Uber Is About To Get Into The Delivery Business
Uber’s already got a taxi and a courier business, so it makes perfect sense that it’d want to muscle in on UPS’ turf. They are currently testing a same-day delivery program for high-end retailers, according to a report from TechCrunch. As many as 400 brands including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s, Hugo Boss, and Neiman Marcus are in talks with the company, with some of these merchants already testing out the new delivery service.
Delivering items for stores would be the latest attempt by Uber to find new uses for its logistical network. Last year, the company launched UberRush — a Manhattan-only courier service that has since expanded to new locations — and it’s also tried its hand at delivering essentials like toiletries. After successful trials in Barcelona and Los Angeles, the company also expanded its food delivery service UberEats to New York City and Chicago. A leaked driver’s manual for the new merchant delivery program shows that at some point the company wants to integrate these services together. It looks as if the eventual goal is that all Uber drivers will be able to take both human passengers and commercial cargo, with all of the information routed through the same mobile app.
As Uber CEO Travis Kalanick confidently asserted back in 2013: “Once you’re delivering cars in five minutes, there’s a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes.” However, TechCrunch’s report suggests the delivery game is not quite as straightforward as that. When it came to merchant delivery, Uber reportedly considered serving large retailers like Amazon and eBay to begin with. However, it found that sourcing inventory from warehouses was too much of a headache, and so switched to picking up items from smaller stores instead.