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Competitive strategies of mobile applications in online taxi services: The cases of Snapp and Tap30 in Iran

Taher Roshandel Arbatani (Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)
Esmaeil Norouzi (Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)
Afshin Omidi (Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)
José María Valero-Pastor (Department of Human and Social Sciences, Faculty of Human and Legal Sciences, Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche, Elche, Spain)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 11 October 2019

Issue publication date: 8 January 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze competitive strategies implemented by two Iranian taxi service mobile apps – Snapp and Tap30 – in different domains by using the modified version of the generic strategies proposed by Porter and focusing on the online taxi market.

Design/methodology/approach

Due to the in-depth nature of competitive strategies in ridesharing platforms, the study employs comparative case research to understand the dynamics of such businesses in terms of developing mobile applications. By comparatively investigating competitive strategies of two Iranian mobile apps in ridesharing business, it is possible to extract rich knowledge about the commonalities between cases and the specificities of each of them to reach success in this market.

Findings

Although Snapp has made significant efforts to provide various services to passengers, the findings show that it has not been able to do it intelligently, as it has failed to identify customers’ new needs. In addition, Snapp is trying to keep its position in the Iranian market by monopolizing it. On the contrary, Tap30 has paid attention to the intelligence of services in order to explore and exploit new opportunities, so that it can be distinguished from its rival and gain competitive advantage. The proper and timely use of artificial intelligence by these apps will be a major issue that will greatly determine their future success on the market, according to the conclusion of this work.

Research limitations/implications

Like other qualitative researches, this study also has limitations in generalizing findings to other communities. For this purpose, it is recommended that the results of this study be generalized more cautiously. Moreover, access to some data in the digital market of Iran was one of the significant issues that researchers faced with. However, using a large number of different databases, attempts were made to reduce such limitations.

Practical implications

Applying the competitive strategies introduced in the present research, platform managers would be benefited from using the insights provided here. In particular, they should understand the fact that competitive advantages are deeply tied to a combination of product/service differentiation, costs leadership and marketing strategies rather than focusing on just one dimension.

Originality/value

Focusing on the strategy literature, the paper contributes to business debates on ridesharing platforms, especially in an emerging market, Iran. This study also moves digital entrepreneurship literature forward in online taxi services by shedding light on their competitive strategies in an emerging economy.

Keywords

Citation

Arbatani, T.R., Norouzi, E., Omidi, A. and Valero-Pastor, J.M. (2021), "Competitive strategies of mobile applications in online taxi services: The cases of Snapp and Tap30 in Iran", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 113-130. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-01-2019-0029

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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