The line between gig economy apps like Uber and carriers like UPS or FedEx is blurring. As food delivery and rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft continue to expand their delivery offerings with options like same-day local delivery and express grocery delivery, their capabilities increasingly overlap with those of a nationwide delivery provider like the Postal Service.
Next up for food delivery apps: returns. DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) is testing a new feature that would allow users to return packages to the nearest post office, UPS or FedEx location, all through the platform’s network of couriers and merchant partners, a DoorDash spokesperson confirmed to Modern Shipper.
The new feature, Return a Package, is part of a small beta test and is not yet widely available. Currently, it’s being offered in a few markets that the company declined to name.
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“DoorDash is always thinking about new ways to provide the communities we serve with access to unparalleled convenience and opportunity through our platform,” a spokesperson for the company told Modern Shipper. “We continually explore and test new innovations to provide more value to our customers, Dashers and merchant partners.”
To return a package through DoorDash, users will need to select the Return a Package offering on the DoorDash app or website, seal it, attach a prepaid shipping label and simply wait for a DoorDash delivery person to pick it up from their doorstep. The courier then delivers the package to the nearest post office or UPS or FedEx location.
According to an in-app screenshot of the new service, courier tracking may be different for the returns option, as the company typically tracks its couriers in the other direction. The screenshot also contained a note from DoorDash explaining that the package will be picked up either by a DoorDash courier or a store delivery driver, depending on the preference of the merchant.
DoorDash told TechCrunch that Dashers, the company’s term for its couriers, will be paid for handling parcel returns the same way they are compensated for any other marketplace order.
With the move into reverse logistics fulfillment, DoorDash will compete with a host of other companies like Narvar, ReverseLogix and Happy Returns that offer a similar service, connecting customers with couriers that pick up returned packages directly from their doorsteps.
One of DoorDash’s closest competitors, Uber (NYSE: UBER), has also experimented with a package returns service. In 2015, it rolled out Returns powered by UberRush, a unit of the company that was shut down in 2018. The company’s reverse logistics service ended along with it.
Now, DoorDash looks to be the next food delivery app to take up that mantle. It remains unclear whether Return a Package will ever emerge from beta –– and whether it will be successful if it does –– but one thing is clear. The platform sees itself moving beyond food delivery.