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Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars

As food tech brands go to town with their alarmingly similar '50% Off' promos, we wonder how brands in this segment will differentiate themselves in the days ahead.

For a moment, the 'discount' felt like the game changer, the absolute killer of brand loyalty and the benefits of which could be enjoyed by only the ones who could offer it. But what if competing players in a segment level out the playground with equal offers?

In a latest example is the discount face-off in the ad communicatuions of food tech startups Zomato and Uber Eats.

Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars
No Cooking January Zomato Friends – 50% off
Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars
No Cooking January - Zomato - Couple

Zomato maintained a steady 50% off (upto ₹100) for select restaurants througout December and carried it forward till January. The campaign was named 'No Cooking December/January'. In one of its ads, the character decides to extend the cook's leave for an entire month, while, a husband refuses to book a gas cylinder for the month, in another.

Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars
Uber Eats - 50 % off

Now skipping over to Uber Eats, the foodtech arm of cab aggregator Uber, coupled its 50% off (upto ₹120) for select restaurants offering with the brand's face Alia Bhatt in its latest print outing. The brand recently grabbed news space for positioning itself as as the lifesaver against a 'Tinda' distress signal. Now the 50% discount takes it a notch higher, or does it?

Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars
A screen grab from a Foodpanda app notification

However, the 50% offer is not limited to these two brands. Foodpanda and Swiggy, the other major names in the space are also offering the discount on select restaurants.

These discounts are also separate from the perennial 50% off for first orders.

Expert Speak:

Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars
Ashish Khazanchi

Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner, Enormous Brands says, "Discounts are only meant for customer acquisition and create some appeal for new users. But, discounts can never be a reason that a customer would stick to a particular brand as the offering is easily reaplicable. Someone can easily come up and say 'I am offering a 51% off' but that wouldn't make the brand sticky."

"While its is a good tool for swaying loyalty, it's only the brand experience and brand love that creates the differentiation. But again, players putting out equal amounts of discounts would ultimately mean that the discounts didn't exist at all. In a scenario like this the brand which would stand out would be the one offering a better experience," Khazanchi further explains.

Zomato, Uber Eats face-off: '50% Off' discount wars
Sandipan Bhattacharyya

Sandipan Bhattacharyya, CCO, GREY group India says, "Discounts are a habit-changing initiative and are aimed at changing age-old habits of mass consumers. The discount is only going to lead the consumer to try a product but post that, it is entirely up to the product experience. A superior experience is going to retain the customer, else the consumer will keep flirting with various discounts."

"A consumer will flirt with all possible hooks (discount) provided by all brands. What can stop the flirtation is a great experience. Continued discounting cannot be a strategy for any of these brands," Bhattacharyya signs off.

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