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The most striking thing about QuikrCars is how ancient and me too its business model is. Despite Ranveer Singh.

To appreciate this, you must pore over, in absolute minute detail, the various avenues through which QuikrCars is hoping to make money. Simply, follow the money. Up front, let’s kick free listings out the door. Their presence serves a simple purpose—volume and web traffic. Let’s pick the company’s sales pitch to used car dealers in India. To get them on board as members on the website. A snapshot of an emailed pitch below:

Selling membership packages to car dealers is the oldest trick in town.

It requires no imagination; no technology disruption either. The strategy feeds off a salesman with a phonebook of dealers and a phone to make calls and seek appointments. Any conversion is followed up with feet on the ground. At the heart of this strategy, is a virtuous cycle that feeds off itself. People visiting the website looking to buy used cars fuel car dealers on the platform selling their wares. And vice versa. As simple as that.

The middleman, the website, hopes to make money off the seller.

To the individual seller, the middleman offers a premium subscription. Pay Rs 50, Rs 500 or Rs 1000, and we assure you that your car will be sold in 90 days. If anyone searches for that specific car model, your car will be at the top of the search result. Don’t go away, we are also throwing in a free, 30-point health check up of your car. Once your car is certified by us, chances of a quick sale will go up 10X. You want better? Pay Rs 1000 plus a little more, that will make your advertisement both premium and urgent. That will give you the top position on the category page. And a star.

You buy into it, upload four pictures and wait for calls.

For a dealer or a small business, the process remains pretty much the same. You have a lot of cars and motorcycles to sell. Buy this pack from Quikr:

You like a pack, you buy it and wait for calls.

This business is called selling leads. It has been around for a decade and more. CarWale made a business out of it, got acquired for Rs 590 crore and still does it. CarTrade (MXC Solutions) does it, also the company, which acquired Carwale. CarDekho does it, which has been around since 2008 and is the second largest company in this space, by turnover. It is also the company, which acquired ZigWheels and Gaadi.com.

AUTHOR

Ashish K. Mishra

Ashish edits and writes stories at The Ken. Across subjects. In his last assignment, he was a Deputy Editor at Mint, a financial daily published by HT Media. At the paper, he wrote long, deeply reported feature stories. His earlier assignments: Forbes India magazine and The Economic Times. Born in Kolkata. Studied in New Delhi – B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Works out of anywhere, where there is a good story to be told.

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