Uber is set to begin delivering groceries and convenience store items locally as it ramps up investment into an “ecommerce moment”.
It aims to expand its Uber Eats restaurant delivery business to fulfil orders from “merchants in my city”, delivering everything from ready meals to cinema popcorn.
“I can shop almost everywhere outside of a city through my phone or my computer but it’s actually pretty hard to shop the merchants in my city,” head of Uber Eats Jason Droege said during an interview, according to the Financial Times.
“Eats, in one way, is a restaurant delivery service. In another way, we are solving customers’ dining needs. If you abstractly think about it that way, grocery stores and restaurants are serving a lot of the same needs.”
Uber has been piloting various grocery delivery initiatives over the last year, and Droege said he hopes to move this out of the testing phase “soon”.
Late last month it was revealed that Sainsbury’s was considering a tie-up with Uber Eats which would see it begin delivering grocery staples like bread and milk.
Meanwhile earlier this year in Australia Uber expanded a trial with supermarket Coles seeing it deliver cooked meals and grocery staples to customers in Sydney.
“Businesses that operate locally are realising that ecommerce is or can be an effective channel,” Droege added.
“I think that actually the conversations we’ve had with some of these potential partners have been really encouraging in terms of how to work together to bring them online.”
READ MORE: Sainsbury’s mulls Uber Eats tie-up
Uber Eats is an increasingly important part of the car sharing company’s operations, seeing revenues jump 72 per cent $595 million in the second quarter, while growth across the company as a whole slowed dramatically.
It also comes amid major shifts in the on-demand delivery industry, with sector giants Just Eat and Takeaway.com announcing a merger earlier this month, creating a combined group worth more than €10 billion.
Amazon also recently announced a major investment in Deliveroo, which is also in talks with Sainsbury’s to deliver freshly bakes pizzas and snacks to customers.