Uber’s flirtation with delivering fashion to shoppers’ doors is getting more serious.
The disruptive car service company, which by some measures is valued at more than $50 billion, has been quietly feeling out its potential as a delivery service. After months of testing, the tech darling now appears to be moving closer to setting up a more formal service.
“They’re starting with higher-end stores,” said one source.
While testing the delivery service, Uber has run into at least one hang-up in big cities: Parking spaces are difficult to find, so someone from the store is needed to bring the package to the Uber car. There also needs to be a doorman or someone else on the receiving end who could bring the package into the building. One source said the Uber driver would text the store or the doorman to pick and deliver the package.
Recode.com reported that Uber plans to unveil a partnership in late September or early October with dozens of retailers and fashion brands in New York. The service could also be introduced to San Francisco at the same time or shortly after.
The service might be welcomed by retailers, who are working hard to build their online businesses but are finding that high shipping costs take a big chunk out of their profit margins.
Already Uber has turned the car-service business on its head by helping connect drivers that it vets to riders through its app. (The company has also stirred controversy over whether or not its drivers are independent contractors or employees.)
Delivery could be an important next step for the burgeoning business.
“I believe that over the next several years, Uber will become more of a logistics company than just a people-moving company,” explained Haim Dabah, an investor in Uber, founder and managing partner of HDS Capital and a fashion industry veteran.
“If you look at Uber today, they are in the big cities and busy at the normal commuting times, in the morning and afternoons when people go to work and go back home,” he said. “But Uber is not busy in the middle of the day, so the middle-of-day time period provides more than ample opportunities to deliver packages from luxury stores to consumers.”