Westerners know India as the global force of IT outsourcing and growing modernity. This might be true, but if you are a young Indian boy or girl with modern Internet-savvy parents, then chances are high that they will try to find you the perfect companion in life through the Web.
I don't really know how I would have reacted if my parents had tried to find me my wife - and then even through the Internet ;-) But when I read about it in the Economist I was really attracted by this 20th Century Business Design which meets age-old Indian traditions that are simply normal in Indian culture. The Economist wrote a quite amusing piece on e-marriage match making in India. The most successful company offering online marriage match making in India is Bharatmatrimony.com. Let's have a look at this company's business model:
Value proposition> helping your parents find the perfect wife with the best fit. Criteria include religion, language, origin, age, height, looks and not to forget: horoscope.
Target customers> your parents (if you are an Indian single), because they are the ones that want to get you married.
Distribution channel> Well, it's not yet possible to deliver to your parents your future better half through the web, but the match making can be done online. However, in such a traditional business Bharatmatrimony also maintains a "retail" network across India.
Customer relationship>Bharatmatrimony will be your best trustee in marriage questions. With its third-party verification service they will make sure no potential bride or groom will pull a fast one on you. After that it's less a customer relationship than one between man and wife. But then again your parents are the real "shoppers" here and you might have brothers and sisters...
Core capacities> Help your parents find you a wife or husband ;-).
Activity Configuration> Build-up a database with candidates that are worth having a thought. In fact, according to the Economist Bharatmatrimony already claims to have 7.5m members.
Partners> VeriSign ;-) and your third party verifyer. Hopefully all those pictures and promises are true!
Revenue streams> The money flows in from a number of different membership schemes varying in depth and functionality. If you are an easy "sell" I recommend the "3 month Classic Package" for 39$. But if the months fly by without result your parents might want to invest in a "9 month Classic Super Package" for 125$.
Cost structure> As an online matrimony service all you need is a good IT department. OK maybe that's an oversimplification and you will have to add a bunch of lawyers if things go wrong between the freshly married couple...
So who ever said the Internet destroys tradition or reduces social interactions? This business model is simply fascinating... By the way, this text was not menat to be offensive against Indian culture!