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Food Quality & Customer Experience Help Delivery Startups Set The Pace In Brand Perception Race

Food Quality & Customer Experience Help Delivery Startups Set The Pace In Brand Perception Race

Delivery time, refunds and customer service key considerations as seen in a sentiment analysis of India’s largest food delivery brands

In today’s hypercompetitive world, brand perception for tech companies can make or break the market. It’s the sum of our feelings, attitudes, and experiences with a product or service, and when dealing with a number of competitors, brand perception can be the difference between getting new customers and losing your existing ones. 

With companies in the food delivery industry of India — Zomato, Swiggy, Faasos, Freshmenu, Pizza Hut or Dominos fighting for the competitive edge to gain larger market share, the growth is primarily driven by how customers perceive these brands.

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But, brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.” — Elon Musk

This collective impression on the product is what drives the users for companies in the B2C space.

In the latest report by DataLabs “Changing Landscape of Food Delivery Service In India 2019” we teamed up with customer insights platform Clootrack to bring out the underlying trends on how customers perceive Indian food delivery brands. We analysed 44K conversions of customers on various websites, blogs, social media. Through the analysis of customer, preferences were obtained including emerging trends, customer beliefs.


First, What Is Brand Perception?

Simply put, brand perception is the sum of feelings a consumer has about a brand. These thoughts and feelings happen when a consumer is aware of the brand, and what follows when that consumer hears, sees, or interacts with the brand and its products.

Brand perception incorporates a multitude of areas that touch upon the brand’s customer interactions. From product development and packaging to public relations and social engagement, brand perception is a top-level measuring stick of a product’s visual presence, goodwill, and emotional character. 

In order to bring out the picture of brand perception of the food delivery apps we analysed the conversations of the users and customers of the food apps on various forums. This gave us a window into what customer thinks of various touch points that they have with the food apps. 

Categorising these conversations and analysing them gave a deep understanding on not just the pain points for the apps in building their brand amongst its users, but also which app is doing better in which area.

Food Quality Plays A Big Role

They key factors that the food delivery apps of India are perceived amongst its customers are through the following drivers:

  • Food Quality
  • Customer Experience
  • Customer Care Conversations
  • Refunds
  • Delivery Time

Analysis conducted on older players such as Domino’s and PizzaHut that are operational for more than 15 years shows — particularly for creating differentiation and keeping up with the tech startup competition — we observed:

  • There is no significant difference in scores between the old and new players in terms of customer care, refunds and timely delivery
  • The new players have scored higher in comparison to the old players in terms of food quality and customer experience
  • The old players have scored higher in comparison to the new players in terms of promo code, order confirmation and zero cancellation fee.

Our analysis also leads us to understand the delight factors that Indian consumers look for while ordering from these are — promo codes, order confirmation time and zero cancellation fees and more. We found that companies like Domino’s and PizzaHut are playing on providing the delight factors better to its customers compared to the new players. 


Brand Perception Differs From Place To Place

India is a diverse country and with 22 major languages in India and more than 720 dialects spoken, the food habits and expectations of people varies widely from one end of India to the other. We analysed the conversation of users to see how they prefer which brand and on what factors.

  • In customer service, Zomato is less popular in the east zone of India compared to the other players. Where Swiggy is considered in positive sentiment for its customer service in all four zones.
  • In terms of delivery time, Swiggy is less popular in both north and east zones of India. 
  • Weighing on the popularity of their flagship subscription services – Swiggy Super generated more buzz in north and south zones, while Zomato Gold had a higher popularity in north zone
  • In south zone, Zomato finished on top when it comes to food quality
  • Zomato is popular in north, south and west for proper order fulfilment
  • Zomato is popular in north, south and east zones for its refund policies

Overall between the two majors, Swiggy tops in overall customer service but Zomato tops in terms of the other four factors.

Are Discounts Linked To Food Quality?

The most interesting trend that came out of the analysis are the customer beliefs and emerging trends.

Over time, customers have experienced various pain points and have developed a fixed set of beliefs about the online food delivery companies. According to them:

  • Order cancellation and getting a refund for paid orders is quite tough
  • Food quality is compromised when there are excessive discounts
  • Freshness of food ordered online is questionable
  • Ratings of restaurants are higher than they ought to be

Customers facing issue with a food delivery app on any of their set beliefs are observed to switch to another app. Startups have the opportunity to capitalise on this insight and provide better service to retain more customers and also breaks the barrier of onboarding reluctant customers who are held back due to such perceptions.

We further discovered the emerging trends and drivers like choices of healthier options, monthly subscription and many more in our latest report by Datalabs By Inc42’s “Changing Landscape of Food Delivery Service In India 2019” report.

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