Friday, October 28, 2011

ZOMATO- An Idea to Air Sell

I have always been impressed by Zomato, the idea and the implementation, both. 1 large reason there is me being a foodie :D (yes, vegetarians can be foodies!!) But yes I was never so much into any of the other similar ones like Burrp! because of the reasons I will mention now.

1. Coolness factor

When we want to go out and have good food, we are in a fun mood and not in a research mode. So we want the information to be presented in a cool, colorful and fun way and not like a boring directory listing. I think that is what takes me to typing '' in my browser everytime I want to know anything about eating out. The name, logo, the pictures, the colour combinations and the overall look and feel appeals to me and my friends. I really like the interface which is displayed after putting in the keywords. The font is quite apt and the icons are cute :)

2. Menus and more but not too much

So, as I said I want good information about eating joints but I am not interested in heavy research. I want somebody else to do the research and then present the to-the-point information to me, and thats exactly what Zomato gives me. Everything that is there on the page about a restaurant and it is not too much information. I totally love the menus! Then the phone numbers, cost, timings, home delivery option, reviews and ratings, location etc are all 'in your face'. I don't have to make random clicks to get to these stuff. I saw there was a feature 'Is this open now' which again is quite relevant and innovative.

3. Feedback received graciously

So, as I will mention later, sometimes there is a lag in content update. So I once reported such an error. First of all no login was required! That I think is quite a good and simple idea. I really don't understand why you need somebody to register to give feedback on other sites. Anyways coming back, I was really impressed because I got a mail saying you have reported this error and we will look into it. Then there was a follow-up mail saying the update has been done. I don't know how scalable this is but it was really impressive and I think this increases trust with the website. Also, it motivates users to give feedback and suggestions.

So far so good. As I am quite a regular customer of Zomato [:)], here are a few areas of development I would like to point out.

1. Outdated content is a turn off

So, my friend and I were planning to order food one day and I introduced her to this cool and awesome website called 'Zomato'. She was also quite impressed by the points (1) and (2) above and we went ahead and placed our order at one of the listed restaurants. Now our decision was to some extent based on the prices on the website menu. When the food was delivered, we came to know that it was 1.5 times more expensive than what was quoted on the website. Their menu had changed. This was annoying because this happened with me for the 3rd time and my friend, who was all ga-ga over Zomato some time back was quite angry now :( I don't know what is your update cycle but I feel it will be better to have the content more dynamic if possible. One possible solution is to give restaurants a handle to the website so that they can upload their most recent menu/other info when there is a change or contact Zomato and ask them to update the content.

2. The first page search boxes

Because I have been a Foodiebay customer, I am ok with the new UI but very frankly if I was a brand new customer, I would not get so much impressed with the search boxes. I don't understand what is the difference between 'search' and 'explore' and why exactly you need 3 search fields when you can actually specify at max 2 parameters. I maybe being too picky here but frankly it is confusing to me. The dotted line in between, I don't know what is its purpose :P My suggestion would be to have one drop down for location, and one more box in which you can specify anything. It will be better to parse the user input and figure out whether it is a cuisine or restaurant or both. Then the 3rd box says 'by name or cuisine or location', then what was the purpose of the first 2 boxes ???? I would say first impression is last impression that is why this should be a serious consideration.

3. Discount coupons/ More marketing

This will be a very big attraction. I got 20% discount on a Chinese restaurant because of Zomato and it really helped me in remaining loyal to the website for quite some time after that. I used to look out for any similar offers on the home page. I don't know how easy/difficult it is to convince restaurant for these but this I think is one feature I would look forward to. I also think you should go for more aggressive marketing.

So that's my feedback. I saw the Events (Beta) thing and again, I am super happy :) All the best Zomato! Waiting for the mugs/iPad now ;)

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