This is How Ola is Applying Brakes to Uber in India

Uber is slowly losing ground to Ola in India. Now before you start bombarding me with never heard stats, I suggest you start reading.

Uber started as a technology company with its super skilled team of engineers churning out algorithms which made everyone’s life easier. Uber came to India with its product that had been tested in other parts of the world, but the irony is that what has worked for others has seldom worked for India.

Do the Math!

Most of my literate friends perceive Uber to be more expensive compared to Ola (which unfortunately is not true) but the pricing perception is guided by marketing and has nothing to do with advanced algorithms. Uber markets its ride as a cheap as Rs 7/KM ride, except for a math loving nation like ours, the figures don’t add up at the end of the trip.

Uber Payment Receipt

If we remove the MCD toll from the bill I ended up paying 102 bucks for a ride of around 6.24 KM which is nowhere near that Rs 7/Km advertising proposal, and yes nobody reads the fine print. Plus, surge pricing has just meant the costs have skyrocketed further.

Now Ola might have been adverting the same way, but the migrations of customers is a one-way street, i.e., traffic is moving from Uber towards Ola. Not vice versa.

This is how you advertise if you want to say you are offering a cheaper service.

Advertising is all about stating the obvious

It’s simple no? Most of the people do at some point have to catch a train, board flights and buses and know how much it usually costs from prior experience. So why not advertise the fares to places people go to? Basically align your advertising towards their needs.

Also with amount of user data Uber has why have I not seen pricing advertisements as push notifications for the places I generally visit over the weekend. Will it not help introduce the product in my habit?

Let’s strategize

Ola has a deeper penetration in the India’s Tier II cities. This means that there’s a higher chance those who migrate from (or commute between) tier II and tier I cities will have Ola already installed on their phones as opposed to Uber which is seen as the more affluent cousin.

Similarly, Ola’s an outstation cab booking service means that these commuters are more likely to retain the app on their phone. Why? Because most of Tier I city dwellers live in satellite towns or far flung suburbs and the feature is a convenient option to avail.

Now if the buzz around Ola bringing in self-driven car rentals is true, this is another incentive to not uninstall the app.

Why Uber needs to say Ola

Uber’s advantage lies in its advanced technology, precise maps and high density in most areas. All of which have attracted high end customers, who value service more than money (till some extent) but this too has its limitations.

Uber customers are more vocal about the mishaps. For example look at the below complaint

These customers could simply switch to Ola, but they want the system to improve, they want Uber to improve, they don’t want to simply switch to Ola because they are loyal users who do not ride Uber because of better pricing, but for the supposedly better service.

For now, Uber is simply behaving like a big company, they have forgotten that it is India and not U.S.A and to dominate the markets simply great coding and algorithms won’t be enough. Even Mc Donald’s had to introduce ‘Aaloo Tikki’ to remain in the market.

If Ola continues to strategize the same way, I am pretty sure that whosoever is behind these ideas is up for a big appraisal next year.