Following Swiggy’s footsteps, Uber has expanded its app to perform multiple non-core business operations, pushing the boundaries of what it was designed for. While the ride hailing service launched Uber Medic for safely transporting medical personnel during lockdown, it has now come up with Uber Connect.
The service lets users order city wide deliveries of products, in 9 Indian cities. The feature, that draws a clear parallel with Dunzo, Swiggy’s “Genie” among others, recently started deliveries in 5 new cities, including the Indian capital of New Delhi. Other new entrants include Noida, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Chandigarh. This, along with the 4 cities of Kolkata, Jaipur, Guwahati and Gurgaon where the feature was already available, brings Uber Connect’s coverage to a total of 9 Indian cities.
The company states that users can track the deliveries in real time through the Uber app. There is also the “Share my Trip” option, which, just like normal Uber rides, can be used to share delivery status to the recipient.
Recently, the company announced that it was laying off 3,000 additional employees, just weeks after it had kicked 3,700 employees to the curb. Combined, this resulted in a 25% reduction in Uber’s workforce, which is a sign of the company’s desperate attempt to make sense of the dire situation at hand.
Losses for the company have widened to $3 billion, in Q1 2020, even though the company witnessed a record jump in bookings. Moreover, the firings will not be cheap either as according to an SEC filing, Uber will end up paying $145M in severance packages and another $80Mn to shut offices globally.
The company had also taken on the role of completing “essential deliveries” as India entered full lockdown mode in late March. Forging a partnership with Flipkart and many other retailers, the company not only seized the economic opportunity presented to it, but also stepped up to make sure that essential goods are provided to those in need. This new move can be described as the next stage of the plan, as Uber competes to generate new sources of revenue.