Uber tests local delivery with Corner Store

Only available in Washington, D.C., and for a limited time, the service enables users to order household items and have a driver bring the products directly to their doorstep.

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Uber

Uber, the car-hailing app, is experimenting with a new local-delivery service it calls Corner Store.

Starting on Tuesday, some Uber users in Washington, D.C., will be able to order certain household items and have them delivered to their door on the same day by accessing Corner Store from the service's mobile app.

There are several limitations to the service: it will "run for a few weeks," it's only available "to a select number" of users in Washington, D.C., in two delivery zones, and runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To place an order, users toggle over to Corner Store through the Uber mobile app and enter their location. If a driver is available, the user will get a text with a link to a list of items available to buy -- generally, items one finds at a supermarket, such as diapers, toothpaste, and medicine. In total, over 100 items can be picked up. (The company has a full list of what is available through the service and a price for each.) The driver then calls the user to take the order. All Corner Store orders are charged directly to the user's account.

While the feature is only a test, it's an important move for Uber. The company has been offering a driver service for years, allowing customers to choose everything from a private car to a taxi to pick them up. Uber has hinted that it would try to expand its model through its Uber Garage test program, but has never fully outlined Corner Store until now.

Corner Store seems like a logical expansion of its business: Uber already has drivers on the road who are looking to get paid for their services. More importantly for Uber, a delivery service could help expand its user base.

The service might also put Uber in direct competition with companies like Amazon that are starting to increase their same-day delivery service. There are stark differences, however, between Amazon's same-day delivery and Uber -- namely the way items are being delivered.

Some Uber D.C. users will see Corner Store available in their app right now. Uber has also launched a sign-up page where users can ask to be included in the experiment. Those users are required to be within the specified delivery zones.

CNET has contacted Uber for additional comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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