Uber is getting into the online grocery business, which is increasingly being bundled into the same ecosystem as third-party restaurant delivery. In acquiring majority ownership of online grocer Cornershop, Uber will now have a toehold in Chile, Mexico, Peru and Toronto markets. The investment is expected to close in early 2020 and is subject to regulatory approval.
Somewhat similar to Instacart, Target’s Shipt and other online grocery options in the United States, Cornershop (also known as Delivery Technologies) allows customers to browse the store and add items to their cart, enter certain special requests and choose delivery in as little as an hour or at a scheduled time in the near future. The company claims to pay employees fair wages, and says its drivers do not accept tips.
“In 2015 we started Cornershop with primarily the Latin American market in mind and we couldn’t be more excited to work with Uber to help us take that mission much further,” said Cornerstone Founder and CEO Oskar Hjertonsson.
After the closing of the investment, Cornershop will continue to operate under its current leadership, reporting to a board with majority Uber representation. Other reports have suggested that continuing to operate under the Cornershop brand rather than Uber will ease the challenges of winning over government regulators.
Logistics network companies like Uber and DoorDash live and die on order volume, so it’s likely that we’ll see more third-party, meal-delivery brands jumping into the grocery space to keep their drivers occupied, especially outside of peak restaurant rush periods.
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