Technology flavours the click and bait game at Zomato and Swiggy

Topics Zomato | Swiggy | Technology

Among the many changes in customer behaviour brought upon by internet-led businesses, few have been as radical and rapid as in the country’s collective food habits. Food delivery apps have transformed the way many households cook and eat, offering convenience, variety and affordability to drive a change in behaviour. And now, the two brands that have marked the territory out between themselves, Zomato and Swiggy, are building a box of tools to deepen the engagement and keep customers hooked and loyal to their fare. 

The $4-billion online food delivery space in the country is a two-horse race today with Zomato and Swiggy both going after the same customer base with similar offerings and promises. And both have over the past few months drilled down on technology as the key driver of a differentiated experience for customers, hoping thereby to keep the flock loyal and more frequent in their usage.

Consider for instance, a new Swiggy initiative called BrandWorks, where it has partnered with some of its existing restaurants to create delivery-only brands with a separate identity from the parent eatery. A different menu, images, packaging and pricing from the restaurant's usual fare helps create a completely different experience when ordering in via the app. The new features have emerged out of tech-led initiatives that were set in motion over the past few years the company said. 

According to a recent report by Google and Boston Consulting Group, the reach of food tech aggregators has grown six times from 2017 to 2019, and food tech is one of the fastest growing ecommerce segments or internet-led businesses, both in terms of reach and engagement. Food delivery apps account for close to 83 per cent of the total funding in the food tech space. 

The report also found that the food tech business has the most mature set of consumers in the digital universe.  We see that consumers are deeply engaged and have high expectations from food tech players. There is an opportunity to bolster the growth factor with five key value propositions, deep personalisation, focused marketing, increased quality assurance, constant value for money and advanced convenience features, the report noted. 

Both Swiggy and Zomato have been operating by the same playbook. The focus on tech is so high that Swiggy even maintains an “official tech blog” and Zomato's official blog has a separate “technology” tab. The two also offer detailed explanations over the use of tech in crafting a smooth and engaging experience for their users.

“For Zomato, from the moment a customer opens the app and until their food arrives at their doorstep, it is important for us to provide accurate information on when their food will be delivered. Giving a higher than actual time estimate can deter customers from ordering as does estimating lower than actual delivery time, which can then increase inflow to our customer support,” the company said in a blog post (February 4). 

Based on everyday insights and experiences the apps are building their tech capabilities with an eye on creating loyal user bases. At the end of the day, the in a market where the winner takes all, the one who is able to handle human-level desires and complaints better with the technology whirring silently at the back-end will be the warhorse that goes the distance.  

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