Uber pull plug on same day delivery service in D.C. just weeks after rebranding
By Dan Boaz | Feb 6, 2015
We recently wrote about Uber and their new same day delivery service with a driver provided being tested out in Hong Kong. Simultaneously the company have rebranded, tested and for the time being at least shuttered a local same day/on-demand delivery service here in the U.S. all within the space of a month and a half. What's very apparent is that Uber are aiming to find space in the growing same day delivery arena and certainly can't be ignored.
There are also rumours circulating that Google might be considering a purchase which isn't out of the realms of possibility considering they have already invested $258 million into Uber back in August of 2013. It's a suitable time to remember that Google are also pushing hard to expand their own same day delivery network as efficiently as possible.
As for the latest delivery experiment, Uber had rebranded what was previously known as Corner Store as UberEssentials recently although clearly noting that the on-demand delivery service was a trial only. They quietly ceased the operation during the last week. In business it's rare that one would launch a new product or service and scrap the idea after less than sixty days which infers that the original plan had some flaws that need to be addressed.
If you refer back to the Uber blog post that helped to launch the arrival you may have been left wondering whether many people really need an on-demand delivery service to bring them a bag of Doritos or a box of Tylenol at an inflated price. To be fair it was a small-scale launch that initially targeted only Washington, D.C.which is probably why it didn't receive significant attention but it might have provided some very good market research.
Ultimately I don't feel that this is where the same day delivery market is heading or even should be heading in the next year or two. The numerous benefits of expedited freight and urgent shipments arriving within hours are vast and proven. I believe that refining those services and understanding what will be ideal products at a logical pricing point for consumer deliveries should be the goal of that segment of the industry just as for B2B same day delivery the primary aim ought to be reliability, trust and proven results.
Uber have made many great decisions in keeping with their rapid expansion to date, but creating the equivalent of a 7-Eleven on wheels (other convenience stores are available) isn't the best idea thus far, nor do I think it will be one for the future. Uber took it on the chin and announced:
"What we found with UberEssentials is people loved the convenience of using the Uber platform to get their everyday household products on-demand. The experiment allowed us to identify what our users valued about the service, as well as areas where we can make the experience event better. We look forward to continuing to innovate and providing users with new and valuable ways to leverage the Uber app."
What do you think of this news and is there really a market for everyday items to be delivered as envisaged by Uber?
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