It works by allowing the user navigate to the Corner Store section of the app and enter their address. If a driver is nearby, they will call the user and take an order before dropping it off free of charge. The items will then be charged to the user’s account.
At this point there are one hundred items listed on the app. Everything from tampons and gift bags to toothpaste and diapers. In a blog post on the new offering, Uber says, “Starting August 19th, Corner Store will be available Monday – Friday, 9am – 9pm EDT, to a select number of Uber DC riders within a limited area. We’re working to build supply, and will be sure to update you as we extend hours of operation to cover late night and weekend requests.”
It’s not a new idea, but companies like WunWun and Postmates are rumored to have found it to be largely unsustainable as a stand-alone business venture. However, they have not taken into account the lead generating nature of the offering. Ultimately Uber’s primary purpose will be to build a bigger database of potential customers.
Uber has said that Corner Store will only run for a short trial at this stage, but with comments like, “The more you love it, the more likely it will last.” CEO Travis Kalanick has clearly got his heart set on on keeping it going.
Uber has now been around for five years, and they remain a company to watch. Having already upset the balance of the transport system, they may well be on their way to becoming a fully fledged logistics company. This could be a massive disruption to technology giants who are betting heavily on similar services. Both Amazon Prime and Google Express currently run quick delivery e-commerce services which currently dominate the market, but with cars already on the road, Uber may have found a better way to deliver on-demand shopping services.