Price comparison service for mobile handsets PriceBaba has introduced online price comparison and extended its service to four new cities: Chennai, Hyderabad, Baroda and Surat. With this PriceBaba now serves 11 cities across India, listing over 1500 local merchants across these cities. The PriceBaba website also mentions that they are looking to expand to Kolkata shortly. The company, which claims to receive over 3.5 million users every month, also has on-ground presence in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
Some of the e-commerce sites currently featured on the site include Flipkart, Amazon India, Infibeam and TheElectronicStore.in among others. The company claims that it will offer users price comparisons from 10 online retailers by the end of this month.
In October 2012, PriceBaba had partnered with 55444 (Innoz Technologies) enabling users to research prices in their vicinity via SMS. Users across India could send an SMS ‘#PriceBaba <handset name>’ to 55444 to search for the best bargain price of the mobile handset.
Founded in May 2012 by Ankur Agarwal and Tirthesh Ganatra, PriceBaba had raised an undisclosed amount from 500 Startups’ India-focused fund 500 StartupWallah and was looking to overall raise $3 million in Series A funding, in January last year. It had earlier raised an undisclosed amount of seed investment from five investors in January 2013. The company was also part of 500 Startups’ spring 2013 batch.
– MySmartPrice had launched its price comparison service on WhatsApp, based on a non-official WhatsApp API available on GitHub, in September last year. Users simply need to add +91 9332222222 to their WhatsApp contact list. Then they can message the product name and MySmartPrice will reply back with a list of prices for the requested product and other similar products.
– Last year in August, Amazon’s price comparison site Junglee.com, which had introduced direct purchases via its website in May last year, added a number of e-commerce platforms including Jabong, Myntra, Lenskart, BabyOye, Zansaar, and HealthKart among others as sellers.
– Justdial also offers product prices from local merchants, as part of its Search Plus suite of services. Users can sort results based on location, distance, user ratings and price. They can then click on the ‘Buy Now’ button on their preferred product listing, provide the delivery address, enter the code sent by JustDial to their mobile phone and make the payment.
Nikhil adds: When Pricebaba began, it began by aggregating only offline retailers, something that is costly to do and difficult to scale. I’m reminded, here, of this Paul Graham post on building a business, where he says “Do the things that don’t scale”.
Another example: What Deepinder Goyal said recently about Zomato’s competitive advantage, “I think our biggest advantage compared to any of our competitors is that we have a field sales force. We actually meet business owners and then sell the ad space so even if somebody is not educated and savvy enough about tech and the Internet, we are able to educate them about these things.” Zomato’s parent company, Info Edge, has over a thousand people doing offline sales for job listings on Naukri.com.
Pricebaba’s competitive advantage is that it has built out that difficult-to-build price comparison business for offline retail across cities, while its competitors focused on the relatively easier online retail bit. Now by integrating online retail, it now offers its visitors what everyone else offers, and offline retail. That will be difficult to compete with.