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What Is Uber Direct? How It Works, Benefits, and More

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Key Takeaways

  • Uber Direct is a courier service launched in response to COVID-19.
  • It connects businesses with drivers for product deliveries, including same-day options.
  • Offers white-label solutions, allowing businesses to brand the delivery experience.
  • Costs vary by distance, speed, and package size, with no commission fees.

What Is Uber Direct?

Many know Uber for its ridesharing and food delivery services. To expand its reach in the Business-to-Business (B2B) logistics market, the multinational transport company has introduced Uber Direct.

Uber originally created this service in response to COVID-19. At the time, ride-hailing requests have gone through an all-time low. The demand decreased by a massive 70%.

Since transporting people became restricted, the tech giant decided to transport products instead and boost business sales. The feature, launched in 2020, provides businesses with a white-label delivery solution.

It allows businesses of various sizes, including pharmacies and vet shops, to deliver their products, such as retail items, over-the-counter medication, and documents. You can deliver items as heavy as 50 lbs or as small as spare auto tools.

As a white-label delivery solution, companies can claim the delivery service as part of their own. Uber Direct offers plenty of advantages compared to other delivery fleets, including same-day and scheduled deliveries.

Interestingly, this wasn’t Uber’s first brush with B2B services. The company previously launched UberRush back in 2015, which was a courier service.

It used to deliver items like clothing from notable brands like Nordstrom. Despite the high potential for success, UberRush flopped due to issues like high opportunity and courier costs.

How Uber Direct Works

You’re a business owner looking to benefit from Uber Direct’s delivery services. Here’s how to go about it.

Choose Your Integration Type

First, you’ll need to integrate the delivery service into your platform. In this instance, you can choose between three integration types:

Platform Partners

Platform Partners allows businesses to deliver an unlimited amount of their products per month.

You can initiate this service through your business’ OMS, POS, or other sites you use for automated order processing. The best part about this option is that you won’t need a technical integration.

You’ll connect your sales channel with one of Uber Direct’s channel partners. Some of those platform partners include:

  • Burq
  • Cartwheel
  • Deliverect
  • Figure
  • Bringg

Direct API

If you’re a business sending about 1,000 or more deliveries per month, you can choose this integration option.

You’ll need to activate this Uber Direct integration using Direct API for automated order processing.

Direct API is a payment integration system that streamlines the checkout process for customers. They won’t have to fill out long forms to purchase your product through your platform.

It will require a technical integration. Subsequently, you can sign up through the Uber platform and fill in your information to complete the integration.

Direct Dashboard

Direct Dashboard is more well-suited for small businesses with 1,000 or fewer delivery operations per month.

It’ll involve integrating with the Uber Direct Dashboard to manually process customer orders. Like Direct API, you’ll need a technical integration to activate this option.

Understand the Delivery Process

After you’ve integrated Uber Direct into your platform, you can indicate the delivery fees and options available for your customers.

Once they place an order from your website, Uber’s network of drivers will receive the delivery request. They’ll first head to your business address to pick up the product using the customer’s details.

Next, the driver will confirm the collection through the app and move to the dropoff location. The customer should receive the order, and the driver will complete the trip on the app.

Thanks to the integrations provided by Uber Direct, your customers can benefit from real-time GPS tracking from you and the customer’s end.

As a business owner, you won’t be burdened as much with customers asking about where their orders are since they’ll have access to expected delivery times.

How Much Does Uber Direct Cost?

Uber Direct advertises itself as a zero-commission service, but as a business client, you still have some costs to cover.

Fees vary depending on the distance between your business and the dropoff location, the speed of delivery, and the package size. On average, it’ll cost about $1.10 per kilometer.

You also have to consider other factors like waiting time. If a driver has to wait for more than ten minutes in the pickup location, you’ll be charged $0.50 per minute.

There’s also a cancellation fee that’ll cost you the same amount as the delivery fee. You could be subject to this payment if the Uber driver sees your delivery request doesn’t follow company regulations.

Despite all these rules, some delivery orders can come up to as low as $6.99.

