Bengaluru: India’s largest taxi hailing service Ola, promoted by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has launched Ola Select, an initiative aimed at retaining its customers and keep them from using the services of rival Uber Technologies Inc.

Under Ola Select, the company will offer “handpicked" benefits to its most loyal customers. To begin with, select users will get sedan cabs on the Ola platform at the cost of a mini, its lowest-cost offering. The company has promised more offers next week.

“Our way of saying thank you for your continued support. With Ola Select, you and a select few will enjoy handpicked benefits chosen just for you," the company said in an email sent to the “select few" customers.

“We look forward to welcoming you abroad our sedans. Till next week of course when we return with more benefits, exclusively for you," it added.

Ola Select seems to be based on Amazon Prime, a highly successful subscription-based loyalty programme by the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com Inc. Amazon launched Prime in 2005, an annual paid membership which offers customers a plethora of services including free shipping in two days, discounted one-day shipping rates, free music streaming and photo storage on Amazon’s cloud service.

Closer home, Amazon’s rival Flipkart charges 500 for an annual subscription of the Flipkart First services, which entails offers like free shipping for any order value, discounted same-day delivery and free in-a-day delivery, among others.

Unlike Amazon and Flipkart, Ola is not charging customers, but it is possibly a move towards ensuring a set of loyal customers. With rival Uber announcing that the company will infuse $1 billion into its India operations, the cash burn towards driver incentives and customer acquisition is only set to spiral upwards.

Ola has been tying up with multiple partners to promote its services. For instance, the company recently partnered with mobile phone maker OnePlus to make OnePlus 2 phones available for an on-demand experience through the Ola app. Last month, the company also partnered with online fashion store Myntra to offer free makeovers to Ola customers.

Not to be left far behind, Uber has tied up with restaurant discovery platform Zomato to offer rides to consumers who find a restaurant through Zomato. The company rolled out an initiative called UberPITCH in Bengaluru, Pune and Delhi, where entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas during a 15-minute cab ride to an executive from a select few venture capital firms.

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