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Astrotalk - UX Audit
Digitizing the business of hope
My mom was an astrologer who meticulously predicted the highs and lows of my life. Every time she'd call with a prediction, my mind would flip a switch. I'd either hunt for good luck or dodge bad vibes. It's funny how our brains work. Being warned made me cautious and eager not to miss out on anything good. Astrology can be addictive. Once you think it might actually predict your future, every hurdle starts looking like a star-sign issue. That sense really hit me when I tuned into live astrology sessions on the Astrotalk app, where folks lined up to ask the astrologer, "When will my boyfriend unblock me on Instagram?" as if the stars had the answer.
Astrology: Is it a science, make-believe, or a way of bringing order to chaos? It's a debate for the ages, with valid arguments on all sides. Over the past decade or so, astrology as a practice lost its shine in the youth. In 2017, Astrotalk, an online platform founded by Puneet Gupta, brought astrology back to the mainstream.
Astrotalk is a platform where astrologers can sign up and connect with customers seeking answers through astrology. Astrotalk saw immense growth amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic. In those unsettling times, many people in India and worldwide sought to make sense of the world around them through astrology.
Table of contents:
Chat with an astrologer
Free mini services
Less Friction, Mo’ Money
Life problems and live solutions
Chat with an astrologer.
After signing up on the app, you are immediately directed to a screen displaying a list of various astrologers from which to choose for a chat. New users are offered a 5-minute free chat with an astrologer as a trial of the services for which they will be paying in the future.
The listings of astrologers provide detailed information about each astrologer, including trust markers such as "popular" and "celebrity astrologer". This is designed to help customers make an informed choice based on their needs. Additionally, these markers serve to build trust among users regarding the credibility of the individual astrologers.
Other trust markers include a green verified badge, years of experience, the number of orders fulfilled, stars given by customers (though it looks like a placebo right now), and languages spoken by the astrologer. Small details like these play a significant role in building trust among users.
This app deserves a round of applause for its ingenious method of sparking user curiosity and engagement. It presents intriguing questions about love lives, careers, and more, enticing users to take the plunge and seek a consultation.
Free mini services
Offering free services that are both essential and enjoyable is a classic strategy to win over customers repeatedly. Astrotalk has mastered this tactic by directly providing four fantastic free services on their homepage.
Kundli (Birth Chart) generator
Less Friction, Mo’ Money.
For businesses offering non-essential services online, the growing popularity of e-wallets has significantly reduced payment friction and encouraged user spending. The combination of frictionless payments and the instant gratification of finding solutions to life's problems is a match made it heaven.
The Daily Pass Membership provides users one free chat session with an astrologer every day for 10 days. The membership is priced at Rs. 99/day and is valid for 10 days. I believe this offer serves as a low-risk introduction to various astrologers beyond the initial free chats. It's generally easier to upsell low-paying customers to premium packages than to convince free users to start paying.
Life problems and live solutions
One of the app's standout features is its Live sessions with astrologers. Modelled after Instagram Live, Astrotalk's in-app feature allows astrologers to go live, offering general advice and predictions.
Users can opt for a paid consultation during these live sessions, with fees charged per minute. Your questions and the astrologer's answers are shared live, and the fee is automatically deducted from your wallet.
Users can keep their identities hidden during the live consultation if preferred. A countdown timer is displayed for the duration of the session. The astrologer's identification badge is shown along with either the customer's name or an anonymous badge, depending on user preference.
Essentially, these live sessions serve as a virtual marketplace where astrologers can showcase their skills and attract clients. Customers not only get real-time consultations but can also send virtual gifts to astrologers they appreciate, which act as bonuses. These live sessions are popular and offer a viable income source for astrologers.
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Introducing Astromall, the most captivating feature of the Astrotalk app. From E-puja to spells and gemstone shopping, Astromall takes virtual rituals to a new level.
With the E-puja service, you can sponsor a puja in your name and virtually participate to receive blessings. Once the ceremony is complete, the cost is automatically deducted from your wallet. But that's not all. Astromall also offers specialized spells, including 'love spells.' Here, you can chant a spell with an expert to attract or strengthen a relationship. Turns out, there are ways to win someone's heart beyond mastering the guitar.
Beyond virtual rituals, Astromall provides a variety of tangible astrology products. From expert-consulted gemstones to Kavach pendants and Evil Eye amulets, there's a broad selection to choose from.
A decade ago, women consulting my mom were anxious to know if their husbands would return or quit drinking. Fast forward to today, and the questions I hear on Astrotalk revolve around Instagram blocks. I won't be shocked if, in another decade, people are asking about finding their "soul machine friend." The nature of the queries may evolve, but the underlying quest for belonging remains constant. It's intriguing to watch belief systems adapt to stay relevant in changing times. To some, astrology is a form of science fiction; to others, it's fictional science. Either way, it's hard to ignore its place in Indian society.
“I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're skeptical.”
- Arthur C. Clarke
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