Uber’s best bet is to use its ubiquity and product breadth to beat rivals in ride hailing, scooters, and food delivery. It’s the only US company doing all three, but competition threatens to nibble away at its margins on each. But if it can become your one-stop-shop for getting yourself or a meal from point A to point B, it might be able to salvage its share price and survive until self-driving cars change its economics.
So today at Uber’s own launch event it unveiled a slew of changes across all its products. The big highlight? Two new visions for the future of Uber’s home screen.
One test adds a prominent Uber Eats button to the bottom of the screen, and it’s already reaching some users in US, Canada, Europe, and Australian cities. An even more aggressive version replaces the hallmark map with two big buttons in the screen’s center: one for ride hailing, one for Uber Eats. Clearly it’s imperative to Uber to can get more of its nearly 100 million users Eating. This version is now testing in 9 markets.
“We want to be the operating system for your every day life” says CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “A one-click gateway to everything that Uber can offer you.”
Additional launches announced today include:
-The expansion of its rider loyalty Rewards program to its first international markets starting with Brazil and Mexico
-The option to get favorite dishes from local Uber Eats restaurants as Rewards
-Flexibility in how your Rewards are applied so instead of always getting $5 in Uber cash, you could get 25% off your next UberX or 10% off your next Uber Eats
-Uber has new partnerships that let you convert loyalty perks from other businesses like Aeromexico miles into Uber cash to spend on rides
-Uber is launching a new Jump bike with a removeable battery that users can swap out at charging wall docks located around cities
-Uber will start showing bikes and scooters, including those from Lime, on the main Uber map to remind users they don’t always have to drive
-Uber Copter will be available for all New York City users offering 8 minute rides to JFK airport
-Uber is formally launching Eats Pass, which lets users subscribe to unlimited free Uber Eats deliveries
-Uber’s revamped Uber Pass for $24.99 for surge price protection on every ride, free Eats deliveries, and free Jump scooter and bike rides
-Allergy-friendly filters in Uber Eats search and easy ways to communicate allergies and dietary restrictions to restaurants
-To reduce waste, Uber Eats will now default to not including utensils and straws unless you request them
-A partnership with Feeding America will allow restaurants that use Uber Eats to easily donate excess food, and see Uber Freight moving food donations between the non-profit’s 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries
-Uber has worked with restaurants to launch 5100 virtual kitchens that just sell food for delivery, and is exclusively working with celebrity chef Rachel Ray on her own one
-Uber will now allow you to text 911 from your rider with a prefilled message that includes your car make, year, and color, your current location and destination, and room for you to add info about your emergency
-Uber Bike Lane Alerts which notifies you when you’re being dropped off in a bike to make sure you don’t hurt anyone opening your door is expanding to 200 more cities around the world
-Uber pin check lets riders opt for drivers to have to provide a special pin code that users input to verify they’re getting in the right car.
-Uber is prototyping an ultrasound-based system that uses an inaudible tone emitted from rider and driver phones to ensure they’re supposed to be together
-Uber’s driver check feature now makes drivers verify their identity by moving their head in certain ways like they’re training FaceID to ensure no one else users their driver account, instead of just using a selfie
-Uber is adding better heat maps for finding high-demand
-Uber’s new “Back To A Busy Area” feature lets drivers who’ve dropped someone off somewhere deserted to set a destination back in a populated areas and ride requests will be filtered to get them back there
-Drivers can now work delivering Uber Eats orders even while they’re traveling away from their home region
-Uber Pay now lets customers deposit cash at certain brick-and-mortar stores and have it placed in their Uber account so they can pay even if they don’t have a credit card. Partners including some convenience stores and those working with Green Dot like Walmart
–Uber Transit, with public transportation trip planning, nearby stop finding, and in some cases mobile ticketing, by the ned of 2019 with Paris, Mexico City, and San Francisco launching today.
–Uber’s new Incubator will work with employees and outside startups to develop new experiences on top of the Uber platform, from scooters that drive themselves to chargers to augmented reality maps of the world