Uber, the transportation app that changed how people move by connecting riders to drivers, recently announced a new pilot program – Uber Corner Store. According to their blog, the program is a limited experiment that will run for only a few weeks in the Washington D.C. area and will allow Uber users to get delivery of staples like toothpaste, diapers and over 100 other items right to their door.
This program, if successful, would take Uber from a simple transportation company into a full-fledged logistics company – which many analysts think plays into CEO Travis Kalanick’s long-term vision. How will it’s success be measured? As stated in the blog, “The more you love it, the more likely it will last.” And as Kalanick told CNN Money last December, “We’re in the business of delivering cars in five minutes. And once you can deliver cars in five minutes, there’s a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes.” So it seems that Uber might have a laser like focus on a new market segment they want to be a part of and the drive, determination and following to make it happen.
But, can Uber truly compete in the same-day delivery market that is now dominated by players like Amazon, Ebay and Google? Well, if one company is going to make a go at it, it’s Uber. Their proven ability to forge into a market and wrestle with regulations and competitors, never backing down and coming out on top, has many thinking that they can. And while this isn’t a completely new concept for them – they previously released a courier delivery service called Uber Rush in Manhattan – if they do decide to travel down this road, it’s going to be a bumpy one. While the big dogs, Amazon and Google, already have solid processes and infrastructure in place to dominate this market, there are also a number of other smaller services that will be forces to reckon with. How they structure, price and deliver the service, along with how well they can excite their following, will be key in their long-term success.
The one thing I find completely inspiring about this announcement is that it is a great reminder to every small business that no market is impenetrable. If we choose, we can all play with the big dogs – and if we come with a great product and service, we might just walk away with the bone.