing is that it works the same way across the globe from Chicago (where it all started) to Paris, Delhi or any of the 48 coun­tries where we are present. One of the ma­jor rea­sons be­hind this is tech­nol­ogy. We built one plat­form and repli­cated the same across 47 coun­tries giv­ing us a tremen­dous ad­van­tage while scal­ing op­er­a­tions to a global level. Be­yond that we have cen­tral­ized tech­nol­ogy teams that help build one tech­nol­ogy and lever­age it across con­ti­nents mak­ing it more ag­ile and easy to de­ploy. We even have lo­cal teams that work on de­vel­op­ing lo­cal en­hance­ments and plug-ins that are unique to a mar­ket. One good ex­am­ple is that In­dia is per­haps the only coun­try in the Global Groupon Port­fo­lio to have a COD (Cash on De­liv­ery) op­tion in the pay­ment gate­way. How have you lever­aged IT to help Groupon In­dia grow? Groupon In­dia fo­cuses a lot on mer­chants. We know that if we have the best qual­ity mer­chants on the plat­form, the cus­tomers are bound to fol­low. As a re­sult most of our fo­cus right now is to en­sure that we max­i­mize the re­turn for a mer­chant who is fea­tur­ing with us. We have a mer­chant mo­bile app that al­lows mer­chants with mul­ti­ple out­lets to ver­ify and book the cus­tomer redemp­tions quickly. We have a site called “The Groupon Mer­chant Cen­ter” to al­low mer­chants to get feed­back from cus­tomers and even know ex­actly how much money they are mak­ing on Groupon. All this comes for free and has helped us work with some of the big­gest brands in the coun­try in­clud­ing the likes of Radis­son, Crowne Plaza, Hil­ton etc. How do you make tech­nol­ogy de­ci­sions and in­vest­ments? Tech­nol­ogy de­ci­sions at Groupon hap­pen at two lev­els — global and lo­cal. The ma­jor tech­nolo­gies are de­vel­oped cen­trally. How­ever, the lo­cal crack teams build ap­pli­ca­tions that are unique to re­quire­ments of an in­di­vid­ual coun­try. One such ex­am­ple is lo­cal.groupon.co.in that is built to help peo­ple in In­dia lo­cate a deal closer to where they are. Can you give us a brief view of your dig­i­tal me­dia strat­egy in­clud­ing so­cial me­dia? How does the com­pany en­gage it­self with its cus­tomers us­ing so­cial me­dia?

Dig­i­tal me­dia is where our big­gest spends are fo­cused. We fo­cus mainly on per­for­mance-based ad­ver­tis­ing and hardly look at brand­ing. Brand­ing is left to other me­dia in­clud­ing ex­pe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing pro­grams that help cus­tomers get a close in­ter­ac­tion with the brand and peo­ple be­hind it. Even so­cial me­dia is not just an en­gage­ment medium that is used to man­age cus­tomer griev­ances. We ac­tu­ally use it as a per­for­mance medium and keep a close track on the met­rics like vis­its to site, con­ver­sion, unique and new cus­tomers driven to web­site through var­i­ous so­cial me­dia ini­tia­tives. How do you see the role of IT in driv­ing busi­ness for the or­ga­ni­za­tion and in trans­form­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion? IT has helped us work with some of the big­gest brands in the coun­try. This has re­sulted in cus­tomers com­ing back to us in big num­bers and Groupon be­com­ing the num­ber one deals com­pany within a year of launch­ing op­er­a­tions in In­dia.

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