Ola launches a grocery delivery service, called Ola Store

Steven Loeb · July 21, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3ee1

This launch comes only a few months after the Indian car service launched a food delivery app

Ola is often called the "Indian Uber," because its the largest e-hailing service in that country. Now that name is really starting to take on new meaning, though, as the company has begun branching off into a lot of the same territory as its counterpart in the United States.

It's latest experiment is called Ola Store, its new grocery delivery app that it launched on Android on Tuesday.

Customers are able to shop for over 12,000 products in 13 different categories.  While there is no minimum order value, there is a charge of Rs.30 ($0.47) on orders below Rs.250 ($3.93). Delivery is free for orders above Rs.250.

Ola Store delivers only from 9 AM to 10 PM everyday and promises to have the groceries delivered within 90 mins of ordering. Customers are able to pay via Ola Money, Net banking, Cash On Delivery (COD), and credit/ debit card on delivery.

The service is currently only available in Bangalore, but the company says it will be looking to expand soon.

This new service is reminiscent of some that have been run by Uber. In December, the on-demand car service rebranded its delivery service, then called Corner Store, as UberEssentials, calling it "a limited-time-only experiment." 

The company stated that it could deliver items "in 10 minutes or less," and expanded its list of products to include "holiday essentials" such as batteries, Hanukkah candles, scotch tape, wrapping paper and celebration mini lights, along with year round items that include drinks, snacks, cold and flu remedies, tissues, razors, pain relievers and condoms.

The experient was not a success, as UberEssentials was shut down in January, though, as of April, the company was to said to be launching its own merchant delivery app with a limited set of brands, including illesteva, Bing Bang Jewelry, Phyllis + Rosie, Mack Weldon, Jinsoon, Industry Standard, Outdoor Voices and Negative Underwear.

This is not the first time that Ola and Uber have gone after the same markets. In March Ola unveiled its own food delivery service called Ola Cafe, following the launch of UberEATS, a slightly rebranded version of UberFresh, the food delivery pilot program for users in certain sections of Santa Monica, California that Uber launched in August of last year.

Delivery seems to be a natural extension for on-demand car services; they've already built of their fleets of drivers and cars, so having them transport goods instead of people seems like the next logical step.

Uber, which has a large presence in India, it is actually the company's largest market outside of the United States, has been struggling there recently, particularly following an incident in New Delhi in December, where a passenger was allegedly raped by a driver.

That  caused the service to be sued, as well as banned in that city, and in Hyderabad. The company had strengthed its safety and security features in response, but it has likely muted the company's ability to launch new services, including delivery, in that country.

Ola has been taking advantage of that situation, raising  $400 million in funding to help expand its fleet, and then acquiring rival service TaxiForSure for $200 million. The company says that is it India’s largest taxi hailing service, with over 100,000 vehicles across 67 cities,

If Ola can establish itself as the preiminent car and delivery service in India, it will be that much more difficult for Uber to break in.

This launch was first reported by The Next Web.

VatorNews has reached out to Ola for further comment. We will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source: olastore.com)

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Uber is a ridesharing service headquartered in San Francisco, United States, which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers.