One would have thought that the introduction of ORide, a bike hailing system backed by its specialized application (Opay App) would take a long time before it finally finds its footing in Ibadan, Oyo State – as a somewhat laid-back society- when the company announced its launch in June.
Creating a Space for Leadership
Lagos has been the hub of technology evolution and digital transformation in Nigeria. It is usually the hotbeds that make or mar a new product in the vast Nigeria market. However, most time, that a new product especially technology product and services has an easy inroad into the cosmopolitan Lagos market may not translate the same measure of success for the new entrant.
In his book, The Villager, former Insight Communication CEO, Feyi Olubodun, explained that people are beginning to change from the orientation that Lagos lifestyle is the pacesetter that others should emulate.
According to him, everyone now has an identity and people now create their own pleasure and a Lagosians shouldn’t be surprised to see that that local man is more exposed even than those in cities. The ORide team seems to have borrowed from the Villager, to venture into this new (fringe) market and dominate.
With other bike hailing companies like Gokada, MaxOkada, EasyMobility in Lagos, ORide which also has its operation in Lagos quickly saw a gap in transportation activities in the largest city of West Africa, Ibadan by being the first commercial bike hailing company to move beyond Lagos to other southwest states while still maintaining a fair share of the market in Lagos.
Price as Bait to Build Large Customer Base
In June 2019 at its inception, ORide on an aggressive marketing note by announcing that all transaction with the bike company would be tagged at N50 only regardless of the locations. This sounds so enticing though people were sceptical. This enticing offer propelled many to download the app just to ascertain the truthfulness or faux. For the whole month of June, all passengers were treated with royal respect, giving them a pleasure to travel far distance without the fear of spending an extra fee.
In August, the company inched up its price point to the N100 mark which still seems cool to those who have enjoyed it and to new customers who have been privy to customers’ word of mouth testimonials.
Building a Motivated Loyal Team
According to Emmanuel Olawale, an ORide rider in Ibadan, he makes over N4000 every day which he couldn’t make when he was still operating the famed Okada. He said the initiative gives the riders freedom from union activities and payment of an illegal fee to the associations. “When they see this uniform and the helmet, they can’t stop me, even police can’t arrest me unnecessarily unless I disobey traffic rules”. He added that they have speed limit as specified by the management and anyone who goes against such would be sanctioned.
The most enjoyable part is getting customers instantly and constantly without burning fuel looking for passengers all over the street. “I don’t look for passengers, ORide gets passengers for me,” says Paul Daniel Erhazee, a former commercial bike operator who recently joined ORide.
Data for Security
The many benefits working for ORide according to Erhazee include low risk of encountering dubious passengers who would not want to pay for service. In his words, “In the time past, I have taken passengers to far places I didn’t know and the customer, in turn, would give me N50 claiming we didn’t negotiate earlier or begging me that they don’t have money. But now, you can’t cheat OPay”, he said.
While this may sound funny, it’s part of the risk commercial bike operators face at work, while some have been victims of fraudulent passengers, some have lost their lives for lack of record or data on their passengers. Having to download the OPay app before access to service makes automatically provides an antidote against security challenges.
Building on First Mover Advantage
ORide bike hailing company is no doubt enjoying its first-mover advantage in the city of Ibadan. It’s innovative low fare entry strategy of ₦50 per ride compelled prospects their 1000s to give the brand a trial. With ORide’s above-average customer service, a trial, as they say, convinced the customers hence emerging a powerful market leader in less than three months.
The Sucker Punch against Competition
Though many have faulted the unethical practice of the company in Lagos especially on the poaching of employees of its rival, Gokada, taking four of its top executives and offering N30,000 extra sign-on fee to riders joining from Gokada. Some, however, see this as part of the business play which is bound to happen in a competitive market with limited expertise.
Waxing Strong with other Streams
Another additional advantage ORide provides is the special features on the Opay Mobile app that allow transactions like fund transfer (to a bank account and telephone), pay for utility bills and mobile airtime recharge, OFood (a prominent feature of the app which allows you to order food from restaurants) Also, people can place bets on one of the major sport betting platforms in Nigeria from within the payment app. These special features are available for everybody even when you are not using the ORide.
The Real Value
With constant improvement and consumer-focused strategies, the bike hailing business could just be a relief to hellish transportation situation, especially in our highly populated urban centres. All things being equal, the chaotic transport situation in Ibadan and the series of Opay add-ons will continue to propel the ORide service to the front burner in Ibadan as the number 1 bike hailing brand.
Written by: Lekan Ajayi