DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates to deliver convenience store goods

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Uber sells Indian Eats business to Zomato.
Image: YouTube | Uber

DoorDash announced it would be delivering goods from 1,800 convenience stores in the United States, including 7-Eleven, Wawa, and Circle K on Wednesday. The firm began testing snacks, household items, and over-the-counter medicine delivery earlier this year. However, with the coronavirus pandemic prompting consumers to order their groceries, the company expedited its plans.

Notably, DoorDash isn’t the only on-demand home delivery service to change its operations in light of COVID-19.

Why DoorDash is Delivering Convenience Store Products

According to Bloomberg, DoorDash is America’s biggest food delivery service, but its leaders believe there is room for growth. As such, the firm sought to expand its offerings to include toilet paper, frozen burritos, and Nyquil. The strategic expansion makes sense as the company has an extensive transportation network, and mini markets sold $242.2 million worth of in-store goods in 2018.

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Indeed, corner shop delivery service goPuff received a $750 million cash injection from SoftBank last year because investors know making convenience stores more convenient is a multibillion-dollar concept.

The COVID-19 outbreak caused consumers to embrace the idea of food delivery like never before. In March, Instacart experienced a 218 percent surge in mobile application downloads while the Walmart Grocery app saw a 160 percent spike in new subscribers. Instacart and Walmart have committed to hiring 300,000 and 150,000 workers, respectively, to meet demand.

Similarly, Amazon announced plans to take on 100,000 new logistics staffers to meet coronavirus pandemic-created demand. In addition, Amazon has increased its grocery delivery capacity to adjust to the “new normal.”

How COVID-19 is Changing On-Demand Home Delivery

On March 31, Walgreens announced it inked a new partnership with Postmates to bring its goods to consumers. The agreement allows the public to order over-the-counter medication, snacks, and household essentials from the pharmacy’s 7,000 retail locations.

Uber also entered the on-demand grocery delivery segment via its Eats unit.

The company is offering transport of food, toiletries, and cleaning products from French supermarket chain Carrefour in Paris. The firm claims it can bring goods to local consumers in as little as 30 minutes. Uber Eats has also made an agreement with Galp service stations in Spain to deliver basic foods and other products in 15 cities.

Uber also made arrangements to provide home delivery for convenience stores, pet shops, and pharmacies in Brazil. The firm’s South American services expansion is limited to Sao Paulo, but it will eventually encompass more Brazilian states and municipalities.

Uber signaled its interest in breaking into the market when it bought Latin American online food delivery startup Cornershop last year. The sudden rise of activity in the sector inspired the firm’s leadership to move up their timetables. The San Francisco-based corporation has also taken a major hit to its core ride-hailing business because of the pandemic.

As of this writing, Uber Eats has not announced any partnerships with U.S.-based convenience stores, markets, or pet shops. However, with its sizeable American user base and driver network, the company could make a compelling pitch to local retailers. Also, with the White House extending its social distancing guidelines through April, consumer interest in grocery home delivery is unlikely to decline soon.

Consequently, firms like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates are not meal delivery services anymore; they are general on-demand logistics brands. Market competition would have fostered the change naturally, but crisis is the mother of rapid innovation.

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