The latest update to Uber Eats’ app will make one thing obvious to consumers:Uber Eats wants to expand beyond delivering pizza, tacos, and noodles to alsodelivering flowers, pet supplies, convenience items, and unique finds fromlocal shops.
“This is Eats entering its next chapter of maturity,” said Daniel Danker, headof product for Uber Eats. “This is Uber Eats becoming the place for instantaccess to local commerce.”
In addition to featuring shops of all kinds, Uber Eats is rolling out newfeatures that provide consumers with custom home pages based on their purchasehistory and preferences and give them more information about local eateries,such as their ratings or whether they allow for pickup. Users will also beable to order from multiple restaurants or couple a food order with thepurchase of other items and receive everything within the same delivery.
The change comes as more consumers turn to delivery services like Amazon,DoorDash, and Uber to avoid contracting the coronavirus inside restaurants andstores. As a result, businesses like Uber Eats and rival DoorDash have quicklyaccelerated. Meanwhile, Uber’s core ride-hailing business is still sufferingas people stay home and are more hesitant to ride in another person’s car.
The update also follows Uber’s agreement to acquire rival Postmates for $2.65billion in August. In its announcement of the deal, Uber called Postmates “anearly pioneer of ‘delivery-as-a-service,’” which complements Uber’s efforts toexpand its delivery service to other categories. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahialso recently told CNBC’s _Squawk on the Street _how he views the expansioninto new delivery categories.
“We think there’s a huge market—anything that you want from your localbusiness or your local market, sent to your home inside of 30 minutes,” hesaid.
As part of the update, users will now be able to see the ratings of nearbyrestaurants, which locales they’ve ordered from, and top eats—all of whichwill be marked with icons—on a map. They’ll be able to see what other peopleare ordering near them and to easily reorder their favorite items. Inaddition, Uber Eats will offer users a list of “hidden gems” or curated localmerchants within their neighborhoods.
On the merchant side of the app, stores and restaurants can now quickly seewhich orders are coming from return or regular customers, enabling them toeasily implement loyalty programs or add last-minute freebies. They can alsodo things like remind regular customers that they’re one burrito away from afree burrito, for example.
Danker said the pandemic helped Uber Eats accelerate its plans by nearly fouryears. Uber Eats already has more than 10,000 grocery and convenience storeson its service, and Uber recently moved 100 engineers from other parts of thebusiness to work on the app. Eats, which generated $1.2 billion in revenueduring the second quarter, is now as large as Uber’s ride-hailing service wasback in 2017, Danker said. Danker also believes consumers are creating a newexpectation for delivery, which he thinks will continue well beyond thepandemic.
“At least initially, every single time you open the app, you’re going to bepresented with grocery options, pharma, and other types of options that willstart training people that this even exists,” he said. “But what will happenover time is people open the app because they want one of those things, notbecause they want food delivery.”
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