Uber on its way to gliding ahead of Ola in the Indian Market New tactical plans by Uber may require Ola to re-think its growth strategy

By Priyannkaa Dey

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Reuters | Kai Pfaffenbach

Uber and Ola have become household names now with people of every age-group opting for its cab services. Ola has fast emerged as the biggest name in the taxi-booking business in India with varied ideas and proposals to allure even the common man towards its style of functioning.

However, now the US-based Uber is fast catching up with Ola. Uber is planning ahead to give tough competition to all its opponents. Ola and Uber have diverse approaches and it remains to be seen which is more successful in the long term.

Ola has decided to add new services to increase its reach and generate interest among every Indian. This has been possible by adding new segments like auto-rickshaws and food delivery apart from the main cab-booking services.

On the other side, Uber has been more focused towards growing the number of drivers rapidly. This is the core concentration area as it will help in ferrying more passengers. Presently, more than 2-3 lakh drivers are registered on the network of Ola and Uber (excluding auto-rickshaws and the black-and-yellow taxis).

Industry experts feel that even though Ola enjoys the undisputed #1 position in the country, it needs to sketch a future plan because the analyzing and questioning of its approach has already started making noise. Also, a strong competitor is aiming to topple it over so ignoring details can be risky.

Uber has been very particular about certain new plans which include accepting cash payments, making sure that substantial incentives of drivers depend on number of rides & the customer feedback. These initiatives in turn aided in increasing its fleet size too.

All these schemes are attracting investors towards Uber and like everyone knows, investors can change the game for any domain of business. Also, they are keeping a sharp watch to know how actively drivers are performing as most of the drivers ply for both Ola and Uber.

Another significant factor is the fact that even though same drivers might be registered with both the taxi aggregators but the number of drivers who actually log on to the system or app might be less in case of Ola as compared to Uber.

Nevertheless, Ola has grown pan-India and has its presence in around 100 cities now. The praiseworthy fact is that Ola is doing great business in all 22 cities where Uber also has a strong hold.

In the recent past, Ola has focused more on expansion and on addition of unique services like food and grocery delivery, motorcycle taxis and even shuttle services. This has helped Ola become a household name that everyone can afford.

Uber has been concentrating more on customer service by opening various centres, setting stricter guidelines for drivers and basically expanding the core business by reaching out to multiple cities.

The aggressive expansion and investment strategy has increasingly helped Uber to gain market or ride share while Ola's current ride share has dropped. Ola as a corrective measure is on its way to launching new and distinctive solutions like Ola Prime, Ola Share, etc which will also be publicized strongly in the market and select cities.

Unique discount solutions for passengers and positively encouraging incentives for drivers will help both Uber and Ola to gain market share. Nonetheless, time will tell which one of the two is more successful in luring new & loyal customers as that can change the entire equation.

Moreover, this will depend on better availability of cars and better services. These two are the primary things that a normal customer looks for while booking a cab. Thus, the market share will also tilt towards that cab aggregator which is better in these two areas.

Car utilization and balancing the availability with the demand will ultimately decide the profits in the long term. Till then, it will be a "wait, watch and plan' game for both the big names in the taxi-booking business in India.
Priyannkaa Dey

Sr Sub-Editor, Entrepreneur India

With around five years of editorial and writing experience from magazines such as ‘DataQuest’, ‘Leisure & Resorts’, ‘Voice&Data’; Priyanka has also worked in the digital communication department of organizations like ‘Brentwoods’; ‘n & n Chopra Consultants Pvt. Ltd’ and ‘Delhi Public School Greater Faridabad’. Her interests include blog reading and writing. The author is a senior sub-editor at 'Entrepreneur Online' and has completed her studies from Jamia Millia Islamia.

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