07 Jan 2019 20:24 IST

Insightful and workable solutions, well presented

Novel strategies suggested to address dilemma faced by aggregators in a competitive market

The case presents an interesting dilemma faced by aggregators in an emerging market characterised by high growth and intense competition. Ola is re-entering into food delivery market after a failed attempt in 2015 through Ola Café. It has acquired Foodpanda for around $50 million and is planning to invest another $200 million in expanding its business. The question is whether Ola should re-enter the food delivery business after its unsuccessful attempt in 2015?

Building on the above scenario, the contestants were asked to respond to three questions: (i) Do you think this is the right time to make an entry into the Indian food delivery market, after a recent debacle in that space; (ii) What steps would you take to succeed in a market in which it is difficult to survive, even for incumbents?; and (iii) What measures would you to take to differentiate the service and cater to Indian customer preferences?

Having assessed all the entries, the expert panel found all the entries to be thoughtful and well presented. Four broad parameters were used to evaluate the entries: (a) originality; (b) application of the underlying concepts; (c) in-depth analysis of the case; and (d) feasibility of the solutions provided.

Listed below are the five best entries of this case competition along with the reasons for selection:

Winner: The solo submission by Shashank S Kamath (of TAPMI) provides an excellent analysis of the case; it explores the reasons behind Ola’s unsuccessful attempt in 2015 and says why conditions are favourable in 2017 compared to a couple of years ago. The steps to be taken by Ola and sources of differentiation are well-researched, discussed at length and readably presented. The analysis makes use of appropriate underlying concepts. And the suggestion of integrating the Ola network system consisting of cab service, food delivery and mobile wallet is well thought through.

First Runners-Up: The team (Urvashi Saboo and Ishan Pimplapure) has outlined the analysis and findings in a concise and creative manner without compromising on details. All important aspects pertaining to the case have been highlighted. The analysis looks at the case from multiple perspectives, such as operations (tracking and route optimisation), information technology (geo-analytics), and digital marketing (social media marketing). The above approach makes their suggestions compelling and attractive.

Second Runners-Up: The team (Mohit Singhania and Anvi Gupta of IIM Bangalore) have looked at the re-entry decision from the perspectives of both the favourability of external environment as well as synergies which Foodpanda and Ola have in terms of their business models. The group has clearly highlighted the benefits which Foodpanda brings to the overall existing system of Ola. The team has suggested many customer-centric measures which Ola can undertake to build a superior customer relationship.

Third Runners-Up: The team (Harshit Sinha and Sanchay Kumar Singh) has provided a detailed account on the need for Ola to diversify into food delivery business in spite of being a dominant player in cab sharing business. Their arguments also delve into why is better for Ola to re-enter the food delivery business through acquisition of Foodpanda and not look for alternative means of re-entry. The team has clearly specified the customer needs which Ola need to address in food delivery and have provided solutions in a way that satisfies the above needs.

Fourth Runners-Up: The team (GV Subashree and Raghul Karthik M of IIM Bangalore) have provided interesting suggestions for Ola to succeed and successfully differentiate itself from other players in food delivery business. The suggestions are interesting, creative and are well supported by the facts given beyond the case. The team has analysed the benefits these suggestions will bring to Ola. It has looked at the solutions from various perspectives, conceptually as well as practically. Overall, the suggestions are compelling and interesting to read.

(The author is Associate Professor, Marketing & Strategy, IBS Hyderabad.)