Uber has brought its crowdsourcing-based business model to the delivery industry.
The company and delivery service Shopify announced a partnership called UberRUSH on Wednesday, promising businesses the opportunity to deliver goods to customers using on-demand couriers. According to a blog post from Shopify, the program is beginning with a few selected merchants in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
In the coming weeks, Shopify wants to expand the option to any merchant with an online store in those cities. The two companies are also working on bringing the service to more locations.
According to the announcement, couriers should be available to pick up deliveries “within minutes.” Then all parties to the order — including the customer — can watch the courier’s progress in real time on a map.
Uber already delivers food to customers in eight U.S. cities, according to Reuters.
There also are a number of consumer-facing delivery apps on the market, including the multipurpose TaskRabbit app, through which customers can pay people to do shopping for them. Another service, Instacart, allows users to place grocery orders, then have somebody buy the groceries and deliver them.
Meanwhile, Deliv works in much the same sphere as UberRUSH, offering drivers to deliver packages from stores like Kohl’s and Macy’s, according to the Reuters article.
The move is part of a continued push for diversification at Uber. The company has also actively begun working on a self-driving car program with a goal of putting a fleet of autonomous vehicles on the road by 2030.