In the urge to go “mobile”, many firms in India seem to have forgotten that it’s very easy to get people to download an app, through emoluments or aggressive marketing but very tough to retain them and increase the time spent by customer . Mobile applications do provide the brand with a stickier experience but retaining customers and encouraging them to spend more time requires a comprehensive strategy with a clear focus on UI/UX which is sadly missing in many brands
If I were to compare three categories – online retail , home delivery and travel, I would say only Travel apps seem to have cracked the UI/UX puzzle in India. They are user friendly, provide a simple guide for usage and make it easy for returning to use the app. While driving increased transactions , even if at a lower ticket size, Ola and Uber are both killing it. That said, TaxiFor Sure did come up with some usual innovations such as multiple destinations that could be saved and a better Wallet system but the acquisition seems to have killed their app innovation cycle. Uber could do well to copy some of the TFS innovations,if not their technical systems which always seemed much better than Ola’s and Uber’s.
Online Retail such as Flipkart/ Myntra suffer from the discount mania. The offers may drive people to download the app but I doubt if people will return considering that it is far more difficult to compare products on a mobile application as opposed to a website. A mobile app may make One click purchasing much simpler (assuming the credit card details are stored) but in India one click purchasing is still an unknown commodity and with recent delivery fiascos and purchase rollbacks, it may be a mistake for ecommerce companies and firms to go all in with a mobile app
Home Delivery apps are horrible. I checked out all of them and was disappointed universally. To the extent that the news that Zomato is coming up with an online delivery mechanism gives me hope. Home Delivery apps need to really focus on presenting the information better and focusing more on better products than providing lots of offers to drive traction.
It is important all mobile app companies are clear on these points of their mobile strategy –
1. Not driving traction through offers as much as through addressing a clear pain point which wasnt accessible through website/ online channels. For example Ola/Uber providing point to point transport options
2. Driving value for vendors and other stakeholders by providing more data and info on customer profile while enabling higher transparency for customers . This helps customers get clarity on what they are paying for and why a premium can be charged (like surge pricing in Ola/Uber)
3. Focusing on a consistent UI/UX strategy while differentiating oneself from others. No Hamburger menus . Focus on simplifying the whole process so even a 60 year old can use it. Ideally the litmus test should be handing over the app to the mobile developer’s parents/ elders to see if they can use it easily