Stepping up its game in the highly competitive same-day delivery space, Uber has announced a significant expansion of its UberRUSH service through providing its application programming interface (API) to its app to several retail and delivery partners, including Nordstrom, 1-800-Flowers, T-Mobile, Rent the Runway and Google Express.
The API is open initially to a closed list of partners. UberRUSH is offered in city centers in Chicago, San Francisco and Manhattan, the same locations in place when it launched in October.
This move positions Uber as a larger competitor against other services like Amazon’s Prime Now, Postmates, Shyp and Deliv, while giving it hooks into major retailers.
“We’re excited about how (UberRUSH) supports local businesses, but we also know that a lot of companies – and their customers – are looking for an easy way to get items delivered more quickly,” Uber said in a blog post explaining the move. “Many companies rely on automated operations, have complex logistics networks or are in need of a more flexible solution that can fit their business and customers’ needs.”
Not to be outdone, rival crowdsourced delivery service Deliv announced its own API connection for retailers, including clients Macy’s, Best Buy, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Williams-Sonoma and Walgreens. It also said it has been providing delivery services for ecommerce companies and platforms including Google Express, Farfetch, Casper, Handy, Plated, The Bouqs, BlueApron, Drync, Urban Stems and BloomThat. Deliv said its differentiation is through providing specific delivery windows to shoppers, vs. just one-hour delivery.
In addition to Google Express, mall and retail location pickup service Curbside has added the UberRUSH option via the API. Company co-founder and CEO Jaron Waldman said it was a logical extension of Curbside’s bread-and-butter offering, giving retailers more options for getting stuff into customers’ hands quickly. For instance, someone could order an item for pickup from Curbside, change their mind for whatever reason and have it delivered via Uber.
“This was driven by interest from our retail partners, one in particular who was very focused on Uber,” said Waldman, who counts Target, Best Buy and CVS as clients. “With the growing interest in same-day delivery for retail, integrating the UberRUSH API into our core offering is a seamless way to hook into a fantastic same-day offering for consumers. If you save 10 minutes for customers by extending our store pickup option in this way, it’s pretty powerful.”
Waldman said he is confident UberRUSH will quickly expand beyond its three core markets, and move as well into Curbside’s core geography of suburbs and exurbs. He also sees Uber having the ability to drive down the price of delivery to the point where it has a much broader appeal. Curbside has integrated with Postmates since it launched its API in early 2015.
“One of the knocks on same-day delivery is how expensive it is,” he said. “If you’re selling a $1,500 handbag, I’m sure you can take $25 out of the margin very easily. But the vast majority of online transactions, the margins don’t allow for a $25 fee while still making money. When you see the price of UberRUSH falling to $10 to $15, then it starts get interesting. That’s some of our reasoning.”