Until just a couple of years ago, the successful completion of an online purchase transaction was seen as the holy grail for e-commerce companies. Given the woeful state of broadband speeds or unpredictability of payment interfaces or just lack of confidence in users, successful payment for a transaction was the ultimate metric to track and improve.

But that’s changing. Thanks to faster speeds, a multitude of payment options and a groundswell of users who are taking to digital transactions, the focus for e-commerce companies is now shifting to what happens after (or in some cases, just before) the transaction.

The completion of a successful transaction is a great time for companies to target customers, as the latter are in a positive frame of mind having just bought something they (presumably) wanted. The Peak-End rule, which states that the people bias their experience based on the peak, and it’s end, is a key design principle here. Thus, a successful purchase at the end helps frame the entire shopping experience as largely positive and helps predispose shoppers positively towards the seller.

From cross-selling or up-selling other products; getting satisfaction ratings, or saving order details to make later transactions ever quicker are just some of the things companies do in these ‘golden seconds’. Directing the customer’s attention to the next purchase journey by building on their momentum is a great way to build stickiness and loyalty.

We decided to analyze six well-known mobile apps across sectors, with the help of uncommon, a Bangalore-headquartered boutique digital design agency that specializes in user behaviour. This story was co-authored with Rahul Gonsalves, who founded uncommon in 2013.

The apps we picked were all Android versions, to reflect the platform’s overwhelming appeal in India over iOS. Here’s what we picked:

  1. Amazon – because it is the ultimate barometer of e-commerce range, effectiveness, and relentless optimization
  2. Bookmyshow – because it rules the ticketing space and has refined its user experience to very high reliability and ease of use
  3. Flipkart – because it is still the market leader and seems to have gotten its strategy and execution acts together in the last one year
  4. Makemytrip – because it’s the 1600 pound gorilla (especially after the merger with Goibibo) of the travel space and manages to keep innovating iteratively
  5. Paytm* – because its wallet is the ultimate cross-sell/up-sell device, which can take you from paying an electricity bill to buying a burger
  6. Ola – the ride-hailing service has a plethora of options that rival Uber doesn’t, which reflects in its app

Amazon: The Endless River

We ordered an (electric) toothbrush.

Amazon uses the heady moment after a purchase to aggressively drive people to buy more.


Rohin Dharmakumar

Rohin is co-founder and CEO at The Ken. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and an engineering degree in Computer Sciences from the R.V.C.E., Bangalore.

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