India’s first on-demand bike taxi service— was launched in December 2015 by IIT Delhi alumni, Manu Rana and Ashutosh Johari. Gurgaon-based ride-hailing app came as a blessing for people suffering from last mile connectivity issue.One of the highlighting factors is that the company uses only commercial bikes to ensure safety and adherence to regulations.
In a candid conversation, Rohit Koshy, Entrepreneur in Residence, sheds some light on what makes Baxi stand apart from other operators in the market and reveals the company’s branding tactics.
What would you say is the USP of Baxi?
The USP of Baxi is that we are one of the few operators who has a very strong offline presence. Large companies like Ola and Uber are 100 percent online, and app-based only. Whereas, we understand the pulse of our customers; that’s why we have a large offline presence.
How would you define your target audience?
Everybody who wants to reach their location on time and doesn’t want to get heckled by auto fellows orwait for their cabs to come. When you use Baxi, all you have to do is walk up to our bike stand, take a bike and go to your destination.
Is there a certain demography you are targeting?
No, there’s nothing like that. Our customers are mostly college students and young employees, including both men and women.
What kind of marketing hacks did you employ to get your first 1000 customers?
We have reached about 1 lakh customers now.And for that we did a lot of outdoor branding. You know those office buildings in Sector 44, Gurgaon?Across that sector, we did branding on food carts and kiosks. We established our bike stand there. So, when people went out to get a meal, they would see our bike, and bike riders in yellow jackets.Because of that we achieved high brand recall. There’s one more tactic we used for branding – the metro station in Huda City Centre has very high footfall, and in order to bank on that, we decided to set up three bike stands just outside that station, so whichever exit people come out of, they cannot miss our bikes.
So, are you planning to expand your services?
Yes. Right now, we are present in Gurgaon and Faridabad, but soon we are going to other states. Most probably somewhere in north India. It largely depends on the government’s permission.
The transportation space is witnessing intense competition. So, how are you planning to set Baxi apart from your competitors?
One is quality of service and second is our customer base. I think Baxi has the highest customer base. We are ranked first in Faridabad, and second or third in Gurgaon. I believe, it’s all about building your customer base.Also, references by customers play a huge role. If you provide good service to your customers, they will definitely refer your brand to others.
How are you planning to retain that customer base?
By continuing to provide good service. So, we have something called ‘favourite’ in which if a customer likes a particular bike rider, then that person can mark him as ‘favourite’, so that next time they book a ride, they can keep having rides from their favourite bikers.
When it comes to branding, do you have a favorite medium of communication like digital or outdoor?
We have a digital presence but we are not very active on social media. Although we have 50,000 app downloads, and almost 70 percent of our business originates from offline initiatives;and once a customer uses our service, from there on we start contacting them directly through SMSs. We are not very concerned about digital right now. We try to focus on outdoor and BTL campaigns.
Where do you see Baxi in the next three years?
In the next three years, we would have definitely covered most of the states in India, and would have expanded our presence in few other countries too.