#BackToBusiness: Rapido’s Aravind Sanka on the strategy that needs to be followed to bounce back

Brands should look at localisation and customisation to cater to the needs of the audience in Tier 2, 3 and beyond markets, says Sanka

Aravind Sanka, co-founder, Rapido
Aravind Sanka, co-founder, Rapido

As brands try to find a sign of semblance post a period of uncertainty, it has become more important than ever to understand and evolve as per changing consumer expectations. From selling goods online to incorporating consumer feedback are some of the ways brands are trying to remain relevant. Aravind Sanka, co-founder, Rapido, talks about how brands and agencies can engage with their consumers–

On the playbook, brands and agencies need to adopt in the new normal

The actions and messages put out by brands in the new normal will be remembered for years to follow and in this unprecedented time, brands need to put themselves out in the most reimagined way possible.

Their playbook should involve strategies that focus on putting out their thoughts transparently and clearly. Customers need to know about the business developments and relate to the changes being proposed. The tone that addresses the business challenges and the solutions that are being offered should be empathetic and understanding.

Finally, the most important strategy is to keep an eye out for opportunities to lend a hand out for the betterment of the society. Beyond embracing the new normal, brands should look out for the greater good. This also helps in driving visibility to what the brand or agency is doing for the business and driving for the environment around it.

On the gradual return of the business – how much of it is restored and the new trends which can be spotted compared to pre-Covid times

Our main business of bike taxi is seeing 70-75% of business return to pre-Covid time and we expect it to get back to 100% in the next few months. The cities we are present in for more than a year are already profitable. Post resuming our services in the Unlock Phase, we have seen 100% recovery of markets like Delhi and Guwahati, where the adoption of bike taxi is rampant because of the connectivity and ease of commute it provides along with a safe ride.

Post the pandemic, we have seen trends where customers are not only using us for last-mile connectivity, but for end-to-end transportation. Our average distance has increased to 35% in some cities and overall, we saw a 25% increase.

On how brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers

Brands can look at various strategies to create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers. Leveraging their social and traditional media, brands can make consumers aware about their various efforts to bring back the business to normal. Many businesses now look at ways to deliver the experience at home. Partnerships are the key to build these magical experiences for customers. Brands should also understand the target group and their preference since almost all age groups are consuming their content digitally.

On the contribution of online versus offline outlets, how brands can make the most of the shift towards digital

One of the biggest advantages that brands can leverage is their presence online. They have to look at a more robust strategy to build their digital presence and not only limit to websites and social media but also build interactive platforms like Apps and Communities, where they can get real-time feedback from customers. This will help brands in their future planning and build strategies that directly appease their audience.

Offline outlets can be a much slower approach. Considering the pandemic is still active, phase-wise approach with stringent safety measures should be put in place. Brands should also focus on communicating clear messages on the availability of offline stores and the guidelines to be followed as there are quite a lot of information and consumers will look up to their favourable brands for clarity.

On how your category has evolved and the steps to be undertaken by brands to connect within Tier 2, 3, 4 markets and beyond

During the lockdown, we found it even more imperative to understand the customer and address their most urgent requirement – which was to get access to essentials like food, medicines and groceries. This insight helped us focus on accelerating our logistics business and launch two new services – Rapido Local and Rapido Store – that helped deliver essentials to the customer’s doorstep through our Captains.

The consumer behavior drastically evolved to adapt to the new situation and we observed, post the Covid-19 pandemic, auto rickshaws emerged as a preferred way of commuting after bike taxis. Learning to adapt to the new way to commute and need for safe commute options, Rapido Auto was launched across most of the cities we are present in.

In the last few months, we observed a rising need for multi-stop, affordable and easily accessible ride among customers, especially our high usage customers. With Rapido Rental, we aim to address the need of such users who have a use case of multi-point travel. And provide them with superior experience that reduces their exposure to multiple riders and avoids the hassle of booking multiple time and waiting for a different rider to arrive after every booking.

With the increase in the penetration of internet and smartphones in India post lockdown, it is important for brands to realise the expansion of their target group. Brands should look at localisation and customisation to cater to the needs of the audience in Tier 2, 3 and beyond markets.

Read Also: #BackToBusiness: Enormous Brands’ Ashish Khazanchi on the strategy that needs to be followed to bounce back

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