Uber plans to deliver everything

Discussion
Apr 30, 2015
George Anderson

Uber isn’t just about picking up people in one place and delivering them to their destination in another. No, according to reports, Uber drivers (and bicycle riders) are, or soon will be, delivering restaurant meals and purchases from merchants, as well.

Uber has launched UberEATS in Chicago and New York after testing the food delivery service in Barcelona and Los Angeles. The service promises to deliver curated dishes from popular restaurants in minutes for a flat fee of $3 or $4. The UberEATS menu changes daily.

Ordering a sandwich is very similar to requesting a ride. The service is in fact available from the same Uber app that the company’s customers are already familiar with.

According to Uber’s blog, "The response to UberEATS has been amazingly positive. In LA (where it was previously known as UberFRESH) we continue to grow our roster of restaurants, have added brunch service on the weekends, and cut down delivery times to 10 minutes or less. Hot spots like Bay Cities, Bottega Louie, and Canter’s have expanded their reach and boosted their business. And our driver partners tell us they love having another way to earn more through the Uber platform."

[Image: UberEATS]

Uber is also reported to be getting ready to launch a same-day retail delivery service known as UberRUSH. According to TechCrunch, the company is currently in talks with over 400 different merchants, including Cohen’s Fashion Optical, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and Tiffany’s, about using its drivers and couriers to deliver goods.

An unidentified source told TechCrunch that Uber initially planned to offer the delivery service for large e-commerce retailers such as Amazon and eBay, but discovered that getting goods out of warehouses wasn’t cost effective or time efficient. Picking up items from local shops, however, can work "as long as the vendor has control over the amount and type of inventory available in a single day."

Do you see Uber having a similar effect on foodservice and retail deliveries as it has on taxis and car services? Will Uber’s ease of use and familiarity get people over whatever hurdles have kept them from using same-day retail delivery services up to this point?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It’s hard enough to deliver a brand experience when you control all the steps. I predict that the more third parties are involved with the final leg the more missteps will occur, which in the end will hurt the brand, not the third parties. And how many Uber drivers will like being reduced to pizza delivery boys and girls in their nice family cars?"
"Now with UberRUSH using the Spring platform with the Uber merchant delivery program, the ability to have real-time inventory data on locally available goods from selected merchants, in specific markets, will exist. This is same-day delivery like never before. Coupled with a user-friendly app, UberRUSH will definitely fly."

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14 Comments on "Uber plans to deliver everything"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

It’s hard enough to deliver a brand experience when you control all the steps. I predict that the more third parties are involved with the final leg the more missteps will occur, which in the end will hurt the brand, not the third parties.

And how many Uber drivers will like being reduced to pizza delivery boys and girls in their nice family cars?

Mel Kleiman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

As a lover of Uber all I can say is this is going to be a game changer. Technology lets me track the driver on my cell phone and tells me almost to the minute when my car will be at my location. The only possible challenge is going to be the last 100 yards. Getting the merchandise or the meal from the car to the front door.

If they can get the customer to come to the driver instead of having the driver come to the customer this will be a game changer.

Mohamed Amer
Guest
Mohamed Amer
4 years 6 months ago

Whether by design or accident, Uber is disrupting more than the taxi business. Uber combines technology with a fleet of thousands of drivers/vehicles to create a platform that brings efficiencies to moving people and goods from point a to point b.

I see an opportunity for retailers, especially smaller local chains, to use the Uber platform to differentiate on services offered without taking on any fixed costs while limiting additional liability. The opportunity for Uber is clear as articulated in the articles and drivers gain more efficiencies with the variety of trips to reduce “deadhead” miles.

Uber is a 21st century example of how technology combines with new consumer behavior to disrupt the obvious (taxi service) and the unexpected (foodservice, retail deliveries and … ).

J. Peter Deeb
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Uber is poised to be a competitor to Amazon in terms of giving consumers another choice in having items delivered. I was skeptical about the ability of a third-party firm spread over a large area to compete with taxi companies and local limousine companies. Obviously I was wrong! Now I believe they may have an advantage in local services that can be accomplished very quickly. The real issue is whether an Uber driver makes more money delivering a person to the airport or a sandwich to an office and how that will impact the structure of Uber. I think this is a great opportunity for foodservice companies as well as local retail establishments.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
4 years 6 months ago
I don’t know. Personally, while I like the convenience of Uber, I’m a little creeped out by it. These aren’t trained or licensed people, and I’m not sure that I have a lot of confidence in Uber’s vetting capabilities, especially when they’re fighting off lawsuits that claim that the people who “work” for them should be “employees” and not contractors, given the amount of control Uber has over their appearance and hours, etc. There has already been a case in Denver where an Uber driver was apparently robbing customers’ homes after he dropped them off at the airport. That makes me nervous to think about inserting them into other customer service experiences. The idea of Uber is great, and all kinds of services deserve to be disrupted, taxis the most, but I still haven’t decided if what Uber is doing is great for all parties, or exploitative of desperate people. How do the drivers feel about a $3-4 flat rate delivery? Is that reasonable for them, given that Uber covers nothing related to car costs?… Read more »
Liz Crawford
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Brilliant! Yes, there is a growing need for delivery (of all kinds) in cities. Uber is poised to take advantage of the freelance workforce with their infrastructure. Fantastic and nothing but upside. Buy!

