In response to PG’s observation that the “ultimate use case” for the feature would be roommates wishing to keep their grocery purchases separate, Lim pointed out that it could also be used by traditional families, friends staying together or on vacation, or even workers in small offices. Up to 15 people can be included in a group.
Asked to provide any information on other solutions that Uber is working on in the grocery space, she replied: “We’re always working on a lot of things. [W]e listen a lot to customer feedback. First is making sure on the consumer side that they can easily find what they’re looking for, get inspired for things that they may not even know they wanted, but that Uber does carry. The other big thing that is really important to us is that they can easily order and actually receive the items that they’re purchasing. Another example is we’re constantly improving our replacement experience. When something is out of stock – which hopefully doesn’t happen too often – but if it does, customers are now able to specify if they want a specific replacement that the [Uber] shopper will honor. And, by the same token, if a shopper is asked to make a judgment around what replacement, they’re easily able to send that to the customer, get the feedback from the customer as to whether they approve it or not, and then check that out. So everything is geared towards, we want to make sure you get your items. We’re investing a ton of reliability in making sure that customers have all of that at their doorstep.”
To that end, Lim demonstrated on an iPad an Uber feature enabling users to make special requests – that is, “off-menu” items like cut fruit that aren’t normally featured among a store’s available products – pointing out as she did so that app also now enables users to take advantage of their stores’ loyalty programs.
Clearly, grocery is a big deal for Uber, at least as important as its restaurant delivery business, since, as Lim noted, not everyone wants to eat takeout all the time. She also affirmed that the grocery channel represents “a huge investment for us.” As for the next big product drop: Watch this space.