India has been a test-bed for Uber’s emerging marketing strategy, where it builds innovations extends them to other developing countries.

Uber looking to diversify from app-only bookings to focus on calls social media
Atom Cab Aggregators Thursday, June 01, 2017 - 12:49

The competition is getting tougher each day in the cab aggregator space. After news that Uber is testing in-car entertainment like Ola, it is now looking at new ways of booking.

According to a report by the Economic Times, Uber is considering the possibility of allowing customers to book cabs by making a phone call or sending a text message. 

In fact, Uber is also looking at ways to call for a cab using social media or chat options like WhatsApp. 

Apurva Dalal, Uber’s head of engineering told ET that the company's R&D centre in Bengaluru is currently experimenting with different ways for people to book an Uber without having to use an app. “In India and in other emerging markets, the application is not the only way to get an Uber, there are other ways in which we communicate in India -we call, we SMS, we WhatsApp," Dalal added.

Uber says it is looking at all those who wouldn’t want to download the app or want the app to be light and those with poor network. 

Interestingly, Uber didn’t want to set up a call centre for phone-based booking in India despite cab aggregator guidelines mandating it

On the other hand, Uber’s biggest rival Ola introduced an offline booking feature on its app in October last year where users could send their current location via SMS. It even launched a web progressive app to tap smaller towns with poor network connections. 

ET reports that India has been a test-bed for Uber’s emerging marketing strategy, where it built innovations and then extended them to other similar developing countries. For example, the cash payments option, which was first rolled out in India, worked quite well in Jakarta.

In the past one year, the company has rolled out several features that are specific to India, such as cash payments, Dial an Uber and call centre support for drivers. And according to Uber, the response to “Dial an Uber has been quite positive, with more response coming from those with feature phones and limited data connectivity. 

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