In Indonesia, Theres an App for That

The growing popularity of app-based, on-demand oil change services in Indonesia gives lubricant marketers a new channel of distribution into second- and third-tier cities where consumers may not have easy access to physical workshops.

The country has seen several new local tech startups, such as Go-Jek and MontirGW.com, providing on-demand oil change services through smartphone apps - which lubricant suppliers are using to develop brand loyalty and serve regions outside of their typical sales network.

Go-Jek, an app-based motorcycle taxi-hailing service, set up Go-Auto in the last quarter of 2016 to provide motorcycle and automotive aftermarket services such as tune-ups, oil changes and emergency towing. The company uses Shell, Castrol and Pertamina lubricants for its oil change services, which take about 30 minutes and cost 75,000 rupiah (U.S. $6). Its tune-up service, which includes an oil change, costs Rp 200,000. Motorcycle tune-up packages include an oil change and battery replacement, take 2 hours and cost Rp 75,000.

Go-Auto claims its mechanics arrive within 2 hours after a user requests service on the Go-Jek app. Mechanics travel to the users parking lot or driveway to service the vehicle on-site, and the South Jakarta-headquartered company calls this a boon to customers, who otherwise would have to travel in Indonesias traffic congested-cities and wait in what are often long lines at service stations.

The service is currently offered in Jakarta, but will roll out in more cities throughout the country.

Another on-demand automotive services provider, MontirGW.com, has tie-ups with independent workshops. Users make appointments online with a particular mechanic or workshop. I found it on the internet, said a customer in a testimonial published on the firm's website. Search, click and call, the service is fast and [Im] satisfied.

Growth in digital lubricant services and information applications has been significant in Indonesia. As we developed the Gaspol app in 2014, based on our research back at that time, there were no other similar companies that had apps, said Alpha Febrianto, project manager for web development company Mobileforce. Gaspol was developed for lubricant supplier PT Federal Karyatama and is catered to motorcyclists.

The Gaspol app isnt for on-demand services or lube purchasing, but offers oil change interval reminders, recommendations on the best lubricants for the users bike and location-based identification of nearby service stations. It also reminds vehicle owners when tax payments and loan installments are due. Federal Karyatama values the e-commerce chancel, however, and its Federal Oil lubricants can be purchased at online shops including Bukalapak and Tokopedia.

Photo: Bengkel Hikari / MonitrGw.com

Surprisingly, Febrianto added, most of the apps users are located outside Jakarta, in the neighboring cities of Bekasi and Tangerang, or in provinces of Central Java or East Java.

To make it easy for Indonesian consumers, he said, We use large [click] buttons in the Gaspol app for the rider to easily tap on the features on the mobile phone screen. Generally, bikers in Indonesia use gloves and have difficulty reaching out to tap the screen in a very short time, he added.

U.S.-based digital marketing agency eMarketer forecasts that by 2019, smartphone users in the country will increase 42 percent from last years number, to 92 million.