To pick and to pack?

Supermarket sweep

Jun 24, 2024


Will we soon be wandering the aisles of supermarkets looking for quinoa?

If Uber goes through with it’s new grocery plans then maybe.

Last week the food delivery platform announced that they would be introducing Courier Pick & Pack: the Uber app will guide them [us] to find the right items, suggest replacements if an item is out-of-stock, communicate with you, and check out using a pre-authorised payment method.

This approach is already widely used in the US by Instacart and has been tried by Beelivery in the UK.

How has this gone down with drivers?

Not well:

The source was a poll on the Rodeo Feed with 141 respondents:

Why is it so unpopular?

The biggest concern cited was that this would be used as yet another opportunity to cut driver pay.

Average fees on Uber, as on other platforms, have been falling steadily since 2020 with many orders paying well below the minimum wage before expenses for time on order. Beelivery pays significantly higher fees than Uber and Instacart drivers in the US receive much higher tips.

Another concern is around the quality of experience for customers. Uber’s terms allow drivers to rent out their accounts (’substitution’) with no mandatory checks and to complete multiple orders on different apps at the same time (’multi-apping’). Given the lack of control there seems to be a risk that asking drivers to pick and pack orders could lead to a variable customer experience.

The battle for grocery is just beginning

Uber’s move appears to be another step in the increasing competitive battle between platforms to lock in supermarkets (many of whom have plans to launch or grow their own apps). However it is unclear whether grocers, many of whom already have concerns around the reliability and vetting of drivers, will be happy to take this risk of giving up even more control.

What do you think?

Head over to the Rodeo Feed to let us know.