India is the world's fastest growing e-commerce market and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2020; of which $2.7billion belongs to the online and restaurants market. The format of home delivery or takeaways has gained a lot more influence in locations such as offices, malls and residential complexes. Start-up programmes focused on the food industry have taken the economy by storm. Soon, it would make phone ordering obsolete in the future. The number of online web portals opening and their increasing revenue is proof of how vast and deeply profitable this sector is.
Online food-delivery platforms are expanding choice and convenience, allowing customers to order from a wide array of restaurants with a single tap of their mobile phone. Famous food outlets such as KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and other QSR have their own websites from where you could order food. Foodpanda is one of the biggest food services website with $310 million funding. There is nothing more accurate than an order that is placed directly by the customer. It allows them to be specific with their choices and gives them access to the variety of food they want to consume.
Whilst the majority population is health conscious, the everyday rigmarole of balancing work and a healthy lifestyle at home is a task, which is why they tend to trust these online food sites more. These sites are swift in their order taking process and made for the specific convenience of their customers. Also, the lucrative jobs have made their wallets fatter too which allows them to make purchases.
Social media's growth has made the reach of online food portals far more extensive than it used to be. It provides consumers with an opportunity to share their dining experiences, which in turn may impact and garner more consumers. As a part of the social media umbrella, online reviews and ratings are significant factors that influence consumer's selection.
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Online portals provide transparency and various alternatives to consumers' choices, this is why, in ordering online, they hope to gain the same experience they get from the outlet itself. Online food websites like Zomato, Swiggy, Dominos, and BOX8 are among the most popular websites known for being hassle free and user friendly.
Their continuous preference of giving qualitative rather than quantitative service has played very well in their favour. The discount offers, gift vouchers and their growing presence in the market have been a huge factor in influencing consumers selection. The numbers are staggering where Swiggy, which has raised $465 million so far, is in talks to raise another $900 million at a valuation of over $2.5 billion, as it prepares to add hyper-local deliveries and other services as well.
The easier it is for consumers to place their order, the higher the chances of them wanting for more, which is what the web portals aim to achieve. Increase in the consumer satisfaction will lead to more of the same, which will in turn help into creating more revenue, and thereby, making the process not just user-friendly but also user specific, tending to their needs on an individual basis.
With continuous influx of professionals in cities and rapid urbanisation of Indian landscape, the food delivery and restaurant segment is now thriving at a blistering pace. There have been many food websites, which have become non-existent due to their lack of consumer-business relationship. Companies that want to make a niche in the food industry will dive right into it but only the fittest will survive. Businesses, which keep their value proposition and their brand active in consumer's mind - keeping themselves relevant and easily accessible, will have the biggest share in this cut throat race.
Online food portals, thus, have had a huge impact on the consumers and in the food industry. However, this growing influence should not affect the environment and the consumers in the coming future, because only then time will tell the aftermath of the influence.
About Author: Ashwin Bhadri is Chief Executive Officer at Equinox Labs.
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