What Sets Uber Direct Apart From Alternatives?

Uber Direct offers an exceptional courier service to businesses with flexible integrations. Some of the benefits of using the app feature include:

Multiple Delivery Options Available

You can choose between several delivery options for your customers. For instance, they can plan their orders with scheduled deliveries up to a month in advance or resort to same-day deliveries.

If that’s not quick enough, they can choose to deliver their order in under two hours.

Fostering Customer Loyalty

You can reap the benefits of the white-label delivery front since customers will associate your fast delivery with your brand rather than Uber’s.

After offering on-time deliveries with extra tracking benefits, you’ll build customer loyalty in no time.

Cost-Effectiveness

Compared to other delivery fleet businesses like FedEx and UPS, Uber Direct provides businesses, especially starting ones, with higher cost-effectiveness. You also don’t have to worry about paying excess commission fees.

Live GPS-Tracking

Both the sender and receiver in this transaction will get live GPS tracking of the order. It’ll allow you to stay on top of your orders while reassuring the customer of their order’s proximity.

You’ll know the driver’s location from their pathway to your company headquarters to the last-mile delivery destination.

Grows Market Competitiveness

Businesses can now catch up with each other in terms of delivery services. With more companies using the flexible delivery options offered by Uber Direct, competition will soar.

This is especially beneficial for smaller businesses that have yet to own a personalized and costly delivery fleet membership.

Using Uber Direct: A Basic Guide

While using Uber Direct, you’re primarily focusing on three steps. They include:

  1. Integrate Your Channels: The first step involves picking the delivery channel options, whether you’re choosing a direct API or direct dashboard integration.
  2. Accept Delivery Requests: After signing up and setting up your platform’s delivery service, you can start accepting orders from customers.
  3. Fulfill Customer Orders: After confirming your customers’ orders, you can now deliver them via Uber driver and send them a link to track their orders and the estimated time of arrival.

Analysis: Is Uber Direct Worth It?

Uber Direct is an exceptional program for courier services.

From its white-label solution benefits to its GPS order tracking, it has most of the advantages to compete with lots of other delivery fleet services.

Its integrations are also easy to follow through and convenient. All these benefits sound most enticing to small businesses that can’t yet afford a standard delivery fleet service like FedEx or UPS.

Nonetheless, in the long run, you could be better off with the delivery fleet giants.

They offer reward systems and long-term memberships that are more reliable than Uber Direct. These businesses also offer similar benefits like real-time tracking.

They specialize in this sector, while Uber’s core service is mainly ridesharing. Additionally, let’s assume you want to deliver products with certain delivery care requirements.

Uber Direct won’t be as stringent on these delivery needs as other services.

For example, if you’re selling wax products, they likely require a refrigerated delivery fleet. In this case, you’ll enlist specialized refrigerated fleet services like Webfleet.

Aside from that, other competitors like Instacart tend to offer lower fees for delivery.

Some orders can go as low as $3.99 for those surpassing $35. Meanwhile, Postmates can charge merchants anywhere between $1.99 and $9.99.

Overall, Uber Direct is an ideal option for starting businesses that want to build their customer’s loyalty and increase their competitiveness with other key players in their market.

Conclusion: Making the Decision to Use Uber Direct

Uber Direct can provide businesses with multiple key features, such as increased customer loyalty, cost-effectiveness, market competitiveness, real-time tracking, and several integration options.

These benefits can boost small businesses looking to improve their delivery service quality while maintaining low costs. Fortunately, there’s little commitment with Uber Direct.

You can experiment with the service and leave at any time. Other competitors like Instacart could offer a more suitable delivery model for your product.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Tip On Uber Direct Orders?

Tips are not required for Uber Direct Orders, but customers can still provide Uber drivers tips. They can tip using cash. Alternatively, customers can also tip through platform provider integrations like Cloudwaitress.

What Happens If Uber Can’t Deliver?

If an Uber Direct driver can’t deliver your package, they’ll likely cancel the order. You will be subject to cancellation fees. Consequently, make sure your product fully complies with the transport platform’s regulations.

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