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No longer app only, Uber lets its users book a cab from web


Uber has launched a web interface where non-Uber-app-possessors can get a UberGO cab from dial.uber.com from the browser. Users do, however, need to login or create an account by first entering their mobile number and or Facebook/Google credentials. Users can pay in cash and currently, this service is live only in Nagpur, Kochi, Guwahati, and Jodhpur. Uber does not specify if it plans to extend this to other cities.

Last month, Uber tied up with Snapdeal to let Snapdeal users book a cab from the Snapdeal Android app. Users needn’t have Uber installed on their phones to get a cab.

Note that in July 2015, Ola went app only (it had app, web and phone booking), claiming that 99% of its bookings (over 95% in smaller cities) came through the app, as compared to 20% at the time of launch in 2011.

MediaNama’s take: This had to happen. I cannot say if downloading the app was a pain point in terms of MBs or otherwise, but the move makes sense, and is just in time. Eventually, we expect multiple app only based services to also offer web platforms to offer their services from. With this, Uber is also addressing user freedom of choice, letting them book from where they like.

Upfront fares and suspending surge pricing

In June, Uber implemented an “upfront fare” in parts of the US and in India where users could see how much a ride would cost, taking into factor expected travel time, distance, traffic, surge and tolls where applicable for the fare. In the same month, it suspended surge pricing in Karnataka and Delhi after capping fares at rates fixed by the government in Delhi. Ola and Uber had suspended surge pricing in Delhi in April as well, following a government warning that it would take strict action, including impound cabs and cancellation of permits, against those who flouted government rules.

Last month, Uber claimed that it completed 2 billion rides globally in 6 years since its inception. On an average, it provided 5.5 million rides daily. Note that these rides are across Uber’s services like Go, X, POOL etc, and Uber did not provide a breakdown of the same. In June, Uber said that in Delhi and Bangalore, UberPOOL accounted for 25% of all its trips and that it was doing 50,000 trips weekly in both these cities.

The most popular companies to take an app-only approach after first launching their desktop sites have been Flipkart and Myntra.
– In May 2015, Myntra announced the shutting down of its website to switch to an app only option, because 95% of its traffic and 70% of its transactions were coming via mobile. 6 months after this, Myntra relaunched its mobile website. In May this year, Myntra relaunched its desktop website.
– In March 2015, Flipkart shut down its mobile website and redirected its users to Google’s Play Store and iOS’ App Store to download the apps. In August 2015, Flipkart made some of the products on its platform available app only. In November 2015, it relaunched its mobile website.
– In April 2015, services marketplace LocalOye went app only, but the move backfired 4 months later, and it reinstated some of the services on desktop in July 2015.

Also read: Another reason why you shouldn’t go app only

Image Credit: Damian Moore under CC BY SA 2.0

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