Taxi aggregator Ola has seen its app getting crowded. The buttons at the bottom used to have just three cars - one each for various kind of taxis it offered - but now also includes autos, TaxiForSure cars, and Ola Café, a food delivery service. The company has now added another delivery-based feature, but this time as a standalone app called called Ola Store. Through this new app, Ola will deliver items from grocery shops, such as fruits and vegetables, snacks and beverages, and even over-the-counter medication.
The on-demand grocery delivery app promises to make speedy deliveries of products between 8AM and 11PM daily. Available only in Bengaluru at present, Ola Store claims to deliver over 12,000 products across 13 categories, and has tie ups with big stores such as Family Mall, Grocery Mart, and Namdhari's Fresh. You can either choose to get the delivery instantly, or schedule a delivery for between 8AM and 11PM. Delivery is free above Rs. 250, and there are all the expected payment options including cash on delivery.
Overall, it looks like a pretty easy to use app - it takes your location from the GPS, but you can also set your location manually. Change your location to a Bengaluru address and you can see how it works. The interface is pretty straightforward, but doesn't look to offer anything significantly different from others who are already in this space, such as Grofers or Peppertap. In this case, success will boil down to execution, though it is too early to say how good a job Ola is doing on that front.
One thing we noticed about the app that seemed a little strange were the permissions required. For example, why does the app need to read our contacts, messages, and make phone calls? The app doesn't visibly make use of any of these features so it's not clear why it wants this access, or access to photos, media, and files. It is very likely that there are reasonable explanations for each of these - for example to automatically read OTP from messages - but companies need to start making these things clearer to users.