With same-day delivery becoming a more common demand among consumers, it was only a matter of time before Uber made a big splash in this area. The crowdsourced transportation network is expanding its UberRUSH same-day delivery service to Chicago and San Francisco, officially taking the service beyond New York City, where it had been undergoing testing since April.
Uber made the announcement via a company blog post, indicating that it has partnered with hundreds of local businesses and business platforms, including Shopify, Bigcommerce, Clover, ChowNow and BloomNet, to power the service.
“Why are we partnering with local businesses to improve delivery?” inquired Jason Droege, Head of UberEVERYTHING and writer of the post. “Think about all the times you hop in the car to pick up groceries, house supplies or Sunday night takeout. These little runs seem harmless but they add up. In fact, 20% of all trips in the US are just to move things from A to B — and we’re wasting thousands of hours and gallons taking them.”
UberRUSH positions itself as an alternative to traditional carriers such as UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service, as well as third-party delivery providers such as Instacart, Postmates, Deliv and Sidecar.
Uber’s couriers ride bicycles and walk on foot to deliver in New York City, but they will drive cars in Chicago and deliver via bike and car in San Francisco. These couriers will be paid approximately 75% to 80% of the delivery fee for each delivery, according to Forbes.
Delivery in New York costs $5.50 within one mile, with $2.50 tacked on per extra mile of delivery. Chicago delivery also costs $5.50 within one mile, but increases the per extra mile charge to $2.75. San Francisco deliveries have the highest charges, with $6 within one mile and $3 per extra mile.
Competitors may have taken notice, as Postmates also recently added a new on-demand delivery API that can be integrated into a retailer’s mobile application.
Droege noted that Uber differs from delivery systems such as Postmates in that the company is built more as an infrastructure than a marketplace. Uber doesn’t have a central point where all its products are available for delivery, unlike Postmates, so UberRUSH is directly integrated into each individual merchant’s checkout process. Therefore, Uber doesn’t have to keep current inventory or menus for businesses.
Customers placing an order for same-day delivery can go to the merchant’s site and select UberRUSH to get same-day delivery during the checkout process. The merchant then will receive an email alerting them that someone has placed an UberRUSH order, and will be sent to the order fulfillment page to ready the order for pickup.
Even as Uber continues to emphasize the connection between consumers and local businesses, there appear to be no imminent plans for the service to partner with major retailers on UberRUSH.