Taking a U-turn on its whole strategy in the electrification race, Ola Electric is now intending to open over 200 experience centers throughout India by the first quarter of 2023, with a restructuring of their organization.
Ola Electric is expanding its present digital-only sales approach for the S1 electric scooters and plans to create over 200 physical showrooms around the country by March 2023. The firm presently has just 20 physical contact points in the nation, which will be significantly boosted in the near future. According to reports, the ‘experience centers’ would be owned and run by the company. Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal announced the news on Twitter.
“Opening up experience centers around the country,” Aggarwal tweeted. Already 20, with more than 200 by March! Customers love the ease of online purchases and test rides, and the number is expanding by the day. Experience centers will allow even more individuals to try out our items!”
With this approach, the corporation plainly intends to attract those prospective consumers who are hesitant to book a vehicle without personally inspecting it. It also suggests that these centers will function as after-sales and servicing touch points, which will aid in the development of user trust and improve the ownership experience.
Aside from the retail store variables, since sales of its electric two-wheeler continue to fall, ride-hailing giant is allegedly cutting off around 200 staff in another round, this time from its different software divisions of ANI technologies, which function at Ola Cabs. Around 200 people from Ola Electric’s software divisions have been asked to go, leaving its 2,000-strong engineer team short of 10% of the manpower — as part of a bigger reorganization effort aimed at realizing the company’s electric idea.
The corporation denied laying off 500 people, saying it is “centralizing operations and executing a restructuring process to reduce redundancies and develop a strong lateral structure that reinforces important roles and activities.”
“The firm presently employs around 2,000 engineers and plans to expand its engineering talent pool to 5,000 over the next 18 months,” the company stated. Previously, more than 1,000 people were affected by restructuring exercises across the company’s product, marketing, sales, supply, technology, business, and operations verticals. However, as per sources, the layoffs affected less than 500 people rather than 1,000 and were “the outcome of restructuring in the Cars and Dash divisions.”
Despite having previously said that it was at the vanguard of breaking traditional automobile distribution channels by selling directly to consumers online via the Ola app, Ola Electric has shifted tactics. However, after a fire involving one of its electric scooters in March, demand for its scooters began to plummet in June. It may slash expenses further, which might result in a reduction in its technical team at the ride-hailing company. Ola has also been resolutely committed to a digital-only sales strategy from the release of its first electric scooter in August 2021; nevertheless, in order to fight dwindling sales, the company is increasingly depending on physical interaction points for potential consumers to experience the product before purchasing. These dealerships may also serve as post-sale consumer touchpoints. Thereby, despite its objectives, Ola Electric may be compelled to rely on traditional ways of having storefronts and dealerships rather than functioning only through its app. With ambitious goals of becoming a solution provider, this U-turn may have been unavoidable in Ola Electric’s electrification race in this EV ecosystem.