Ola Electric to open 200 experience centres by FY23-end | The Financial Express

Ola Electric to open 200 experience centres by FY23-end

The decision to open physical centres comes at a time when Ola Electric has seen its market share decline for the fourth straight month in August. Ola Electric now accounts for just 6.8% of the entire electric two-wheeler category, down sharply from its peak of 25.5% in April, according to Vahan and ICICI Securities data.

Ola Electric to open 200 experience centres by FY23-end
These centres will all be company-owned and operated, a person aware of the developments said.

Ola Electric said it is gearing up to open over 200 experience centres across the country by the end of FY23, up from the 20 outlets that it currently has, CEO Bhavish Aggarwal tweeted on Sunday.

Over the past week, the company has converted its services and a few other physical touch-points to what will now be called experience centres, where customers get to know Ola products better before they book it online. These centres will all be company-owned and operated, a person aware of the developments said.

“Opening up experience centres across the country. 20 already, more than 200 by March! Customers (are) loving the convenience of online purchases and test rides — thousands a day and growing. Experience centres will enable even more people to experience our products!” Aggarwal’s tweet read.

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Apart from enabling sales of the Ola electric bikes, customers can also get their vehicles serviced at the experience centres. “Ola Electric has realised that not everyone is comfortable buying scooters fully online only. The experience centres will allow customers to understand the product better, take test rides and everything else related to their purchase, which will eventually still be done through their Ola apps or the website. The plan is to continue following a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model,” the person cited above added.

The decision to open physical centres comes at a time when Ola Electric has seen its market share decline for the fourth straight month in August. Ola Electric now accounts for just 6.8% of the entire electric two-wheeler category, down sharply from its peak of 25.5% in April, according to Vahan and ICICI Securities data.

Sporadic fire incidents in the past and other negative commentary have dragged the company’s sales lower at a time when overall electric two-wheeler sales have been increasing. In August, EV two-wheeler companies sold a total of 50,346 units, up roughly 13% month-on-month, of which Ola’s contribution was a mere 3,421 scooters. Once the market leader, the company now does not find itself even in the top five, losing some share to Hero MotoCorp-backed Ather Energy, among others.

In August, Hero Electric commanded 20.8% of the entire EV 2W category, followed by Okinawa with 17%, Ampere at 12.7%, TVS Motor with 12.5% and Ather Energy at 10.4%. Analysts, however, said physical stores will definitely help Ola Electric increase its sales, but it was difficult to estimate the incremental business just yet.

“Ola’s digital-only sales model so far did not have that (physical stores) and many prospective customers shied away from purchases, even though they might have liked the scooter on paper. Moreover, the digital-only channel wasn’t adequate to handle the many service-related concerns that came by. So, this move by Ola is, in a way, an eventuality and should enhance the overall customer experience even if the booking, payment, and delivery still continue online, but it’s difficult to tell the degree of it at this point,” said Suraj Ghosh, director, mobility, S&P Global.

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First published on: 19-09-2022 at 05:40 IST