Wednesday, October 19, 2016

OLA Cabs: Ola in the Customer Hearts

Winning the hearts of customers as well as employees and remaining in competition is always a tough ask. Things are even tougher if you have an MNC operating in an industry with a big wallet. You have to be smart to out - do the global player. The taxi - hailing app Uber came and transformed the industry in a rather disruptive way. Despite all the initial protests, Uber thrived with the strong customer base it acquired.

The Bengaluru-based company OLA was equal to the competition and in fact outsmarted UBER in certain markets in India. Since the business model is somewhat the same Ola differentiated itself through segmentation and of course services to these segments. One might remember Ola boats during the floods in Chennai, in which they teamed with the fishermen to help the stranded. This was mention to have a taste of ola’s innovation.

When we come to segmentation of Ola, primarily the services are segmented based on income (Demographic). They have five options of cabs available based on affordability of consumer viz. Prime Sedan, Prime SUV, Luxury, Mini and Micro. The on – demand operation has made it more accessible to the customer. The Ola Auto is an inimitable innovation as auto is the prime mode of transport for the common man of India (Even though there is Jugnoo, Ola have a stake in the same). Another segmentation they addressed is Occasional. During the just concluded Karwa Chauth festival. Any product can taste success in India if it is aligned with religiosity. During Karwa Chauth body self-adornment with mehendi is an ornamental part of this festival of faith. Ola identified this potential and provided a unique service catering to this segment i.e. it ferried mehendi artists to the homes of women who enrolled with the cab.

It also identified the geographic characteristics of the country. In tier II and tier III cities internet connectivity is poor and for those customers they offered a service called ‘Ola Offline’ in which they book a ride via SMS. This acted as a point of inflection for Ola in the industry. The outstation services as well as rental services of Ola is a clear differentiator in the industry.

The road ahead is fairly clear for Ola now. But can they be the king of roads in India?

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