New Delhi-based online restaurant directory, Zomato has announced the shutdown of US-based restaurant discovery service, Urbanspoon, which it had acquired for around $55 Mn around months back. The shutdown was confirmed through a Facebook post on Zomato official Facebook page.

Urbanspoon-Zomato merger

Zomato has been working on their app post acquisition of Urbanspoon so that they can offer the same experience to the Urbanspoon users. The acquisition of Urbanspoon is important for Zomato as they make entry to US, Canada and Australia to take up competitors like Yelp.

Zomato has changed the Urbanspoon app to suit Zomato’s user experience features. On Urbanspoon, restaurants had an absolute rating system based on the percentage of people ‘Liking’ a restaurant. Zomato uses a 5-point classroom-style grading model, where the distribution of scores in every city is normalized, resulting in ratings in each city being distributed over a normal curve. ‘Likes’ and ‘Dislikes’ from Urbanspoon have been migrated to Zomato as well, and appear as ‘Positive’ or ‘Negative’ labels on reviews, corresponding to users’ up-votes and down-votes.

All the user information and restaurant information has been migrated to Zomato app and the Urbanspoon website now redirects to Zomato.

The following are the main changes that Urbanspoon users can feel on the new Zomato website/app.

  • The rating system. Urbanspoon had a Like/Dislike voting system, but Zomato uses a 5-point rating scale. Percentage scores from Urbanspoon have been translated into 5-point scores on Zomato, and Likes/Dislikes from users’ profiles have been moved over to Zomato as ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’.
  • The review system. Zomato allows only one review per user per restaurant. The most recent experience you’ve had at a restaurant is the most relevant one. Multiple reviews for the same restaurant from Urbanspoon have been merged into one, broken down by date of submission. These can easily be edited to reflect the most recent experience you’ve had at that restaurant.
  • Adding to all the existing locations on Urbanspoon, you can now explore restaurants in 22 countries (and counting) globally. There are over 1 million restaurants to choose from in 10,000+ cities, so the Zomato app is a trusted companion to take with you on holiday.
  • Your personal Food Journey. This timeline helps you keep track of all the places you eat at, with chronologically sorted reviews, photos, and check-ins. Scroll through it anytime you want to relive your foodie memories (or if the name of that amazing place you ate at a few months ago eludes you). Another change you’ll notice on your Food Journey is that check-ins from your Dineline appear as ‘Been There’ on Zomato.
  • Wishlists and Favorites. All Wishlists and Favorites have been moved to Zomato as Bookmarks, which you can find on your profile page. On the desktop site, Bookmarks can be filtered by city so you know what’s around you, and find what you’re looking for even quicker.
  • Spoonbacks. This one’s for all the bloggers. While Spoonbacks are still active, Zomato requires blog posts to be published manually, and a rating to be added to each one, before posts can appear on restaurant pages. You can also attach photos to your posts and tag friends you were dining with before publishing.
  • Leaderboards. Leaderboards on Zomato help identify the most prolific contributors in a city. A review or blog post on Zomato earns 25 points, while every photo uploaded earns 2. Leaderboard positions are earned (and defended) depending on points earned in the past six months. We also have a separate leaderboard for bloggers, and one’s position on that depends on how many restaurants one has written posts for with Spoonbacks.
  • Login-only apps. Unlike Urbanspoon, the Zomato app requires one to log in. The reason that Zomato gives is to give personalized and customized product experience. This includes trusted recommendations from friends and Bookmarks for easy access.

You can download Zomato mobile apps for iOSAndroid and Windows Phone.

It’s interesting to see how Urbanspoon users are finding it the Zomato app. The user have been migrated to the Zomato app and its an entirely new experience for the Urbanspoon users. I have read many bad reviews about the Zomato app by the Urbanspoon users like the one’s below.

Noooo ‘frown emoticon’ I really don’t like the new layout at all, it looks like a bad google+ clone. All my favourite ways to explore are gone and I can’t seem to find which places are the “Talk of the town” or sort easily by price range. All these stories in my “city feed” by people I don’t know and don’t care about and restaurants I have no interest in. RIP UrbanSpoon, I’ll miss you, Zomato is not living up to your legacy cry emoticon. – Lauren Ankudinoff

I have no problem with shutting down Urbanspoon AS LONG AS THE NEW PRODUCT IS JUST AS GOOD. Unfortunately, I am disappointed. My husband and I travel the country and Urbanspoon has been a wonderful way to ensure that we get a decent meal in a strange town. To be fair, I haven’t downloaded your app yet, but the website for Zomato can’t compare to Urbanspoon. – Regina DyJack Koukios

As a daily user of urbanspoon, I find the ”new” zomato website difficult to navigate. – Anita Kante

Even some of the restaurant owners who is listed on the urbanspoon website complains about the Zomato experience.

Zomato can you explain how the urbanspoon percentages have been translated to the 5 point zomato system? All of our business listings used to be high 80’s low 90’s but now they are rating at 3.8-3.9!?! That is the equivalent of mid 70’s. We feel cheated and this affects our business greatly. – Andrew Kelly

So what went wrong? 

Zomato should have taken care while migrating the Urbanspoon users to its own app. Urbanspoon users accounts more than one-third of Zomato traffic. That is almost 50% of Zomato users in Australia, US and Canada. You need to deliver your best customer experience at every touchpoint on the web and mobile apps. Zomato even changed their logo twice to match with Urbanspoon logo.

Read here to know about Zomato logo change and the three lessons from Zomato’s logo change.

1 .Usability

The Urbanspoon users are used to urbanspoon features. Instead of changing all the features together, Zomato should have taken a phased approach and feed the users with one new feature at a time. This would have given the urbanspoon users much need time to get adjusted to the new app. Usability suffers when users are dumped directly into an application’s guts without any set-up to give them an idea of what’s going to happen.

2. Communication

There should have been a constant communication to the users of urbanspoon about the new user experience. This would have ensured that there are no surprises to the user experience. Show users the current state which they are already used to. Tell them the benefits of using the new app and how it can provide value add to them. Never leave your users to guess about the new features. The communications help the user to get accustomed to the new app before they actually start using it.

3. Users are reluctant to change

What if Facebook asks you to use Facebook Messenger one fine day and shut down Whatsapp messenger. The Whatsapp users are used to using Whatsapp and they may not like the features of Facebook Messenger at all. By doing this, you might actually lose out some of your most trusted user to the competitor. Remember that there are no shortage to mobile apps now. A customer once lost is lost forever.

4. Don’t force your users rather make them love your app.

Hope Zomato learn from their mistakes soon and help in the smooth transition of Urbanspoon users to Zomato app.

 

Source and Image Reference: Zomato Blog