Merchant Innovation

Uber Partners With Nordstrom, Google, SAP On Package Delivery

Uber is expanding its delivery service UberRUSH with a string of new partnerships with retail heavyweights, such as Nordstrom, and tech companies, including SAP and Google.

The move comes as the ride-hailing app company looks into expanding its delivery service from just providing for small businesses to partnering with big box retailers by making its UberRUSH API available to select companies.

"Many companies rely on automated operations, have complex logistics networks or are in need of a more flexible solution that can fit their business and customers’ needs. That’s why, beginning today, we’re introducing the UberRUSH API," the company noted in a statement.

While the delivery service is nothing new to Uber, its strategic partnerships now open up a whole new market, which has been a forte for third-party delivery companies, like FedEx and UPS.

On the other side, Nordstrom, which until now has provided a limited same-day delivery service in four U.S. cities for a $15 fee, will now be able to extend its same-day delivery service by piggybacking on Uber's presence and driver network.

Of all of Uber's new partnerships, its tie-up with Google is perhaps the most interesting. Google has been pushing hard since its launch in 2013 to build up its delivery service, Google Express, which the tech giant has, so far, offered for a $95 membership in partnership with delivery companies, like Dynamex, 1-800Courier and Deliv. However, late last year, the company partially rolled back its service with the shuttering of two of its delivery hubs in the San Francisco area as part of its effort to revamp the service and better compete with companies like AmazonFresh.

Now, with Uber's vast network of drivers within its reach, the company has a way to expand its service from seven metro areas to a wide number of cities over time. However, Google emphasized that it will only utilize UberRUSH's API to manage deliveries but would continue to handle other aspects of the delivery service, including assortment, pricing, merchant integration and mobile shopping apps, according to GeekWire.

For Google, the partnership with Uber also means an enhanced capability to challenge Amazon's grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh — something which Google has been attempting since last September by extending its delivery service to include groceries.

The Uber-Google Express partnership forecasts even more competition for Amazon, which has been developing its own delivery network called Amazon Flex that hires local drivers to power its Prime delivery service.

With the extension of its API, Uber has now also tapped into providing delivery for over 25,000 restaurants by partnering with food ordering services, such as EatStreet and Olo, the company said. This differs from Uber's delivery service, UberEATS, which currently partners directly with restaurants in 10 cities across the U.S., including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

While partnerships with companies like Nordstrom and Google will give Uber's brand a lot more visibility in the delivery space, in a lot of cases, it will also be providing services completely behind the scenes. For instance, Uber's enterprise-level partnership with SAP will essentially plug its service into providing better logistics solutions to SAP's distribution network.

Another such partnership that Uber signed is with Bergen Logistics and Trade Global — both of which have big retail clients, including Rebecca Minkoff, Cole Haan and the like. This essentially stitches Uber's service to the backbone of logistics support, thereby making its services completely invisible to consumers.

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