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Absolutely. The keys are ease of use, convenience, timely deliveries, value and price transparency. If Uber can deliver on these attributes the days of customer pick-up may be history.

Uber makes it easy!

Herb Sorensen
Guest
4 years 6 months ago
It is very important to think of this in terms of the three distinct components of a sale: 1. The meeting of the minds of buyer and seller saying “Yes to the dress!” 2. The actual delivery of the offer, whether by the typical “stock-picker” shopper, by Amazon drone or an Uber driver. 3. The payment, where checkout is on the way out (in more than one sense). Self-checkout, ultimately with the Google Watch, at the instant of the meeting of the minds, or otherwise fully automated, with perhaps a confirming assent by the buyer. You can tear retail apart into these three components and put them back together however you like. But this IS the holistic view of retailing, a business that is mostly massively linked to “the way it is, is the way it is supposed to be and the way it is going to be!” Bye bye past, welcome future. If you don’t think in these categories, the whole world of retail will increasingly be one big “golly, gee-whiz, wow” and maybe,… Read more »
Herb Sorensen
Guest
4 years 6 months ago
And considering foodservice vs. “other retail” should be seen in the context that there are two grand classes of purchases, that ALL purchases can be slotted into: 1. Surprise/Delight/NOW! and 2. Routine/Autopilot/Angst. The first class will probably ALWAYS be an advantage for bricks-and-mortar retailing, and the second is the natural provenance of online retail. Presently, bricks-and-mortar retailing is mostly a mess, given their “merchant-warehouseman” mindset. But they still have the advantage of pleasurable personal experience (if they provide any,) and IMMEDIACY, the reason that their number one sale is of SINGLE ITEM PURCHASES. (Go ahead, ignore reality, but this is the solid truth in any store in the world.) Single item purchases are massively driven by immediacy – I need it RIGHT NOW! In terms of today’s quick survey, clearly food-service will be the single most common type of immediate need. And the rest of the small basket needs are incredibly diverse – even if there are some common threads. See Mike Twitty’s chapter in my book: “Inside the Mind of the Shopper: The Science… Read more »
Lee Kent
Guest
4 years 6 months ago
Let me just say that I have a personal relationship with a Lyft driver and I can tell you how much they HATE this. I’m really speaking of the food delivery since I do not know how the retail model will work. With food, they get a $3 fee and tips. Many of the deliveries are small and generate maybe a $5 tip. The driver gets $8 (less the Uber cut) and has to pay for their own gas and mileage on the car. They could get a job in retail for that and not put wear and tear on their cars. In cities like Atlanta that are very spread out and have heavy traffic, each delivery takes at least an hour. They have to drive to the restaurant, wait for the food, inspect that the order is correct, then drive to the destination. If they were driving a passenger for a solid hour, they would be making at least $50. Not kidding. While this may be great in cities like NYC and using bicycles,… Read more »
Craig Sundstrom
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

So Uber is going to have marginally paid people using their own cars to deliver pizza, newspapers, et al., replacing the system where marginally paid people use their own cars to deliver things? No, I guess I don’t see it having the same effect. Local delivery, which was once common—indeed the norm—for a whole range of stores ranging from groceries to department stores, was (largely) abandoned for (a similarly large) range of reasons—cost, lack of demand, traffic congestion, etc. I’m not sure Uber will change these underlying issues.

Brian Numainville
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

While Uber is still trying to figure out the boundaries of its business, it absolutely is disrupting traditional models as it goes along. These additional services certainly will help fill in gaps and maximize the ability of drivers to remain constantly busy, while at the same time providing useful services to consumers. Having used Uber a few times, I had generally good experiences closer to a car service than a taxi. I would give them a try for these types of services as well.

Karen S. Herman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

If UberRUSH can offer shoppers seamless access to quick retail deliveries, when they want it, as it does with taxi service, I think it will be a success, certainly in urban and upscale suburban areas.

Time is a valuable commodity for shoppers. Circumventing the hassle of physical shopping and driving, parking and dealing with crowds, as well as online shopping, and having to wait at least a day or two for delivery of your purchase, is brilliant.

Uber is so deep into data with its closed loop feedback systems. Now with UberRUSH using the Spring platform with the Uber merchant delivery program, the ability to have real-time inventory data on locally available goods from selected merchants, in specific markets, will exist.

This is same-day delivery like never before. Coupled with a user-friendly app, UberRUSH will definitely fly.

Kai Clarke
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

No. Uber is a great idea, but hailing a taxi (which is what Uber really is) is not necessarily cost, or service effective. Who wants to pay $4 for a pizza delivery when the pizza costs $5? Or a sandwich that costs $6? How will uber compete against Amazon and others who are already ramping up in this arena for less? My $2.95 delivery from Amazon is great!

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It’s hard enough to deliver a brand experience when you control all the steps. I predict that the more third parties are involved with the final leg the more missteps will occur, which in the end will hurt the brand, not the third parties. And how many Uber drivers will like being reduced to pizza delivery boys and girls in their nice family cars?"
"Now with UberRUSH using the Spring platform with the Uber merchant delivery program, the ability to have real-time inventory data on locally available goods from selected merchants, in specific markets, will exist. This is same-day delivery like never before. Coupled with a user-friendly app, UberRUSH will definitely fly."

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