Even a simple transaction is no longer simple – Recharge coupons story

Life was simple when cable television and mobile started prepaid model. All you have to do is to decide the right recharge amount to continue to use the service, go online and recharge. The only additional complexity was selecting the call rate for different recharge option in case of prepaid mobile.

It ain’t simple any longer. I was recently trying to recharge my cable television account and I was shown a variety of coupons that I can get *free*. And then you have services like paytm and freecharge that formalizes this business model.

recharge

While the idea of using coupons to market and get customer is great, there are few problems with this approach.

1. A simple recharge option has to go through a complex decision making process. The reason I am online is not to shop but to recharge the account.  The decision making and hence the transaction is slowed down because there are just too many coupons to chose from.

2. Feeling of losing out on something. There will be a tendency to perhaps check all the coupons to avoid the fear of losing out on something free. After navigating to the third page, it is easy to forget that you logged in to recharge your prepaid account and not shopping.

3. Most options are not useful. At least that’s how they appeal to me. Maybe I was not looking to shop but to recharge or maybe I do not have need to use any of the options in near future.

What can be done

The current model needs to be flipped. When I am shopping, show me the option to recharge and not the other way round. The money for this recharge can still come from the mobile or cable provider. The benefit with this approach is that it will give me a sense of instant discount or benefit on the purchases that I am making. The coupons are suddenly useful. While I may accumulate more in my prepaid account but there is almost a certainty of using the extra recharge sooner or later.

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