Companies

Urban Company adds new services in line with shift in consumer needs

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 27, 2020 Published on May 27, 2020

Abhiraj Bhal, co-founder, Urban Company

Witnesses pent-up demand during lockdown 4.0

Home-services aggregator Urban Company (formerly UrbanClap) has been quick to respond to fast-evolving consumer needs by launching new services in the midst of the nation-wide lockdown.

It has also been focussing on offering medical and monetary support programmes to its service partners besides implementing hygiene and safety protocols for customer safety. With further relaxations in norms in lockdown 4.0, it has now begun witnessing pent-up demand.

Abhiraj Singh Bhal, co-founder, Urban Company, told BusinessLine: “Right at the start of the lockdown, we realised that disinfection services for home and commercial spaces will be an emerging need. We launched it in the second phase of the lockdown. Initially, we witnessed demand from government offices and essential product stores. Now, as offices and stores are opening up, we are witnessing a lot of traction for this service.”

Online yoga and fitness classes were also added to the platform during the lockdown period. New services such as elderly care services and online language classes for students will also be going live soon on the platform, he added.

Talking about early demand trends, Bhal said: “Last week alone, we saw a surge in customer demand. Home repairs and maintenance service, beauty and grooming services, and disinfection services for commercial spaces, are in big demand. I believe this trend will continue for quite some time.”

The company has also been on-boarding new service partners across categories. “Remote on-boarding is almost an alien concept for us since we rely heavily on classroom training programs for our partners. However, the team has been able to pull through and bring about 1,000 new partners on-board during the lockdown, with proper training,” he added.

However, Bhal admitted its going to be a long road to recovery. Urban Company reported a nearly 100 per cent jump in operating revenues in the FY20 to ₹216 crore. Beauty and wellness vertical contributed about 55 per cent of its revenues in FY20, a segment that has witnessed huge disruptions during the lockdown.

“In the short term, there will be some disruptions in the beauty segment. But in the medium- and long-term, we will see a shift in consumer behaviour as they will prefer to get beauty services in the controlled environment of their homes,” he said.

As focus on safety and health becomes a key priority for businesses, some of the measures taken for partner welfare by the company include interest-free loans with delayed moratorium period, Covid-19 insurance schemes with income protection and paid sick leave programme. “Investments to the tune of ₹20-25 crore in FY21 are being made on equipping our service partners with protective gear and safety kits that include masks, gloves, hand sanitisers, sanitiser sprays, eye protection glasses,” Bhal added.

Published on May 27, 2020
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