Meru Mobility: Pioneering Cab Market Place that Hosts the Most- awaited Pricing Innovation

Meru Mobility: Pioneering Cab Market Place that Hosts the Most- awaited Pricing Innovation

Nilesh Sangoi,CEOAfter the mobile app explosion in 2013, the online ride hailing industry has hit a wall since the last few years. During this period, the pricing(cab fare) is entirely dictated by the platform owners. And to expand the category pie by upgrading customers to cab usage and gain the market share by killing the local competition, these platform owner employed predatory pricing through channelizing huge capital funding. After half a decade, this predatory pricing tunnel, however served its course, has narrowed down. In a chase to prove the business model, platform owners are now trying to cut losses by scrapping the driver-incentives, and often laying their hands on customer offer benefits. Akin to most of the evolved marketplace businesses, it’s high time to hand-over the reins to buyers and sellers by bringing-in a true marketplace concept in India’s ride hailing industry too.

For the first time in on-demand ride hailing industry, Meru Mobility Tech Pvt. Ltd. – a leading online transportation network company, has launched a path breaking pricing innovation – Cab Marketplace in its app. This patent pending technology allows Meru’s driver-partners to set the fare (rate per Km) within a specified price range. As soon as customers input the destination of their ride, they can see the various price options set solely by the cab drivers for all nearby cabs. Based on the available cabs, customers can select the price as per their choice. This brings in a healthy competition among drivers, ensuring that the customers get the best value for the ride, every time. ‘Powered’ by Meru’s robust backend infrastructure, the riders & drivers thus constitute a true cab marketplace for the first time in India.

In this model, the riders indeed get to see not just the fare, but also the Expected Time of Arrival(ETA), the car model, and the driver rating ‘before’ going ahead with the booking, and not after the booking confirmation. This encourages Meru’s driver-partners to set competitive rates & offer high quality services, having the power to decide their own earnings.

Spearheading this mission of growing Meru towards profitable and sustainable business model by adapting digital transformation in such a dynamic & highly competitive
industry is Nilesh Sangoi – the founding CTO and current CEO of Meru. Having spent over eleven years with Meru, Nilesh has already played a game changing role in building a technology enabled business with customer-centric innovations. CEO Insights interviews Nilesh to comprehend more about Meru’s inside stories and future perspectives.

"At Meru, we continuously work towards achieving a delightful user experience at every stage of the customer journey"

We are talking about a highly dynamic industry where even survival is a success. What are the strategies to stay ahead of the race?
Over the past few years, large part of industry has moved to dynamic fares and interestingly, it has been accepted by the customers. Now, even the regulators in different states recommend dynamic fares within a price range. Traditionally, such dynamic fares are decided by the platform owners to maximize their revenues. With the innovative Cab Marketplace concept, we give the power of deciding the fares to our driver-partners. This pricing innovation creates a win-win situation, as the riders get to see the fares offered by each of the available nearby cabs, before selecting one. Further more, they can select the most appropriate cab for the occasion, considering anything from the lowest cost, lowest ETA, highest rating or even the car model. The transparency of this model builds trust among our customers as well as driver-partners, taking us to the cutting-edge of market competition.

What are the other features that augment customer experience?
For the past 11 years, technology based innovations that enhance customer experience has been our DNA. Meru App brings host of cutting-edge features which are designed to offer the best of travel experience to the commuters. While offering local city rides, rental packages, and outstation cab service at any time, we also enable our customers advance ride booking(upto 180 days) besides ride now options.

The real time availability, saving favorite locations, instant feedback options, e-Bill receipts, and ride history are some of the other highly useful features that we have incorporated. The customers can also book a ride for some one else and pay fare on their behalf, change the destination during the ride, and select predefined or pay-per-use fare option, while the toll-charges automatically get billed-in based on the geo tracked route detector.

How do you ensure the safety & comfort of customers travelling by your cabs?
For us, passenger safety is of paramount importance. The App is enabled with ‘In Case of Emergency’(ICE)alarm, where in customer can send an emergency
signal to his/her trusted person with the location details including latitude-longitude. It has a hotline option as well – to call the person listed under emergency feature, Police, and Meru Helpline. Apart from ICE, our customers can also enable the built-in real-time Trip Tracking (with tracking number) feature, wherein not just the booking details, but even the ride status of the customer along with geo-location gets shared every 10 minutes with the trusted person registered by the customer.

What are the payment options that Meru provides to its customers and how strong is Meru App’s technological backend?
Meru App is integrated with all the leading wallets in the country like Paytm, Mobikwik, Jio, Free charge, and Citrus. Also, it offers ‘Pay Later’ option powered by Simpl, wherein every eligible customer gets a predefined credit from Simpl for paying Meru-fares seamlessly. It also includes an option to pay via wallet for the rides booked at Meru’s airport counter.

All the technology development is done by the in-house team and we have extremely talented product, engineering, design & data science teams. Our technology landscape is diverse, multi platform-based, and almost entirely based on open-source architectures. We have implemented various technological and automation features at our backend, which help us in delivering customer delight by improving our efficiency, productivity and reducing friction in transportation.

The industry is going to be even more dynamic. What is the future roadmap set for Meru?
Customer experience and service quality are the key pillars of any successful business. At Meru, we continuously work towards achieving a delightful user experience at every stage of the customer journey. Quality of service is on top priority. Going forward, we see Meru as a complete mobility platform. The driver-partners are equally valuable part of our ecosystem and we put equal focus on improving their overall experience, aided by the use of technology.

Key Management:
Nilesh Sangoi, CEO
Nilesh brings with him over two decades of experience in product design, innovation, and developing mobile enabled software platforms, with robust back-end processes that ensure quality & seamless services to the customers.

Office: Mumbai
Offerings:Retail Customers (B2C)
•Local City Rides
•Rental Packages
•Outstation Cab Service

Offerings:Corporate Customer(B2B)
•Employee Transportation Service
•Car Rental
•Events and bulk bookings

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