Can Uber double as a delivery service?

Can Uber double as a delivery service?
Can Uber double as a delivery service?

Not to rock the boat, but we think Uber may just be better than sliced bread. We’re not suggesting that the saying should change but Uber is proving to be, well, uber! Now implemented across more than 300 cities in 55 countries, the wherever-you-are-we-are taxi service puts the driver and the customer at the heart and ensures that both are treated fairly. That’s just the kind of ethos we love.

Picture this, it’s your niece’s seventh birthday party and your car has broken down at the last minute. With Uber, all you need to do is open the app and type in where you need to go. The driver nearest to your current location will come pick you up and have you at little Lucinda’s party in no time and at a very reasonable cost.

But can Uber double as a delivery service? We reckon that, with a good warehouse management system, and an integration from your eCommerce platform to Uber’s software, Uber’s drivers could collect your parcel from the warehouse and deliver it to your door within the hour.

Shutl’s delivery service

Let’s say you’ve committed a great sin and forgotten to get Lucinda a present. You've found a karaoke player online that would be perfect, but the best delivery available is for the next day. You don’t want to upset little Lucinda but what kind of service can offer super-fast same-day delivery?

Enter Shutl, the delivery service that revolutionised logistics. Need your order today? Need it within the next hour? Shutl have got you covered. By selecting their service at the checkout, Shutl search for the nearest carrier to collect and deliver your parcel straight away. According to their website, the fastest delivery to date is 13 minutes and 57 seconds. We reckon that’s more than just a little bit impressive.

[Related: MetaPack Delivery Conference 2015: Innovating through delivery]

Shutl Logo
Shutl Logo

Uber as a delivery service

Shutl and Uber both work using very similar models. They each strive to provide the ultimate service with the best convenience based on your current location. As such, it’s no surprise they have both seen great success, with Shutl being made an eBay Inc company in 2013.

So what if these services were to merge? What if you could order Lucinda’s karaoke machine online, have the nearest Uber driver collect it from the distribution centre and bring it to where you need to be picked up? Onward to Lucinda’s party you would go, gift in hand and bang on time, ready to put a smile on your little niece’s cake-covered face. We do enjoy a happy ending!

Uber logo
Uber logo

The end of fixed-price delivery?

With Uber’s fare estimation service, riders pay per minute/per mile with a small base fare on top. When ordering an item online, having to pay more for faster delivery isn’t the worst problem considering what you’re getting, but wouldn't it be great if there were an uber delivery service that used flexible pricing based on the distance the driver has to travel? At Uber’s rates, that sounds like a good deal.

What about the logistics?

As we've said, to fulfil this kind of service, retailers would need to integrate their eCommerce platforms with Uber, giving customers the option to select Uber at the checkout much like they could with Shutl. With the right warehouse management system, it would even be possible to calculate exactly how long it takes to pick and pack an order from the time it is received so that Uber drivers can plan their trip accordingly.

[Related: Top 5 eCommerce order picking mistakes]

Let’s take the karaoke machine. At best, it might take fifteen minutes for the warehouse operators to pick the correct item and package it up. This information would be sent to the Uber driver so they will know when to head towards the warehouse to collect the order. The driver can then pass that information along to the rider, providing them with an accurate estimate of exactly how long it will take before they get to Lucinda’s party with her gift.

Are we on to something or just plain mad? Drop us a tweet and let us know!