Hooking the Indian Market on Cashback


One of the most common memories that any Indian would relate to would be when our mothers go grocery shopping. After bargaining vociferously and completing the transaction (sometimes, at half the price) they confidently ask the vendor – “Add some Dhaniya and Hari Mirch extra”!

This is the best summation of the Indian psyche and attitude. We love freebies and discounts and revel in just a little ‘extra’! The rise of ecommerce has actually institutionalized savings. It’s not an expectation but a given, most people consider online shopping to be synonymous with buying cheaper anyway.

It’s certainly true that with exponential growth, there has come a massive shift in the buying habits of  people, and Indian online stores have managed to capture the fancy of global investors. However, when compared to international markets, the Indian ecommerce industry is still small and that is also where the great Indian opportunity lies. Bezos & Zuckerberg coming to India, Tatas getting into ecommerce – these are all just glimpses of what the future holds, and perhaps also side-effects of the Modi-wave!

The CashKaro.com Concept & Journey

When Rohan and I started our Cashback business Pouring Pounds in the UK in 2011, we always knew that we had to bring it to India once ecommerce here had ‘taken off’. With that in mind we launched CashKaro.com in April 2013 and we’ve not looked back. Our initial steps involved explaining to partner retailers how the  Cashback model is so successful in the West, and slowly we got over 500 partner ecommerce sites including all the popular ones like Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong, makemytrip, Dominos. Earlier this year Amazon.in also approached us to partner which was great because globally Amazon had never worked with Cashback sites before.

Digital and Affiliate Marketing is at the heart of CashKaro.com’s business model and that’s the sphere we are pioneering in India. Given our tie-up with ecommerce sites, we get paid commission for every sale that we drive to them. So if you visit one of our partner sites via CashKaro.com and shop, we get paid commission and from that we give you Cashback. Best part is that you earn Cashback on top of Coupons that might already be there on an ecommerce site or even a coupon site. Furthermore, Cashback is always paid over and above bank card cashbacks, loyalty rewards etc. For example, if you use a Cashback/Rewards credit card, our Cashback is on top of that. This ‘Extra’ nature of our Cashback is probably what makes our savings truly unique and has certainly helped in hooking the Indian consumer to Cashback! Given this irresistible combination of “more shopping, more earning”, CashKaro.com manages over 1,500 transactions a day and has credited over Rs 2.5 crores of Cashback to our valued members till date,

In particular, certain factors including the below have contributed in getting the Indian consumer hooked onto Cashback –

a. Great Cashback offers: We often give up to 25% Cashback on top of huge sales so the savings are too good to miss

b. Free Coupons: We have the latest Coupons across 500+ top sites so you can get both Cashback and Coupons in one place, making your savings the highest possible!

c. Given our UK ties, we also give Cashback and coupons on International Brands like Expedia, Hotels.com that actually have very competitive rates

d. 500+ restaurant offers in Delhi and Mumbai

e. All Cashback collects in members’ CashKaro account and can be paid to bank account. Members love this ability to get real cash back and it’s definitely a reason for why they got hooked onto CashKaro.com!

f.  Many members have come and proactively shared with me that our team is very approachable, quick to respond and they really go out of the way to ensure members are personally looked after. I think people are the strength of any business and this is certainly the case for us as well!

g. Lastly, Cashback is free money. Who wouldn’t want it?!

Raising Consumer Awareness

That said, there remains a need to raise consumer awareness in the market when it comes to Cashback. The reason is that affiliate marketing, while a dominant and mature industry in the developed countries, is still not as big in India though large players are surely emerging now. So, CashKaro.com has taken the multi-pronged route of Infographics, articles and press releases to educate the market, and high-on-humor video ads to capture consumer interest. We are also using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus to run interesting contests and increase our reach. The numbers tell us this is working!

Global precedents

Cashback as a concept has been very popular globally. In fact Ebates.com, largest Cashback site in the US was bought last month by Rakuten Japan for $1 Billion. This set a great precedent for Cashback sites globally and also a validation of the value we add as enablers of ecommerce. In the UK sites like Quidco.com are driving about 3-4% of UK ecommerce alone and the absolute numbers are even bigger! Given how much people in India love savings, and the fast growth of ecommerce there is equal if not higher potential for Cashback sites in India.

Investor interest

CashKaro has solidified and cemented its market leading position in India in the Cashback & Coupons space. We raised an angel round of $750,000 about a year back and are investing in technology to make our product even more user friendly, innovative and a one stop place for all online savings. There has always been significant investor interest in the business so we look forward to scaling up with like-minded partners.

Rohan and I love the whole Cashback idea so much ourselves that our belief obviously is reflected in the passion we have for the business. It’s a very exciting time for our business with triple digit annual growth and we know we are only just getting started!



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“Thinking Aloud” reflects the emerging trends and varied outlook of the rapidly evolving internet and communication sector. An IAMAI publication, this is a part of the market education initiative of the association.

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