Whosoever dreamed up Ola Select & Ola Play for ANI Technologies (DBA Ola Cabs) should be given a raise & promotion!
Finally, Ola has created divergence in the radio taxi market by providing a product with a clear differentiator to Uber and caters to the pent up frustration that Uber loyalists (like myself) have with the largest cab aggregator in the world.
For the uninitiated, Ola Select is a member service at Rs. 499 per month (quarterly or half-yearly packages are cheaper) and in return Ola provides
- Prime taxis at Mini rates (i.e. Uber X at Uber Go rates)
- Zero surge pricing
- Priority booking
- Latest model cars
- Highest rated drivers
Ola Cabs with specially modified tablets, controlled by the riders Ola app, are called Ola “Play” cabs. The tablet, provides video & audio content on demand. The audio content is provided by Apple Music and the video content includes the Kapil Sharma Show, TVF, AIB, etc. Everything from the volume to the selection of content is controlled by the rider (through the app). Most interestingly if the rider leaves any content mid-way, the app remembers that and starts the content exactly where it was left – brilliant!
I have been an Uber loyalist for the past 2 years but, a couple of incidents in the past few months had frustrated me with the largest cab aggregator in the world. It was my opinion that Uber took its Indian customers for granted. The Uber cabs weren’t clean, their customer service staff sent rude replies and I realised that their “surge” pricing wasn’t based on any law of supply and demand as they claimed.
Ola tapped into that frustration by providing a promised “Zero Surge” and with the personalised & elite product like Ola Select & Ola Play they have captured my interest and delighted me to make me promote them here!
This is a lesson for any startup (Flipkart are you listening?) that Ola isn’t cheaper than Uber for the same distance but they (I believe) have tapped into the frustrations of the Uber customers with a product at an affordable price to win them from Uber. Ola isn’t giving these premium services for free but by charging a fee they ensure that the customer will use them on priority for the duration of their membership – it’s a brilliant move where they make money on both ends!
How Uber responds to this (if at all) will be interesting to watch… If Uber response is to get into another price war to win the consumer’s loyalty they will be well advised to memorise the age-old quote from Benjamin Graham
Price is what you pay, Value is what you get