Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 5780
, Published on 03 April 2014
One of the biggest markets in India is the marriage market which is estimated to be Rs.250 billion. There is a new way to seek grooms and brides for marriage rather a traditional way of doing it with marriage brokers, newspaper advertisement, etc. This new beginning is through the online matrimonial sites and now this new style is eating away the share of old ones. A study undertaken by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in 2013 says that Indian matrimonial business will be acquiring a market size of $1500 crore in 2017 and it is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 65 per cent. This is a tremendous growth.
Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, kongsky
The growth of online matrimonial sites is mainly because of the wide variety of choices, convenience, time saving and efficiency. During the year 2012-2013 about 50-55 million registered their profiles in the matrimonial sites and 2.5 million uploaded their profiles per month. Figure 1 shows the gender based usage of matrimonial sites and figure 2 shows the age group split up of those using matrimonial sites and it shows that the most using category of people are from the age group of 25-35 years with 54% because that is the age when both male and female get married and so that is the right time for them to choose their better-half.
Players in this market:
The most important player in this market with a market share of 40% is Bharat Matrimony.com which was created by Mr.Murugavel Janakiraman as a hobby in 1997. The other players in the market are Jeevansathi.com, Shaadi.com and others.
Bharat Matrimony – A brief history
BharatMatrimony.com was started by Mr.Murugavel Janakiraman, a software consultant who moved back to India from the US in 1997 during the dotcom boom and started Bharat Matrimony.com as a hobby. His initial vision was to build a simple website in his spare time which targeted the Tamil community with a small matrimonial section that encouraged users to put up bride and groom profiles. He started this with no clear business model in mind. He sent emails to his friends and relatives to inform about his new website other than that he did not use any of the other advertisement tools to advertise his website. He never expected that Bharat Matrimony would grow into such a big matrimonial service and now it is the India’s No.1 online matrimonial site. It has captured a place in the minds of the people such that if you say the word matrimony people will remember it as only as “Bharat Matrimony”. Today name a service which an online matrimony can provide or you expect it to provide, it will be there in Bharat Matrimony. This success is because it started with a core product as online matrimony website but it has developed its core product to the augmented product level by including more number of services. All the needs of brides and grooms for their marriage starting from the selection of their life partner till the clothing and accessories for the marriage can be fulfilled by Bharat Matrimony. It can be called as “one stop solution for all the wedding needs”. Bharat Matrimony used “Blue ocean strategy” to achieve this growth. It has got ISO 9001:2008 certified for design, development, implementation and customer care.
How does the Bharat Matrimony.com operates :
• By filling the registration form on the Bharat Matrimony.com a profile can be created which is free.
• Then verification service will verify the profile and authenticate the profile.
• Then the partner search option provides six different types of search option such as: Regular search, Advanced search, SoulMate search, Keyword search, Who’s online, search by Id.
• Contact options varies between the paid and free customer services such as Availability status in online, sending mail and others is available only for the paid customers.
Online Services (Click) :
Community matrimony services: It is useful for searching in a particular community
Regional matrimony services: It is provided for regions such as Hindi Matrimony, Tamil Matrimony, etc. There are 15 regional matrimony domains of Bharat Matrimony.
Free services: It provides free services to fulfill the basic need such as creating a profile and viewing others profile, searching grooms and brides.
Premium services : For upgrading the profile for a better look the premium has to be paid. There are several payment packages such as: Classic, Classic premium and Assisted Matrimony
Add-on services : Add-on’s like Profile highlighter – to highlight a profile in the search results and Astro match- to find the matching horoscope profile are also provided.
Services for affulents : Elite Matrimony is provided for rich and affluent customers.
Other services: wedding gift for brides and grooms and the gifts which will be given to friends and relatives in the marriage can be ordered in bulk through Bharat matrimony itself.
Offline Services (Brick):
Bharat Matrimony which is the market leader in online matrimony ventured into offline matrimony in 2005 to satisfy the needs of those who do not have internet access. So far it has more than 170 branch offices in various cities across India. These branches provides credibility, comfort and convenience (3Cs) and these branches are provided with the air-conditioned facility which offers a pleasing ambience, clean & tidy space, comfortable seating & user-friendly infrastructure which makes the customer feel safe and confident that they have come to the right place for planning their future. Each branch is provided with a customer service personnel and an expert counselor. By starting these branches it has become “High Tech- High Touch”. High-tech is that it has a technology- rich website with exciting and affordable services and High-Touch is that Bharat Matrimony Centers provides a chance to interact with its customers face-to-face thus helps to understand their expectations and needs. It is expecting to have 300 branches in the near future. It has also branches in United States, UAE, UK and in Canada. The main concentration of offline venture is to cater to the needs of low profile customers by charging less premium for service. The potential of low profile customers were high which led the Bharat Matrimony to venture into the brick concept.
• Registering the profile by filling the form and choosing the package.
• Membership card will be provided and then you have to meet the counselor, who will understand the requirements and helps you to choose among various profiles.
• Short listing and selecting the profiles based on your choice and getting it printed along with contact details as hard copy for further proceedings.
• Using the membership card any number of times customers can walk into any center of Bharat Matrimony within the membership period.
M - Commerce :
Bharat Matrimony has recently launched the Bharat Matrimony mobile apps for Android, Windows mobile. These apps are free to download and user friendly. These apps lets the people to stay connected, browse through the profile anytime and anywhere, gives appropriate notifications, provides facilities such as Magic Match, just by shaking the mobile the app gets a new match for the profile and lets you to connects to it.
Bharat matrimony has gone one step ahead in their marketing technique; they have launched their own internet television channel which is BharatMatrimony.tv, it has various features such as:
• Video polls: polls conducted to the public to know their opinions about marriage age and other marriage related stuffs.
• Trends: Latest collections for brides and grooms.
• Happily ever after: It shows the stories of couples and their successful marriage life who got married through bharatmatrimony.com.
• Expert advice: Interview with experts about the marriage accessories or other issues related to marriage.
• Celebrity weddings : It shows the marriage of the celebrities one such celebrity marriage which is currently shown is the Olympic boxer Mr.Vijender Singh’s marriage with Ms.Archana
• Honeymoon spots: It is the most favorite feature to most of the about-to marry couples. Various ideal honeymoon spots can be selected by the couples based on their likes and dislikes.
A simple matrimony website which was started out of hobby turned to be one of the renowned matrimonial services across the globe. The main success of Bharat matrimony is its ability to keep up its services technology-rich, user friendly and offered at right price for the right person at the right place in the right time and the ability to satisfy the emerging needs of younger generation. It is not remaining myopic towards the market, it has included all the new technology in its services to make the customer feel easy to reach and easy to use.
This article has been authored by Krithika.T.V from Thiagarajar School of Management