By Vikrama Dhiman
It was November 29, 2018. Gojek was all set to beta launch in Singapore— a lucrative, unforgiving market where we were witnessing a crucial part of our international expansion come to fruition. We anticipated the journey to be onwards and upwards from there, but we also knew it wouldn’t be an easy one.
This is the story of the days following Singapore’s beta launch and reaching the incredible milestone of 10 million trips. 🖖
This is Part-3 of the Singapore expansion story. ICYMI, here’s Part 1 — the alpha launch and Part 2 — recounting the final 45 days before the beta launch.
The successful beta launch was a significant milestone for us. The weeks after beta launch saw which came with unexpectedly positive response and fresh feedback. A great response brings fresh all-round challenges. One has to not only focus on what’s next, but also account for feedback on what’s already out.
We decided to focus on three areas:
🚖 Marketplace & Supply: We monitored the demand and supply. More drivers were swiftly onboarded and the increased the number of customers that were being approved to access the app (from the beta launch waitlist). Our supply management teams did a fabulous job of reaching out to drivers and onboarding them quickly.
📣 Marketing: We also prepared for the big island-wide launch to all Singapore customers on Jan 9, 2019. Our marketing team readied outreach on all online and offline channels.
📱 Product: We proactively monitored crashes, bugs and alerts, and fixed issues while also scaling our systems. We listened to every channel (email, app reviews, social media and customer tickets) for feedback and suggestions to prioritise and deliver product features and improvements for our customers and drivers. We continued to work on enhancements related to booking, pickup, routing, and payments to enable a fast, reliable and affordable experience for our customers.
Each of the teams in supply management, demand shaping, marketplace, product engineering, operations and marketing met every week. This was a great way to ensure cross-functional collaboration worked well. The teams would take a stock of what worked, what did not and have a revised priority list based on what we knew then. This ensured that all the teams have a 360-degree view of all aspects of our business, and have a coordinated action plan.
“Collaborate with compassion” — This isn’t just a manifesto on a mantlepiece. It’s one of our core values that has helped us get where we are today.
Our focus on quality and speed is one of the most unique attributes of Gojek’s product development process. This enables us to release a version of customer app every ~two weeks. We followed this while we launched in Singapore too, and released two versions of our customer app, at two week intervals: December 13, 2018 and December 27, 2019.
The beta launch made the app available only in CBD, Airport and East Coast areas of Singapore, and you were waitlisted to get access. We opened the doors island-wide on on January 2, 2019 and access to everyone on January 9, 2019.
Launching island wide to all customers signalled our long-term commitment to Singapore and helped us show our ability to iterate rapidly. We took just a little over a month to go from a restricted to a full launch, while traversing the added complexities of another country’s operations… in the same app! 😅
The next six months
After the launch, we continuously built new features to enhance everything about the new entrant in Singapore that was Gojek.
Edit destination while on a trip
Better and smoother live tracking the trip on the map
Call masking to keep phone numbers private
Sharing live trip status with friends and family
Canned messages in chat
Paylah as a payment option for the trip
‘I have arrived’ notifications from the drivers
Clearing outstanding balance from the previous trip
We also continued working on fixing issues and strengthening our systems for rider and driver safety. In addition, our teams also conducted regular town halls with Gojek driver partners to get feedback and co-develop our future roadmap. (Collaborate with compassion! 😇)
We see Singapore as a test bed for innovation. Several mobility product enhancements and features were designed uniquely for Singapore and then rolled out to other markets.
For instance, the ‘I have arrived’ notifications, credit card payments, cashless payment options like Paylah, outstanding balance to handle credit card failures, call masking, live tracking… were rolled out in Singapore first.
The conscious decisions and the strategic roll-outs paved the way for our next milestone in May 2019:
10 million trips within 6 months of our beta launch! 🎉
Yes, we celebrated. No, we didn’t stop improving the app.
The more recent additions
The second half of 2019 was spent on improving the customer experience even more. This has ensured that 2020 has been packed with launches.
Chaining, to get better ETAs for pickup by including drivers currently on the trip
A brand new app experience in early 2020
Cancellation fee to compensate drivers fairly for the time spent
Multiple destinations to enable customer to add stops before or during the trip
And in July 2020, destination POIs to accurately communicate the drop off location to the driver
For us, being a part of one of the most fulfilling launches was an experience we’d trade for nothing. While no words would do justice to all the learnings and the adventures we have been a part of, here’s a timeline of everything that went into launching Gojek in Singapore:
Over the next few months, we will be focusing on customer and driver partner experience, as well as opening more avenues to get their feedback.
From forming the team to the recent feature launch, we’ve continued to deliver a product that positively impacts everyone in our ecosystem. And we’re not done yet — it’s a marathon and not a sprint. 🖖