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Uber Eats launches ‘most comprehensive update yet’ to grocery delivery

New features include live order tracking and after-hours ordering

Uber Eats' latest update allows customers to order from grocery stores even after they close (Photo: Uber)

Two years after introducing grocery delivery to Uber Eats, the platform just put out its “most comprehensive update yet.”

Uber Eats on Thursday revealed several new features it plans to add to its grocery delivery service in the coming weeks, including an option for customers to schedule deliveries from stores that are closed. Other new features include live order tracking and an improved system for offering product replacements, Uber said in a blog post.

“Starting next week in select cities, and rolling out throughout the summer, US consumers will begin to see brand new features that will make grocery shopping with Uber Eats more convenient, intuitive, and reliable than ever before,” the company wrote.

Perhaps the biggest update to the app’s grocery delivery experience is the ability for customers to order after hours. If a store is closed, customers would still be able to shop and have their order delivered the following day during a delivery window of their choice.

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Uber also updated its order tracking system to go beyond the delivery route. Now, customers will be able to follow along in real time as each item is scanned and bagged at the store. The platform was also modified to make it easier for customers to find replacement items for out-of-stock products, and they can even order items sold by weight.

In a Thursday press conference, Therese Lim, Uber’s senior director of new verticals and grocery product, said that Uber workers themselves will begin picking grocery orders. That’s a move away from the company’s previous model, which let workers from Cornershop do the picking. Uber acquired Cornershop in full in June 2021.

For a long time, Uber Eats and the company’s delivery segment were something of a leaking bucket for Uber. But Uber Eats appears to have resolved that issue with new verticals like grocery that are driving users to the platform. In its most recent earnings report in May, Uber said the delivery segment turned in a record quarter for gross bookings.

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“New verticals (like grocery, convenience and alcohol) represent not only an opportunity to increase wallet share with our existing customers but also to increase engagement and loyalty with our platform,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in prepared remarks. “New verticals users are more loyal and have 1.4x the monthly order frequency of those who only order from restaurants.”

Later in the month, Uber doubled down on grocery. It launched driverless grocery delivery with robots in Santa Monica through a partnership with Motional, and it began piloting on-demand deliveries with Grocery Outlet. Those moves built on Uber’s existing partnership with Albertsons, which recently expanded to provide on-demand delivery from over 1,200 stores.

“We feel pretty good about being able to just unlock this new use case with our existing consumer and earner base,” said Oskar Hjertonsson, global head of Uber’s grocery and new verticals business, during the press conference. “We definitely consider this a very large business opportunity.”

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One Comment

  1. Mark Kingsford

    I honestly don’t know why I would use Uber Eats for grocery delivery. I’m an Uber One member, so I get special deal offers and free delivery, such as the one I got today for $20 off a minimum $50 order. So I put together a list of groceries I’d otherwise order via another delivery service (not gonna advertise for them in an article about UberEats). What I soon discovered was that the prices on items were marked up, often at double the regular price. One Example, a Stauffer’s TV dinner that would have cost me $3.89 was priced at $7.46. A dozen eggs, regularly $2.29, priced at $4.38. Frans Hot Dog buns, regularly $2.49, priced at $5.48. and the list goes on. When finished, the same order for 18 items for which I would have paid approx $51 via the other delivery service, would have cost me over $80 including the $20 discount and after adding taxes, Uber Eats “service fees & taxes” , plus a tip for the driver on top of that. I believe in tipping well, so for an order like that, at least $15 to $20. So a 50 dollar grocery order now costs more than $100. Not worth it to me. You need to do better, UberEats.

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Jack Daleo

Jack is a staff writer for FreightWaves and Modern Shipper covering topics like last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment. He studied at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism with a certificate in integrated marketing communications. Previously, Jack has written for Backpacker Magazine and enjoys travel, the outdoors, and all things basketball.