Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Indian, Arranged Marriages: The e-way

Marriage is a very important institution among all traditional societies around the world and India is no different. We Indians go crazy at weddings, we splurge on every aspect of the ceremony and on everything related to it. There is a phrase that has been coined just for Indian Weddings and anyone familiar to the ceremonies will agree that, 'The Big Fat Indian Wedding' is apt for our weddings, a lot more apt as compared to, say Greek Weddings.

We love our weddings and we love them grand. But all grand things have very humble beginnings. The Indian wedding starts with, as with all marriages, the search for the suitable boy/ girl. Traditionally, that was the task of the parents, relatives, everyone and their dogs. But then why am I suddenly talking about weddings on Technosophy? I am not. I am talking about how The Big Fat Indian Wedding has also been influenced by technology, in this case, the Internet.
In the year 1996, one man, Anupam Mittal, thought he would find a way to offer “superior matchmaking experience by expanding the opportunities available to meet potential life partners”. His venture, shaadi.com is now the 'world's oldest and most successful matrimonial service' with 10 million members and 1.3 million matches.

Success factor:
The website solved a very basic problem of matrimony by targeting a huge market. They offered something unique and were the first in the market to do so. The excellent brand name and domain name also helped people connect with the website. Another very important reason for their success. The recognition of the lack of networking/matchmaking opportunities that Non-Resident Indians face when they want to marry someone from India. For targeting those markets, shaadi.com has created websites specific for other regions of the world. They have 18 country specific websites (apart from India), namely: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Kuwait, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Qatar, Thailand, Bahrain and Oman. Having recognised the potential of the NRI market also ensured them a steady stream of business opportunities for the company.

Not content with cornering the online matrimony market for Indians across the globe, shaadi.com went on to connect its users with wedding services, professionals, florists etc through another website designed to create a “one-stop wedding directory.” Much like google's local search, the website allows businesses to list themselves on the website and are searcheable by category and geographic location. Apart from this, another 'relationships and Indian weddings portal', has been started by shaadi.com. This website aims to educate and inform users about the cuztoms and rituals associated with Indian weddings, health and beauty tips, relationship advice, astrological services, travel ideas, legal advice etc.

Not losing sight of the IT-challenged:
A majority of Indians, especially those belonging to the older generation who still have a huge say in matrimony, were targeted by the shaadi.com Centres which are offices set up across India that offer the same services as the website but through qualified and well-trained Relationship Advisors. These personnel are equipped to manage the clients' requirements with comfort and ease. 

Aware of the fact that even after approaching the centre, the client may not be convinced with the whole idea of taking such a huge decision on the basis of something as alien to them as the Internet, the Relationship Advisors, explain the entire process to the clients and take a complete brief of the clients' preferences prior to running the search. There are, currently 155 shaadi.com centres across the length and breadth of India. Keeping in mind Indian beliefs and rituals, these centres also offer astrology services to assist the clients in kundali matching and offer other astrological reports on career, wealth and marriage, all of which can be packages along with the membership.

Value for Money:
To say that the Indian market is price sensitive, is a huge understatement. Aware of this, little factoid that can make or mar one's venture the company assures its clients that there are no hidden costs if anyone looks for a match through their offline centres instead of their website.

shaadi.com, having been assured of their brand image in the market, offers a 100% money back guarantee because of their success rates and the large pool of individuals from diverse backgrounds that their database now contains. Both the website and the offline centres are supported by 24x7 customer care service through phone, e-mail and live chat.

Why is this on Technosophy?
Still wondering why I am talking about this on here? Okay, here goes...

What we, at Technosophy find very interesting in this venture is shaadi.com's attempt at bringing the other facets of the Indian wedding (something that is, in itself a conservative affair) into their folds not just by offering relationship and legal advice but by connecting a large pool of service providers with a huge pool of prospective brides and grooms who may otherwise not have been connected to each other. The primary driving force behind this connection has been the modern information and communication technologies like the Internet, online social networking, Internet messaging etc. What shaadi.com did not just offer matchmaking  services but went the extra mile to connect the allied services of wedding planners, event management companies, florists, banquet halls, caterers etc with the people who are getting married through an online ecosystem which benefits all the parties involved. And this is what Technosophy admires.

Technosophy Log: 17 November, 2010

An Update

Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sangathan is the organisation that administers 1073 schools throughout India http://www.kvsangathan.nic.in/matrimonial.htm


  1. Also on marriages- just like parents resort to .com portal for finding a suitable boy/girl for their child- many find their life partners themselves becos of technology too:)

    Alas! But this is true as well -The other end of this spectrum is equally technology related - ending relationships/ marriages is becoming quicker and easier and less (or more) antagonistic becos of social media:)

  2. Yeah all the stuff about people being informed about the end of their relationship through an sms or worse, through a facebook relationship status update :s