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Uber provides shopping option to delivery drivers

Uber drivers can now shop their delivery orders.

Uber is giving a new earning opportunity to drivers on its Uber Eats online delivery platform.

The company, which initially expanded from its core rideshare business into third-party online delivery with the launch of Uber Eats in 2015, is introducing “Shop and Pay.” This new earning opportunity on the Uber driver app in the U.S. that lets delivery personnel opt-into receiving trips to go into retailers—primarily grocery stores—and to shop and check out for orders before delivering them to customers as usual. 

Nearly 200,000 U.S. delivery personnel have been performing shopping trips as part of a pilot, and based on feedback, Uber is making some updates to the program. These include redesigning the driver app experience to make handling out-of-stock items easier.

Now, when drivers indicate they can’t find a requested item in-store, their app will show them a list of suggested substitutions that are based on similar brands and items. They can then send that suggestion to their customer directly in the app for review and approval.

Also, across the U.S., when drivers opt-into shopping trips they activate a digital card on their phones, using Apple or Google Pay, that enables them to pay for customer orders with pre-authorized digital funds. 

In addition, updates to the digital card scheduled for March 2023 will enable drivers to see the number of unique items in the order, rather than just the total number of items (i.e., will there be one gallon of milk, or five). And soon the offer card will also give shoppers information about their order, such as whether it contains a large, heavy or fragile item.

Other leading online delivery platforms, including Instacart and DoorDash, also allow drivers to shop for the items they deliver.

“We’re thrilled that couriers who use Uber Eats are increasingly finding grocery shopping to be a reliable and positive addition to their earning opportunities,” said Therese Lim, senior director of product management, Grocery + New Verticals, Uber. With 100,000 grocery and new vertical storefronts across the world, our ambitions are big, and we’re committed to helping consumers find more of what they’re looking for on the app. Building a strong experience for shoppers—guided by their feedback—will be critical to our success, and we’ll keep it a top priority.”

[Read more: Is Uber going all in on being an e-commerce platform?]

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