Uber is making moves into the highly competitive world of online grocery deliveries withthe acquisition of a startup called Cornershop. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will bolster the company’s efforts to expand into businesses outside its core ride-hailing service.
Cornershop, founded in 2015, is currently active in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Canada, and is headquartered in Santiago. In a statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said it would seek to “scale their vision, and look forward to working with them to bring grocery delivery to millions of consumers on the Uber platform.” That will mean eventually launching the service in the US, though the deal is still subject to regulatory approval.
But Uber is entering a crowded field, with huge companies likeAmazon,Instacart, andPostmatesjockeying for market share with major grocers likeKrogerandWalmart. And its not an obvious money maker either. Right now, only 3 percent of grocery sales in the US take place online. Customers say they feel hesitant to shop for groceries online for fear of being overcharged or experiencing late deliveries, according to a recent survey.
This won’t be Uber’s first stab at expanding its on-demand delivery service: the company first launched Uber Rush in 2014, but it never expanded beyond New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. Uber Rush wasshut downin 2018.
Now, Uber wants to be an“operating system” for cities, and grocery delivery seems like a more obvious play. In arecent interview withThe Verge, Khosrowshahi says the company will consider any type of business that fits in with that ethos.
“I think we’re going to look at a lot of categories going forward and some of them we will fulfill through our own internal services,” he said. “But I do think that you should think about Uber as a marketplace.”