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Sep, 01 2006

Shaadi Point revolutionising the matrimony industry

Shaadi Point revolutionised the matrimony industry and has made matchmaking a smarter, faster and much easier process

SHAADI.COM is the world's largest matrimonial service provider. Started in 1997, it enjoys several inherent advantages over the classified ads, providing detailed profile, multiple photographs, interactivity via chat, messaging, etc. Today, it is one of the most successful matrimonial services, with over 70 lakh members and five lakh successful marriages to its credit. It is still adding more prospective matches to its database with each passing day.

Shaadi.com works on the basis of three Ss, i.e., simple, secure, and successful. The process is divided into three steps, i.e., register, search, and contact. Registration is completely easy and free. Shaadi.com offers premium memberships - Gold, Diamond or Platinum.

Origin of Shaadi Point

In 2004 Shaadi.com launched its offline division Shaadi Point with the idea of serving the non-internet users to help them find a life partner. Shaadi Point was conceived as a chain of matrimonial service centres to help parents find a life partner for their sons and daughters. While Shaadi.com caters to the upwardly mobile and computer literate individuals, Shaadi Point handholds parents in finding suitable matches for their children from anywhere in India.

Shaadi Point revolutionised the matrimony industry and has made matchmaking a smarter, faster and much easier process. After launching its first centre at Dadar, in Mumbai, Shaadi Point has established a chain of 96 flourishing matrimonial service centres in more than 61 cities across India. Considering the growing and never-ending demand for prospective matches, Shaadi Point intends to extend its services to every nook and cranny of the country by adding more franchisees across India to be a part of its revolutionary business.

Within five years of time, Shaadi Point aims to transform the Indian matchmaking and wedding industry. The plan is to have 500 centres across the nation by March 2010. Each centre will be interconnected to a central database of prospective brides and grooms through a proprietary technology thereby creating a gigantic pool of prospects. Apart from matchmaking, every Shaadi Point centre will also offer a host of allied services like astrology, detective services, grooming services, pre-marital workshops and wedding planning.

Ensuring quality and standard

To ensure that the quality of service is at its maximum, each Shaadi Point centre at the company follows the
3-pronged approach of systems, training and monitoring.

It builds systems and processes that are easy for front line teams to follow, develop training programs to see that each of the team members is thoroughly prepared to meet and service the customer, and lastly, monitor performance closely to ensure that the systems and the training are complementary to add maximum value to the customer.

Value of the marriage market in terms of the turnover generated

The matrimonial industry, today, is worth Rs 50,000 crore in India, and is growing at a rate of 41 per cent, annually. However, two trends have emerged, which are completely changing the marriage landscape:

Youth demanding greater say in this most important life-decision; and Nuclear families weakening the social network for prospective matches

Franchising as a mode of expansion for Shaadi Point

Keeping the customer at the centre, the company contemplated of what would be the best distribution model for optimum value and service and realised that the company should take the franchising route. Matrimonial matchmaking is a very personal and sensitive matter and hence it needs extreme commitment and dedication for effective customer service. The maximum commitment and dedication comes with ownership, so it took the franchising route. Through franchising, the company created owners at every centre and hence ensured that the commitment is at its maximum.
By taking the franchising path, Shaadi Point has been able to reach 61 cities of India effectively in a short time of just two years. Today it is able to help people find a match from any corner in India sitting in the comfort of their own city. This has helped the company become the most preferred matchmaking company in the country. Currently, Shaadi Point has 96 successful franchisees. The aim is to raise this number to 250 by March 2007.

Positives and negatives of franchising environment with regard to matrimonial industry
Indian population stands at 1.2 billion (one sixth of the global population)

Almost all Indians get married

32 per cent of the Indian population is in the marriageable age group, i.e., 18 to 35 years
54 per cent of the Indian population is below the age of 25 years
Considering these statistics, it is clear that the Indian continent is the best-suited place for the matchmaking business. Franchising still a budding concept in India, and with organised matchmaking being a very recent idea, franchising in this industry is not very popular. However, it looks to be a very promising and potential business opportunity.

Qualifications for becoming a Shaadi Point franchisee
A budding Shaadi Point franchisee needs to:
Have an entrepreneurial bend of mind
Enjoy meeting new people
Be an extrovert and proactive
Be committed to the business
Have the skill to make money while helping people achieve their goals
Investment: Rs 5 to10 lakh
Semi-commercial space: 400-600 sq.ft

Shaadi Point as an organisation

The key to business at Shaadi Point lies in franchisee management, customer service and effective marketing. To make sure that the existing operational standards are being implemented and are simultaneously lifting the standards, an array of Franchisee Performance Management and Motivation Management Systems are in place.
Some of the methods used to achieve these aspects include:

  • Training
  • Customer feedback
  • Franchisee feedback
  • Skill and attitude development workshops
  • Franchise meets
  • Success replication programmes
  • Production Report Systems to ascertain customers' acceptance of services, and identifying changing customer needs
  • Key Point Indicators to measure customer satisfaction

Support provided to franchisees

Complete business know-how, access to the central database of prospective brides and grooms, staff-training and full advertising and PR support.

  • Promotional strategies followed to reach
  • to the maximum number of customers
  • To promote its local franchisees, Shaadi Point

periodically organizes unique matchmaking events called Swayamvars. Here, prospective brides and grooms get to meet each other face-to-face along with their parents. Already, over 50 such Swayamvars have been organized with over 400 participants in each event. The turnout also leads to higher registrations and business at Shaadi Point. Likewise,

pre-marital workshops are also used as a tool to generate awareness about Shaadi Point.

Challenges faced by a matrimonial service provider and peculiarities of the industry

Franchising is relatively a new business model in India and hence there are not many entrepreneurs on the lookout for franchise opportunities. This is by and large a franchising industry problem.

Having an excellent value proposition for prospects, educating them and being persistent are the solutions to this. All these aspects are very well implemented at Shaadi Point.

Achievements

Within a span of less than two years, Shaadi Point has created a national presence and was awarded by The Franchising World the 'Franchisor of the year 2005' award under the 'Consumer Services Category', and has also been rated amongst the top 20 business opportunities for 2006.

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