Gifting made easy

Gifting made easy

Consumer Tech

A pioneer in introducing the digital gifting card, Amazon India investee Qwikcilver, has recently launched Woohoo.in, an aggregator of gift coupons to further cater to the consumer side of gifting

There are few thrills that match that of receiving a gift. But for the person doing the gifting it can be a nightmarish process to weed out interests and pick something suitable. Gift coupons are great way out for those gifting as the recipient can choose what they would like instead of being given something they have little use for.

While gift coupons have been around for a while, Qwikcilver, founded in 2009 in Bengaluru, pioneered the concept of e-gift coupons. TP Pratap, co-founder and chief marketing officer, recollects how the process of getting a gift coupon was tedious. “We felt there was a gap in the market for gifting and believed that a technology-based solution would help the marketing of retail brands,” he explains.

Kumar Sudarshan, founder and director, and two other friends from BITS Pilani, developed the gifting technology. “The first customer was Rex Fashions in Chennai who took pity on a bunch of guys with a new idea,” Pratap recollects. The first national customer was also Chennai-based Landmark. “We had to do a lot of pavement pounding to sign up our initial customers. Some large retailers believed they could do it internally, but have subsequently acknowledged our domain expertise and signed us on as their gifting technology partner,” he adds. Of note, Pratap states that the gifting industry is expected to clock revenues of Rs. 5,00,000 crore this fiscal and the potential it holds is immense.

Humble beginnings

The company started as a six-member team and was bootstrapped with contributions from friends and family who believed in the concept. Subsequently, it managed to raise seed funding from Helion Venture Partners and Accel Partners, who also participated in the round that followed in December 2014. Amazon India also invested in the second round. “Our investors have been with us through every stage of development and are here for the long haul and are willing to invest further should the need arise,” says Pratap.

The company’s team has grown to 250 this year, up from 125, last year. It covers 400 cities and towns and has 10,000 points of sale across 100 leading brands, both online and offline. The company also has business offices in six cities across India.

The product roadmap

At the start of things, Qwikcilver’s gift vouchers required signatures from a store manager and in time, the company eased the process to generate vouchers at the cash counter. The next stage included launching e-gift vouchers that could be shipped to the recipients in different cities. The technology was then extended to allow gift vouchers to be used through mobile and recently released mobile apps from Qwikcilver has made using its vouchers extremely easy.

While these vouchers are released from the retailer’s end, for consumers, Qwikcilver has launched Woohoo.in, a website where gift vouchers from any of its retail partners can be availed. A Woohoo card which is business-neutral has also been released. That is, the giver can specify the amount but not the store and the recipient can visit any of the partner stores online or offline and utilise the card. Additionally, the outlets of the company’s retail partners have kiosks so that consumers can generate vouchers on their own.

Up ahead

The company has seen growth in the number of gift vouchers from two million transactions per month, six months ago, to three million at present and expects this to touch 5.5 million by this year-end. “Gift voucher adoption is one of our largest focus areas. We will be reaching out to corporates since they have a large gifting culture. “We expect this to create greater visibility as the recipients will be individuals,” shares Pratap.

His confidence on the company’s technology, which was built to be robust, is near supreme. “The brand managers can initiate our gifting programmes without the need for the IT departments to intervene,” he quips. Importantly, Qwikcilver provides an end-to-end solution right from technology, design, warehousing to shipping, which makes it a desirable partner for retailers.

In the coming year, the company plans to add 1,000 new brands on its platform and also enter Asia Pacific and Middle East markets over the next two years. From Rs 1,500 crore this year,Qwikcilver expects to touch US $1 billion in the next three years.


Snapshot 

Qwikcilver 

Founders: Kumar Sudarshan, TP Pratap

Year: 2009

Investors: Helion Ventures, Accel Partners, Amazon.in

Industry: Gifting with a specialisation in e-gifting


GIFT COUPON AGGREGATION

Realising the difficulty people have in choosing an appropriate gift, Qwikcilver, created a technology platform that makes it easy for retail brands to create instant gift vouchers that can also be emailed or shipped to the intended recipient. Founded by Kumar Sudarshan and TP Pratap and funded by Helion Ventures and Accel Partners (participated in the seed and subsequent rounds) and Amazon India in the second round, the company now has 400 retail brands as its partners and expects it to grow to 1,000 this year. The number of transactions is also expected to grow from 3 million per month to 5.5 million a month. The company has also launched Woohoo.in, a gift coupon aggregation site where consumers can gift a coupon either from one retail store or use a card that gives the recipient freedom to shop in any of the partner stores, online or offline.

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.

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