Uber’s crowd-sourced approach to personal transportation has been an overwhelming success. Rather than rest on its laurels, the six-year-old company is hard at work on its second act: on-demand delivery.
The personal transportation service has been experimenting with same-day delivery and food-delivery programs that handle items like food, retail goods and packages for customers in big cities such as Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles.
With a fleet of more than 200,000 active drivers, Uber has nearly twice as many people on the road as UPS and would seemingly be in a good position to expand outside of the booming market it created.
As The Wall Street Journal notes, the company launched a food-delivery service called UberEats last fall in select markets. It’s not uncommon for drivers to have to throw away food at the end of the day due to so few customers placing orders.
Its same-day package delivery service launched a year ago with plans to sign on dozens of retailers. Since that time, Uber has only inked partnerships with six clients. E-commerce specialist Gilt is among the half-dozen partners but said Uber fell short of its expectations, partially because the company was unable to insure high-priced items.
People familiar with the matter also claim Uber lost out on potentially lucrative partnerships with both Apple and Starbucks.
Uber contends that it is still early days for its delivery services and that they will continue to experiment and test new products that benefit both customers and the cities in which they operate.
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