I just happened to download the Android App of Zomato a couple of days back, and fell in love with it, at first sight. The seamless interface, ease-of-use and the business problem it solves for, all made me an instant Zomato loyalist. This is for a person who is nowhere close to being a connoisseur and is very selective about his food. Makes me wonder about how useful it can be to people who actually have a thing for food.
Zomato is a perfect example of creating a business that delivers value to all stakeholders. The customer has the power to decide the best eat-out place suited for him/her in his/her locality. Restaurants get added traction because of their visibility to people even outside their locality. Zomato, obviously monetizes from the restaurants that are listed on it.
Zomato was a great business “idea” (not sure if there are older players in the same market) even before its App was launched, when it was present only in one platform – the Desktop site. With the launch of its Mobile App (in 2011), the end customer got to search and visit restaurants in and around the area where he/she was currently standing.
This gave the end customer a lot of options to choose from – ITC Grand Chola to Rahul Tea Stall, any place could get itself listed on Zomato. Deepinder Goyal (Founder) would have had a challenging time trying to accumulate the first set of restaurants to list themselves on Zomato. Once the initial barrier was breached, it was only about scaling up to add more and more restaurants, by showcasing success stories of already listed restaurants. The model built by Deepinder and Co. was easily scalable, which is why they were able to expand rapidly across hundreds of cities in India, and abroad, in so little time.
Rather than just being an online search service which aggregates restaurants in a particular locality, Zomato enabled the user to rate and review restaurants. This meant that the restaurants listed on Zomato took additional care to “delight” the customer, for they knew that the customer would use the power of social media to spread a word about them, positive or negative.
Zomato made use of the insight that “people like to talk about the places they visit, verbally or through social media”. They helped create an all new ecosystem for people who like to discuss food.
I’ve been a big fan of their marketing campaigns too, be it the “There are two kinds of people” campaign or their minimal poster designs which regularly do the rounds on Social media.
I came across an article that listed Zomato’s App as one of the most downloaded Apps in 2014 (in India). After downloading the app myself, now I know why.
Keenly looking forward to what Zomato has in store, in 2015.
Next on Startup Diaries: Ola Cabs!