Power of freemium and PickMe
The Sri Lankan taxi industry which is 50+ years old, has never been properly regulated. This is one of the industries which doesn’t have any disciplines to follow. Anyone who has a three-wheeler or a four-wheeler can start running for commercial. The commuters had quite a lot of pain points. But unfortunately everyone has to live with it.
As a solution for one of the pain points, approximately 15 years before a digital meter was introduced to the market. Even though drivers were reluctant at the beginning, due to the market demand most of the drivers started to adopt the digital meter.
We at Pickme saw this pain points which were not addressed for quite a long time as an opportunity. But we were well aware that few other people tried before but it was not that very successful.
When we were ready with our software, the main challenge we faced was how to build this eco system. At this point we were in a chicken and egg situation; drivers wiould never understand the advantages of having an app based platform and on the other-side passengers would get frustrated if they don’t see vehicle when they open the app for the first time.
In order to build this eco system, we started to give a devices to a drivers Free of Charge which is value more than Rs. 20,000.00. Once we hit around 100 devices, we released the passenger app to the app-stores. Since the device was free, the drivers didn’t mind to keep it on and when the passengers opened the app they saw vehicles and they got wowed on our service. This excitement started to bring referrals for us.
We treat these initial drivers as our premium drivers, since they went through the initial pains with us.
Freemium allowed us to start the ball rolling. Then the drivers started to realize the benefits of the device. Suddenly, we had whole heap of drivers coming to office everyday, to the extent that the police visited us frequently due to neighbors complains. This exponential demand motivated us to bring new features for the passengers as well as for the drivers.
We believe without the freemium we wouldn’t have come to where we are now and wouldn’t have seen this exiting growth we are experiencing.