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07/21/2022

New Grocery Experience Introduced on Uber Eats

Move described as platform’s ‘most comprehensive update yet’
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Enhancements to the Uber Eats grocery shopping platform are "intended to put control in the hands of the consumer," according to Therese Lim, Uber's director of new verticals product.

Two years after launching grocery delivery on Uber Eats, Uber has rolled out a fresh new grocery experience on the platform, which the company describes as “our most comprehensive update yet.”

According to a company blog post by Therese Lim, director of new verticals product at San Francisco-based Uber, and Oskar Hjertonsson, founder and CEO of Cornershop by Uber, these new features include the ability to place orders from grocery stores on Uber Eats regardless of whether they’re open, with delivery in the first available window or scheduled at the customer’s convenience; improved support for shoppers in-store and live order tracking for consumers to follow the shopping experience step by step; and effortless product replacements and more intuitive shopping, including items sold by weight. Uber currently delivers grocery items in 33 countries.

To find out more about the latest enhancements to Uber Eats, Progressive Grocer connected with Lim. 

Progressive Grocer: What was behind the decision to refresh the Uber grocery experience? How much did feedback from users, merchants and drivers factor into your plans?

Therese Lim:  Uber launched grocery delivery on Eats in July 2020 in partnership with Cornershop, and since then, our combined grocery and retail operations have grown to a more than $4.5 billion global business, delivering millions of products from top grocery and retail partners around the world. 

And, as you know, a lot has changed over the last two years, including consumer, merchant and shopper demands, and what they expect from grocery delivery, both here in the U.S. and around the world. 

As a trip-obsessed company, we’ve deliberately built this new experience with input from merchant partners, consumers, and, of course, couriers who decide to add grocery shopping to their earning opportunities with Uber.  

Grocery operators are clear: They’re looking for technology that’s easy to use, that offers a solid consumer experience, and that gives them the right amount of support when they need it. A big theme is ensuring that they can easily fulfill what a customer orders, and some of the new features we’re introducing this summer — like a product catalog of over 200,000 item images to make inventory listings clear, barcode scanning during shopping to ensure that the right item is selected, and live customer support — will help in ways big and small.

When it comes to consumers, we know they want a product that is seamless, reliable and provides greater control. For many, grocery shopping is a personal experience — we all have our own preferences of exactly how ripe we like our bananas to be — and we want consumers to have that control even if they aren’t the ones directly picking out their items. Uber’s new grocery products include features like the ability to shop for items by weight and live order tracking, where consumers can track their groceries every step of the way and easily correspond with the shopper in the store to make replacements or additions. These are intended to put control in the hands of the consumer.  

Our goal is to build the product experience with a strong foundation of fundamental features and functionalities that satisfy the needs of grocers, consumers and shoppers.

PG: What did adding these features entail?

TL: When we launched our grocery experience in the U.S. back in 2020, we took big steps quickly and were stretched across two organizations: Uber and Cornershop. Since then, the two teams, now combined at Uber, have worked hard to bring together the best of Cornershop’s product and industry expertise with Uber’s best-in- class technology and logistics. The result has been continued improvement on the product experience — all with a goal of making shopping for groceries as easy as ordering from a restaurant on Uber Eats, wherever you are in the world.

This new refresh … represents the most important changes our partners and consumers want to see on our app. 

We’ve learned so much from the team at Cornershop, which was already a leader in Latin American grocery and retail delivery when we joined forces in 2020. They had built a very strong product experience, and so we’ve worked to take the best of Cornershop and combine it with the magical Uber experience we all know and love. Our teams are energized, knowing that this is only the beginning of the exciting products we’ll build that will help us become the world’s leading on-demand grocery and retail platform.

PG: Where specifically will the new experience be available when it first rolls out, and how long will it take for the offering to be available nationwide?

TL: Uber’s new grocery experience … will begin rolling out globally this summer. In the spirit of partnership with the major grocers we work with, we’re taking a phased approach in key cities which will transition their stores from Cornershop to the new grocery experience on Uber, as well as introduce consumers to the new Uber Eats shopping experience. 

All of these efforts will culminate in national availability of the new product experience in September. 

PG: What future improvements to the Uber grocery experience are in the pipeline, or what do you envision for the future of e-grocery overall?

TL: While I can’t share specific details on upcoming products, I can say that our teams have been heads down, listening to consumers, merchants and shoppers, and are designing with their feedback in mind. Later this year and next, you’ll continue to see products that create an effortless experience for consumers to go anywhere and get anything. 

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