The tech-based transportation company Uber recently branched out from its car-for-hire services in order to launch a trial run of grocery delivery options. Select residents of Washington, D.C. can now order over 100 items with the Uber smartphone app and get them delivered at no added cost.
Customers who receive deliveries are encouraged to give feedback through the app. Although the promotion is set to last only a few weeks, Uber has implicated that with positive feedback it will explore options for making delivery a permanent part of the company's offerings.
The BBC, however, has recently reported concerns amongst retail analysts about Uber's pricing. Experts wonder how realistic the strategy might be for long-term deployment, as goods are competitively priced with those in-store and there is no service fee or minimum purchase amount. This encourages questions as to whether or not the directors of Uber have a realistic view on market possibilities, and also whether they understand the full complexities a delivery service entails.
Zac Maurais is the co-founder of Favor, his own local delivery app, and told BostInno that he isn't worried about the delivery market growing more competitive as a result of Uber's recent forays into the field. Maurais says, "We're hyper focused on food delivery and providing an amazing customer experience. This is a huge space, and [Favor is] growing fast despite new competition."
People enjoy ordering products from the comfort of their own homes, so it is unlikely that any one single company will corner the market for delivery any time soon. Third party delivery is also a complicated business with many logistical factors to be taken into account including safety, speed, customer service and accurate tracking of orders. For this reason, Uber may find itself initially out of its depth in the delivery pool, though only time will tell whether it will outlast its trial run and add some interesting competition to more experienced companies.