In the past few years we have seen how Uber’s clever app based courier software business model has rocked the minicab and taxi business around the world. But with parcel delivery and Sameday courier being so closely related, what could this efficient, low cost model do to the courier industry. Could Uber disrupt the parcel delivery industry?
According to the Financial Times, “DHL, FedEx, Royal Mail and other courier and delivery companies are bracing themselves for an expansion of the group’s North American UberRush service into Europe.”. The introduction of Uber Rush to UK’s streets could dent the market share of operators such as Royal Mail, Deutsche Post and PostNL, equity analysts and investors have told Reuters.
Uber has been attracted to this sector by the massive spike in online shopping over the past 2 years, with record traffic putting major delivery networks under massive strain. According to the Office for National Statistics, 76 per cent of adults bought goods or services online in 2015; in 2008 it was 53 per cent, with new records being set year on year.
Uber says it “currently” has no plans to launch UberRush in the UK. “It’s too early to say”, but the Uber Rush trials in the USA have so far been successful which would likely mean rollout in the UK in the not too distant future.
This move could make the fight for margins in an already competitive industry even harder. Already we are seeing major acquisitions by post and delivery networks who are readying themselves for the next retail peak. UberRush has also announced that it will integrate with online retail platforms like Shopify which will connect delivery into day-to-day retail operations. Great News for retailers with more options on item delivery, but not such great news for some couriers who may find it hard to compete with UberRush who rely on ordinary people rather than companies to deliver parcels at a much lower cost.
“UberRush would be another potential competitor trying to take a slice of the pie, which would no doubt put further pressure on companies like Royal Mail when same-day delivery grows in importance,” said David Kerstens, European transport and logistics analyst at Jefferies, an investment banking firm reported the Guardian.
What can be said for sure is that ideas and technology are moving on, and Uber’s out of the box thinking is disrupting at least two established markets. Industry players will have to use the same combination of creativity and technology to compete.