Uber has made its name on the back of affordable rides to and from whichever destination you desired, and in cars much cooler than your typical eye-stinging taxi yellow. So what’s next for the company? The next evolution is pretty darn cool: Uber Cornerstore allows you to order goods and have them delivered right to your doorstep from the reputable drivers already certified by the company. Right now the service is only available in Washington DC and only to those who sign up for the limited beta, so if you want to try it out, you should act quickly!
The app will allow you to see an inventory of everything you’re able to buy, and quickly add them to your shopping cart. And get this: there’s no delivery fee. You’re only charged for the actual items you buy. You won’t even need to fork over any cash as your balance is automatically applied to your Uber account. The “Cornerstore” is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 9pm.
Uber Cornerstore has the potential to blossom into a rather big deal. The advent of same-day delivery from companies like Amazon and Google has been exciting, but the rollouts for those particular services have been slow-going. Much of this stems from the fact that they need to build out a distribution network efficient enough to live up to that same-day promise. That’s a tough thing to do even if you have billion of dollars. It’s especially difficult for Amazon since their products have to come from local distribution centers.
Uber has a distinct advantage in at least one of those areas: their distribution network is practically built out already if they’re using the very same drivers who are readily available to take you where you want to go. Uber also has a neat advantage of being able to deliver your order no matter where you are (within their specified delivery area, of course) so you won’t have to make sure you’re at home to receive your items.
It’s unclear how Uber will look to maintain inventory at this point in time. Our first guess is that they’ll be working with local retail partners to grab the items they need whenever orders come in.
We find it hard to believe they could maintain their own warehouse for storing inventory, let alone enough inventory to service an unknown of customers. One possibility is that drivers keep inventory in the trunks of their cards, We’ve reached out to Uber to see if we can learn more and will update this article with anything we hear back.
They still have a long way to go — for starters, Uber’s selection of goods is quite slim at the moment (you can suggest inventory additions here) and you would probably have trouble ordering exactly what you need even if you happened to live in a supported area — but there’s a ton of potential here. Here’s to hoping they’re as successful as hot startups like Instacart, and that they’ll eventually be able to provide service to everyone in their current rider network in the very near future.