The creators of Kapuwa.com, i.e. masters dot com along with Riscor Consultants (Pvt) Limited, announced the launch of their newest e-business venture – Smartpola.lk.
“Smartpola.lk will offer attractive ‘smart deals’ on everything from pizzas from Harpo to bestsellers from Perera Hussein Publishing, Latin Dance classes at Bodybar Gym and haircuts at Kess,” Mike Masilamani of masters dot com stated.
Smartpola.lk invites subscribers to firstly ‘see smart’ i.e. check the smart deal on offer, sign on for the deal and then ‘share smart’, or share it with friends, to get the minimum numbers required and finally to ‘get smart’ i.e. benefit from the smart deal on offer .
A key feature of Smartpola.lk is that each deal turns “active” only when a minimum number of subscribers sign on for the smart deal. “In this sense it is similar to Groupon, now popular the world over - but it does not stop there”.
Smarpola.lk also allows subscribers to evaluate and grade the respective smart deals they get.
“Smartpola.lk is not merely a site to find attractive deals but also to evaluate vendors and the deals they offer. The fact that these evaluations comes from customers themselves, makes it that much more credible,” continued Mike.
“We have been looking for an opportunity to build on the learnings of Kapuwa.com which was initiated by masters dot com. Launched on Valentine’s Day 2000, Kapuwa.com was Sri Lanka’s first online dating site and demonstrated the exciting possibilities of the internet. On the very first day we got 14,000 hits which grew to 20,000 within the first three months and then went on to average 90,000 hits a day.” Kapuwa.com had registered users from Hambantota to Jaffna including Trinco, Anuradhapura and Kandy, besides Colombo. The audience was not restricted to Sri Lanka but included the USA, UK, Australia, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and even Tonga!
“Kapuwa.com is no longer run by masters dot com, but in the time it was, it was more of a social networking site than just a dating site - long before we knew the meaning of social networking,” he added.
Smartpola.lk is a collaboration with Riscor Consultants (Pvt) Limited incorporated by Chris Corea, known for its innovative software solutions including a location based tracking solution for mobile phones, on online event calendar (mostevents.lk) and online facility to translate English into Sinhala (paliha.com).
As Chris explained, “Smartpola.lk is an ideal way for businesses to get more new customers and customers to find out about great new businesses.”
As subscribers/customers share smart deals on offer, with their friends, the chances are that products or services will continue to attract new customers long after they feature on Smartpola.lk.
“It brings together buyers and sellers in a collaborative environment, offering buyer’s unbeatable deals and businesses a guaranteed sale,” added Chris.
“We are very pleased to be partnering Smartpola.lk and to have Harpo’s Pizza’s as the first deal on offer,” said well-known restaurateur Harpo Gooneratne.
It is an ideal marketing channel for offline merchants and permits business to offer even lower prices because of the guarantee of a minimum sale. It replaces cutting coupons from magazines and as it brings business in the door, increases the possibility of customers spending more than the face value of the deal, i.e. an opportunity to up-sell.
It also spares retailers the upfront cost of advertising by informing consumers of a merchant’s existence via email.
“At Bodybar, we are regularly introducing new ‘features’ – from visiting yoga teachers to Bollywood dancing,” said Programme and Managing Director Tashiya Captain. “Smartpola.lk is a good way to introduce them”
“It is ideal for a publishing house like ours, seeking to promote new writers,” said Sam Perera of Perera Hussein Publishing House.
An autographed copy of Rozaine Cooray’s debut novel ‘Colours Of The Sun,’ shortlisted for the Gratiaen Prize, is just one of the many ‘smart deals’ that Smartpola.lk will have on offer.
Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe’s critically acclaimed collection of poems, ‘There’s an Island in the Bone,’ is another.
“Smartpola.lk will be selective about the kind of vendors featured. It targets a small but affluent audience out there who currently buying products online from Amazon.com and ebay. They didn’t have much of an opportunity or reason to do so in Sri Lanka up to now. With Smartpola.lk they now have!” concluded Mike.