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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Gojek’s new app, new opportunity for earning income amid Covid-19 storm

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Gojek’s app and brand unification in Vietnam would not come at a better time than now, when it not only helps to enhance user experience across markets, but brings about potential income-earning opportunities that are much needed in the time of the pandemic.

A single app for all

August 5 marked an important day for the Indonesian-backed on-demand multi-service platform Gojek as it officially launched the app in Vietnam, following a two-year trial run under the brand of GoViet. The move now represents Gojek’s long-term strategy to make a lasting positive impact and accelerate innovation for its customers in the country.

“Vietnam’s always been one of our most important markets, and as a result when we decided to bring the apps and brands together, we’ve done so in Vietnam first,” said Kevin Aluwi, co-CEO of Gojek, in an interview with Saigon Times via Zoom on the day of the app debut.

What’s more, the country, according to Andre Soelistyo, also co-CEO of Gojek, is special for the Group in a sense that it shares a number of similarities with Gojek’s home market, in terms of a motorcycle culture, when most services and products are based on the back of the motorcycles. “It’s something special in Indonesia and also special in Vietnam.”

Yet Gojek could not launch the app and brand it had at the time in Vietnam two years ago. Aluwi explained that creating separate apps and brands was fit at the time when Gojek first went to international markets like Thailand and Vietnam, as its focus then was to get to markets beyond Indonesia as soon as possible. Such strategy was also appropriate in helping avoid an extensive amount of integration work for the startup.

The “separate” app, meanwhile, has seemed to fulfill its pilot role in satisfying local drivers, merchants and customers, with certain services available in Vietnam, including motorbike ride-hailing, logistics and food delivery. But as demand for other services, or rather an inclusive ecosystem, is on the rise, Gojek believes it is just the right time now for an upgrade or rebrand of the app in the country, and ultimately in other markets in the region.

The single app, according to Aluwi, will allow customers, drivers and merchants to simultaneously and seamlessly enjoy the better functionality, better user experience, and faster update across all markets that Gojek serves.

“This one app will create a much more robust ecosystem. With separate apps, updates and improvements can be delayed for various reasons. With this launch today, what we’re focusing on is really bringing in a consistent, great experience across all of our users in Southeast Asia,” noted Aluwi.

The plan for Vietnam

Given the rebranding and unification of the apps, the local market will not only be welcoming a plethora of new features but also the opportunities to enjoy new income-earning streams, which deemed to be essential at a time of crisis.

“In the short-term, because of the unification of the apps, there will be a lot of features that are going to be added on the core services that we’ve already offered in Vietnam, which mainly are the two-wheel transport, food, delivery, and logistics. There will be additional features that were designed to actually enhance the user experience and we hope that those features will actually help to grow the market in the short term,” said Soelistyo.

And those additional features will likely include the four-wheel transport and digital payment services, which are currently available in other markets but not yet in Vietnam.

According to Soelistyo, given the unification, from a technology-readiness perspective, the speed to launch new products and services to the local market can be much faster, yet the hurdles lie in establishing the path to get the products and services into the market.

“It’s being done right now, so we hope in the medium-term, there will be more services that we will introduce to reduce our users’ daily frictions.”

Meanwhile, as the pandemic has one way or another taken its toll on many businesses around the world, certain services offered by Gojek like transport have also been impacted. Yet, for Soelistyo, Covid-19 does bring along opportunities for the ride-hailing platform itself and also for businesses that wish to adopt digital outreach to customers.

Prior to the pandemic, many consumers could enjoy offline experience, like dining in a restaurant or going to the mall. During the pandemic, these activities are likely to be done online, and that’s when platforms like Gojek, which specialises in logistics and digital payments, can come in to help facilitate businesses to go online or carry out transactions online faster.

In fact, at the time when mobility restrictions applied in many markets, including Vietnam, digital adoption is the only solution that could help many micro-entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises out there survive and thrive, and perhaps adapt to the new normal with the presence of the novel virus.

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