The first time I saw a Yulu bike is when an old couple was riding around in CP, Delhi around 2019. This single-seater silent blue bike with a mechanical bell instantly caught my attention. The next thing I know I am riding one. It is fun to ride a Yulu. Since then, Yulu has survived two Covid waves. The market has witnessed massive changes in customer behavior and requirements. New businesses have emerged. And with that Yulu has also evolved. The subscription model of Yulu bikes is so simple and cost-effective that it has become the first choice for delivery agents.
Last week in Mumbai, I looked for a Yulu bike with the same enthusiasm. This time though, Yulu disappointed me. I found multiple bugs and loopholes in the app and decided to brainstorm on how to improve the app.
Broader goal and business model of the organization
Quoting from their website,
Yulu’s mission is to make urban mobility in India seamless, shareable, and sustainable. The organization is driven by three guiding principles of urban mobility – Accessibility, Availability, and Affordability.
The business goal of the product
The bike runs on swappable batteries and can achieve 15-20km/hr. They have GPS and Bluetooth to check battery status and other information. Users don’t need a driver’s license or wear helmets to ride a Yulu bike. Yulu bikes are generally parked in designated parking areas named Yulu zones. Customers are supposed to pick up (start their journey) and drop (complete their journey) bikes in the Yulu zones only. Each Yulu zone has a support team who maintains the bikes and charges the batteries.
The app helps customers find the nearest Yulu zones, unlock and start their journey, pause if needed and finish their journey. The app acts as a lock for the bike and the link between the customer and the Yulu network.
Yulu has two plans for the users.
This plan is for casual users, where a user hires a bike for a single ride and pays per kilometer. Their pick-up and drop location is Yulu designated areas only. The process is fairly simple.
- Users pay a security deposit of 250/- to begin.
- The Yulu app shares the nearest location of the Yulu zone. Users reach there and scan a bike to unlock and start the journey.
- If users need to stop during the journey, they can select the pause mode in the app and select a time period. Once they pause the ride, they can park the bike anywhere and the bike will be locked. An additional waiting period is charged extra.
- Customers can scan and resume their journey.
- The journey will complete once you reach any Yulu zone and hit the finish button in the app.
This plan is suitable for regular riders. Users have to subscribe for at least a week and it will cost around 1500/-. I don’t have much information regarding this plan because it is only available when a bike is available for rent.
Like any business, Yulu’s goal is to maximize its profit by increasing the number of rides. It is clear that the rental plan is more profitable for the organization. With the rise of the hyperlocal delivery ecosystem, delivery partners from every online shopper have started using Yulu bikes. The plans are economical as compared to owning a motorcycle.
There are two main customer groups I can consider.
- Rental plan users:
- They already know the product, using the Yulu bikes and the app on a daily basis.
- They are mostly delivery partners.
- Casual users
- They know about the brand and the product. They may have used it once in a while, but have yet to find the implication in their day-to-day life.
- They mostly use it for joy rides.
Identifying the target audience
For this case study, I am going to focus on casual users. Why?
- This segment has enormous potential. There can be unlimited use cases of Yulu bikes. Students can use it on university campuses, for tuition. People can use it for quick household errands. The implications are unimaginable, but they are subjective to individuals.
- I personally tried Yulu recently and found some drawbacks in the app.
- When there is no nearby Yulu zone, a user needs to drag the map to find the closest Yulu zone. For example, there is no Yulu zone in Versova. So when I wanted to experience the Yulu ride, I had to drag the map to Bandra, near my office to find one. As a user experience enthusiast, I expected a button along with ‘Request a Yulu zone’ on the home screen.
- Yulu bikes are in high demand in Mumbai. And the availability status is constantly changing. But a user needs to be physically present in the Yulu zone to acquire a bike. So accessibility is a big issue.
- The bike status is not accurate. I was adamant about experiencing Yulu bikes. So I kept on checking the app for availability. When I saw one, I rushed to the Bandra Yulu zone, only to find that all bikes are allotted to the rental plan. I spoke with the Yulu support and showed him the two available bikes on the app. But he told me that all bikes are for rent. I scanned all the bikes to reconfirm.
- The app shows bikes on rent parked in random locations as available, it is more like a bug + pain point.
- If a bike is showing on the map as available for a quick ride, it should not tell me that the bike is on the rental plan after I go and scan it. This is totally against the first two principles – Accessibility and Availability.
- I went to BKC around midnight because there are 2-3 Yulu zones, which increases the chance of getting a bike for a quick ride. But the support told me that the service is not available between 12 am to 4 am. The app was still showing some available bikes and did not have any message regarding such timing.
- To begin with, the app should have a button to show users the closest Yulu zones where bikes are available.
- Fix the accuracy of the app. The app should not show an available bike if there is none. When a user physically visits a Yulu zone to find this gap, it kills the experience and creates a bad impression.
- A user should be able to secure an available bike through the app, even if it is for 15-20 minutes, it should work.
- Users should be able to subscribe to a waiting list in a particular Yulu zone. Whenever a bike is available, the user should get a notification about it.
- Colour code the bikes on the rental plan to visually differentiate them from the quick rides.
- I, as a user, open the Yulu app to find a Yulu bike for rent. I am a casual user, looking for a quick ride.
- The app tells me that there are no Yulu zones nearby and gives me two buttons. One is to find the closest Yulu zones and the second is to request a Yulu zone.
- I click the first button. The map shows me three Yulu zones, about 2 kilometers from my current locations. But there are no Yulu bikes available for rent now. A box comes at the bottom of the screen with the following message “No bikes are available right now. Please tap on the Yulu zones you prefer to add yourself to the waiting list. We’ll notify you as soon as we have a bike available.”
- Two out of three Yulu zones are easily accessible to me. I click them and a popup appears to confirm my subscription to the waiting list.
- After a couple of minutes, I got the notification that a bike is available in one of my selected Yulu zones. I taped the notification, the app opened a page.
- The page has the following message “Reserve this bike for 20 minutes. INR 20 will be deducted from your wallet. Once you start your journey within 20 minutes, the amount will be adjusted in the wallet.”
- I hit the confirm button and start for the Yulu zone.
- Once I reach the Yulu zone, I scan my bike and start my journey.
- Number of clicks on “Find the nearest Yulu Zone”
- Number of subscriptions in individual Yulu zones.
- How many people are willing to pay to secure a Yulu bike for 20 minutes? How many are dropping from the “Reserve the bike” page?
Enjoyed the blog? These are some additional blogs I wrote on different products that I use.