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Uber Tests Same-Day Delivery Service For Merchants

Uber is testing a new same-day delivery service powered by its network of drivers, according to a report from TechCrunch. More than 400 retailers and brands, including Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and Tiffany’s, have been either “in talks” with Uber or are already testing the delivery service.

Mobile shopping app Spring is partnering with Uber to test the program. The company sent a promotional email to app users offering delivery of select products from participating brands such as illesteva, Bing Bang Jewelry, Phyllis + Rosie, Mack Weldon, Jinsoon, Industry Standard, Outdoor Voices and Negative Underwear. Although the program undoubtedly targets consumers who want their orders as quickly as possible, it also targets higher-end brands with an online presence, as it empowers them to deliver locally available inventory to customers on the same day.

Uber introduced a bicycle courier service, UberRUSH, to multiple New York City boroughs in April 2014, which enabled users to send out and receive immediate deliveries and track delivery progress through the Uber app.

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“Experimenting and finding new, creative ways for the Uber app to provide even greater value to our riders and driver partners is a way of life at Uber,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement. “We have been piloting UberRUSH with multiple retailers for the last year.”

UberRUSH drivers and couriers currently take merchant orders through a separate app than the one they use to receive consumer orders, according to a manual obtained by TechCrunch. Eventually, Uber drivers will be able to take both human passengers and Uber Merchant orders at the same time through an intelligent routing system, all from a single driver-side app.

Uber, which is known for operating a transportation network that leverages independent drivers, has a history of dabbling with new delivery tactics. The company delivered produce through its UberFRESH program in Los Angeles, and later integrated the concept with UberEats, a service that launched recently in Chicago and New York. With the UberEats program, consumers can order curated meals for lunch and dinner though the mobile app. The meals are then delivered curbside by UberEats drivers.

An unidentified source told TechCrunch that Uber originally planned to offer delivery services focused on large e-Commerce retailers such as Amazon and eBay, but found that sourcing inventory from warehouses was inconvenient for the program from a cost and time perspective.

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