We have recovered 40% of pre-COVID business so far: Amit Verma, Rapido

Amit Verma Rapido

With a robust marketing strategy and business plans in place, Rapido hopes to recover all business by December, we find more.

A product built to address last-mile connectivity, Rapido has faced the wrath of COVID-19 much like any other mobility app. Potential customers couldn’t step out beyond buying essentials and driver-partners had to face depletion in income. To tackle these challenges and stay relevant in the minds of consumers, Rapido pivoted their marketing strategy and communication and tailored it according to the need of the hour.

They also launched two new services — Rapido Local, person-to-person delivery service and Rapido Store, a one-stop solution for all business deliveries. In conversation with Social Samosa, Amit Verma, Head of Marketing, Rapido tells us more about their marketing strategy.

What were some of the things you had to keep in mind while designing the communication in the face of COVID-19?

Our efforts were aimed at ensuring we are relevant in the everyday lives of our customers. We wanted to engage as much as we could via different types of communication that give the feeling of a personal association to our TG. We indulged in many Q&A’s via Instagram stories to understand our customer’s perspective about COVID-19 and dealing with working from home, hence turning the everyday use cases into our creatives and overall brand communication.

The idea was not to nudge customers to use our platform but to increase awareness of using safety measures through various channels.

For example, we changed the app icon to a mask on the bike and changed our social media cover-pictures with a parked Rapido logo to support and spread the message of staying at home or being safe while stepping out. We also send out localised app notifications that are quirky and relatable to our users.

Could you tell us about the #PeopleForCaptain initiative that you ran for your driver-partners?

The maximum impact of the pandemic and the lockdown was borne by our Captains (driver-partners) as it impacted their income and livelihood. We wanted our Captains to know we are with them in these tough times and will ensure they still have a chance to earn an income to at least feed their families. We launched a fundraiser under the #PeopleForCaptain initiative. The campaign was conceptualized, and executed in-house, and the donations went to help our Captains in the form of monetary support and daily essentials. 

What were some of the steps you took to inspire confidence among potential customers?

Understanding the challenges of customers and hesitation to take public transport, we introduced new policies and mandated sanitization guidelines like providing mandatory sanitized half helmets as opposed to full-face helmets before every ride and encouraging customers to carry their personal helmet through Rapido app. We also introduced Rapido Safety Shields to minimise touchpoints for the customer during the ride.

While planning for these developments, we kept interacting with our customers and Captains through app notifications, social media channels, etc. to understand their needs and could anticipate any challenges in providing our services.

Also Read: How Bangalore based Yulu emphasises on a layered marketing strategy to keep people moving

Now that cities are going through unlock, what does marketing strategy at Rapido look like?

Our brand initiatives focus on increasing our brand awareness, so that any potential customers who are on the lookout for our service offerings, know about the safety measures we put in place and choose our services. 

From a social media POV, we planned on driving this through our user-generated content (UGC) as well as Captain stories.

We planned & executed in-house videos covering the stories that talk about why safety matters especially when you are left with no choice but to step out or how to protect yourself when you have no option but to step out. 

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“Once a man canceled his ride upon realizing that his captain was a woman. When asked why he’d want to cancel his ride, he replied he doesn’t want to ride behind a woman. On the other hand, there are other male customers who would appreciate me and say that they’d also encourage their daughters to join Rapido.” Meet Nibedita Banerjee from Asansol. It’s been almost seven months since she has joined Rapido and is proud to be the first-ever woman captain from her city. She is a two-wheeler enthusiast and a professional trainer. As a child, she saw her cousins riding bikes and wanted to join them but was never included. She then decided she’d learn and go on bike rides all by herself. Initially, she was quite skeptical about joining Rapido, after days of contemplation she summoned the courage to visit the regional office and got herself registered as a captain. She didn’t join for the sake of earning money, but for the sole reason to help people travel and feel liberated & avoid sitting idle at home. It makes her immensely happy when other female captains approach and thank her for giving them the intrepidity to join Rapido & when other customers laud her for independence. It’s the world’s best feeling, it motivates her to achieve all she aspires to! #HumansOfRapido

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We also launched our first video campaign #PromiseofProtection that showcases Rapido’s commitment to safety and protection of its users, through an understanding of different relationships in life and leveraging the topicality of Rakshabandhan.

What do you feel are going to be the biggest challenges ahead when it comes to providing services and recovering business?

Considering the need of the hour, our services are already seeing demand in close to 100 cities that we are present in and have recovered 40% of pre-COVID business so far. With our marketing and business plans in place, we expect 100% business recovery by December 2020.

One of the key marketing challenges we see for not only our brand but the commuting sector, in general, is the fact that it is a very functional category. Owing to this, a lot of initiatives and efforts need to be put in place to establish even the slightest emotional connect with our customers and make the service an indispensable choice.