Uber Integrates Social Commerce Into Marketplace as Shoppers Seek Peer Recommendations

Uber app

As consumers increasingly look for guidance from trusted friends and content creators to inform their shopping, Uber is integrating a social element into its Eats platform.

On Wednesday (May 17) the mobility and delivery company announced a range of new features at its GO-GET 2024 event, including its Uber Eats Lists feature, which enables users to share curated recommendation lists with people within their social network and beyond.

“At Uber Eats, we’re obsessed with food. And we know that food has the power to teach us new things, expose us to new cultures, and bring us together,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote. “That’s why we’re introducing Lists, a new feature that lets you find food inspiration with personally curated and shareable lists for any occasion. With Lists, you can discover recommendations from friends and foodies alike, plus share your own go-to spots and favorite Eats.”

He highlighted examples such as “date night desserts” and “toddler-approved dinners” as use cases for which consumers might engage with this feature.

Indeed, social recommendations are key to how consumers — especially younger generations — discover restaurants, according to data from the PYMNTS Intelligence study last year, “Connected Dining: Word of Mouth in the Digital Age.” The report, which drew from a survey of more than 2,200 U.S. consumers, reveals that 35% search for restaurant information by looking at posts from the people they follow about their restaurant experiences. Plus, that share jumps up to 41% for Gen Z and 42% for millennials and bridge millennials.

Additionally, the study found that 20% of consumers access this information by following content creators who review restaurants and 18% by following influencers who review restaurants, with those shares rising to 35% and 29%, respectively, for Gen Z and 30% and 25% for millennials.

Overall, social platforms are becoming a significant part of commerce, per the 2023 PYMNTS Intelligence report “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Monetizing Social Media.” The study, which drew from a study of nearly 3,000 U.S. consumers, found that 43% of consumers browse social media to find goods and services. That said, only 14% ultimately purchase those goods and services via social media.

As such, the launch of Lists not only aligns with the preferences of younger generations but also positions Uber Eats to capitalize on the broader trend of social media influencing consumer behavior.

In Wednesday’s announcement, the company also shared a range of other features, such as Uber Shuttle, a service that allows passengers to reserve seats on local shuttles heading to common destinations, such as concerts or airports, at a lower cost than UberX. The company also announced Scheduled UberX Share, enabling users to book shared rides up to 30 days in advance for a lower cost, as well as an Uber Caregiver option, which will enable users to manage rides and deliveries for the people they are taking care of.

Khosrowshahi also shared that the company is offering half-priced Uber One memberships for students, much the way DoorDash has its half-priced DashPass student subscriptions. Plus, its delivery marketplace is partnering with Costco, a retailer that has an existing on-demand delivery deal with Instacart.