India will soon overtake the US to become the world's second largest smartphone market, selling an impressive 174 million units by 2017, says a research by Strategy Analytics. With increasing penetration of smart phones, the number of apps catering to literally every fad of the Indian consumer has proliferated like never before. Needless to say, this has given rise to a new breed of couch potatoes who use their smart phones to fulfill literally any task from bill payments to shopping, gifting to dating, banking to house hunting and much more.
To find out the Top Indian eCommerce Apps of 2015 across categories based on actual usage (not downloads since that can be manipulated and also because this does not take into account Apps uninstalled/unused due to performance or other issues), Vertebrand undertook a sample survey. The results were interesting to say the least.
- Online Marketplace Apps: Snapdeal, Flipkart
Belonging to the general merchandise category, both offer a wide array of products across categories like fashion, electronics, books, mobiles and more. While users found both Apps similar in terms of mobile interface, product quality, pricing, discounts, payment options and return policies, Snapdeal was perceived as offering faster delivery and Flipkart as offering a wider product range.
- Online Fashion and Accessories Apps: Myntra and Jabong
These apps are exclusively devoted to apparels, footwear and accessories for men, women and kids, across brands. Myntra, however, was rated far higher than Jabong in terms of product quality, pricing and on-time delivery.
- Online Taxi booking Apps: Ola
Second only to San Francisco based Uber Technologies, Ola offers cab/auto booking and cab sharing services based on the current location, date and time of pickup of user. The app is a great alternative to driving own car on traffic choked roads, availing flighty driver services or grappling with the uncertain and crowded public transport for everyday commutes within the city.
- Movie Ticketing Apps: Bookmyshow
Highly popular among teenagers, college going students and women, this App effectively ends the need to stand in serpentine queues for buying a movie ticket, hours before show time. With this App, one can book tickets online and in advance for movies, plays, concerts, sports and many events happening in the city. Surprisingly, there appears to be no competitor in sight yet for Bookmyshow.
- Online Travel app: Makemytrip, goibibo
A great holiday planning tool for the busy professional, these apps allows people to search, compare and book travel tickets, hotels and holiday packages for domestic and international travel at exclusive discount rates. While Makemytrip is the undisputed leader in this space, Goibibo - a later entrant, is also catching up fast by offering lowest prices in addition to trusted user experience.
- Online Grocery apps: Bigbasket, Grofers
Highly popular among women, these apps offer a wide range of grocery, fresh fruits and vegetables, all delivered to your doorstep.A major difference between the two is that while Grofers does not own any inventory and delivers from neighbourhood stores for a fee, BigBasket sources and maintains its own inventory.
- Online Meal Delivery apps: Foodpanda, Swiggy, Zomato
Offers free online food ordering service from thousands of restaurants in and around your locality. Targeted at the office-going crowd for whom meal ordering is a challenge, the App allows you to view menus, compare prices, view ratings by users and order your favourite food – all within seconds. You can also track your order status until delivery.
- Online Home services Apps: Urbanclap, Localoye
A God-send App for the harried urbanite juggling between office, home, kids and more, this App can help you hire trusted professional help for almost all urban lifestyle services. Professional services could range from hiring a photographer, Tax Consultant, Interior designer, Guitar teacher etc. Home services includes,hiring an electrician, plumber, maid and so on.
- Mobile wallet: PayTM, Freecharge
These are smart phone apps where consumers can preload money from their debit/credit cards and use it to pay utility bills,book tickets, transfer money, make instant e-payments while shopping in physical stores or e-stores etc. With the advent of e-commerce and smart phones, these Apps are gaining popularity as it limits exposure of sensitive bank data on merchant sites. While PayTM is leading in this space, Snapdeal’s acquisition of Freecharge has given a big boost to Freecharge’s mobile wallet services.
App Branding: What have they done right?
Clearly, these Apps have got their Branding strategy right, which is evident from their undisputed popularity. All the Apps have a clearly defined Target Group (TG), and deliver a niche service, which is a pain area to the defined TG. The apps also remain true to their brand promise, both in terms of consistent performance and user experience they claim to deliver.
These include easy user interface for completing the purchase transaction quickly in a few simple steps, quality products/services, on time delivery, loyalty pointsfor repeat purchase, customized selling based on purchase behaviour, customer engagement in terms of curated content like news, views, contests etc. Also, great money saving schemes for transacting on App as against web portals or offline.
All the Apps are also branded in such a way that it is not only easy to remember their name and the service they deliver, but also their positioning and why you should choose them over competition. Links to products/services on these Apps can be shared easily across social media platforms.
Yet another factor is that, these apps are freely available on Google Play store with free updates, downloads and reviews driving their business. And finally, all these Apps have left no stone unturned in marketing themselves in mass media to ensure high visibility and recall among their user base.
The article has been wriiten by Sandhya Shama Rao, General Manager, Corporate Communications and Marketing at Vertebrand Management Consulting Pvt Ltd.