Scrambling to do your holiday shopping online this year?
Uber Eats has partnered with select Canadian retailers to give customers same-day, contact-less delivery options through Uber Direct.
The program is available in Canadian cities where Uber and Uber Eats are in operation, a spokesperson said.
The Body Shop is among the retailers available to order from in the GTA through the Uber Eats App, according to an email from a spokesperson. Uber did not provide a list of participating retailers but said more will be announced soon.
If the new retail delivery service works the way Uber Eats does for restaurants, it could be a “great” tool for small to midsize businesses, Michael LeBlanc, a senior retail advisor at the Retail Council of Canada, told HuffPost Canada.
WATCH: Grocers partnering with Uber ‘makes a lot of sense.’ Story continues below.
For small businesses, the most effective way to make money is for customers to shop in-person, LeBlanc said, though that’s been complicated by the pandemic. The next best option is offering curbside pickup, and then shipping through Canada Post.
A same-day delivery service like this one would be the fourth-best option, he said.
But the delivery service may not make sense for all businesses if they’re not making a profit on orders after extra costs, LeBlanc said, noting the restaurant industry has similarly struggled with delivery app commissions.
Tony Elenis, the president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA), previously told HuffPost delivery companies can charge restaurants up to 30 per cent of an order.
Ontario wants to cap delivery fees at 15 per cent in regions under lockdown.
An Uber spokesperson has not yet responded to HuffPost’s question about the delivery fee for retailers through Uber Direct.
Businesses will ultimately have to be “mindful of the economics” if they’re only breaking even on delivery orders and not making an additional profit from the service, LeBlanc said.
In the age of COVID-19 “if you’re going to survive as a Main Street retailer, or, listen, a retailer of any size, and your store is closed, anything that you can bring online to help you move your items … is a good thing.”
The delivery service launch comes after Uber Eats previously expanded into delivering from grocery and convenience stores.
Uber Direct was piloted in several countries in the spring. People in Dallas and Seattle could order prescriptions through NimbleRx through the app. In Australia, app users could order pet supplies through Greencross and in Portugal, people could order parcels through the national post office.