Ride-sharing companies offer more than just rides
Gett, Uber expand to food and service deliveries. Is Lyft next?
The ride-share market has become saturated in recent years, and offering a ride from point A to point B no longer cuts it if you're trying to differentiate yourself from the pack. This reality has encouraged several companies to adopt creative solutions to set themselves apart.
The Israeli car app Gett, which operates in cities such as Tel Aviv, New York and London, is a case in point. It recently announced a partnership with WunWun, the on-demand delivery service, which allows users to request a product or service (such as food or dry cleaning) to be delivered at the pickup location or during their Gett ride. In an effort to build up the service, the company recently announced it would be hiring 300 people—150 in Israel and 150 spread out across their offices in the UK, Russia and New York.
“Gett is expanding into new verticals – think Gett Pizza, Gett Sushi, Gett Grocery, Gett Wine, Gett Flowers, Gett Dry Cleaning and Gett Plumber,” said Gett founder and CEO Shahar Waiser in a statement. “We plan to become the first app you tap to get essential things done. Everyone will use it, and no one will remember how they coped without it."
Gett isn't alone in its ambition. U.S.-based Uber, the ride-share market leader, has launched two separate services to complement its business. The first is UberEATS. The service, available in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, delivers dishes from popular restaurants in minutes for a minimal fee.
The company launched UberRUSH, a courier service in New York City. Uber also plans to expand into product delivery through partnerships with companies such as Birchbox.
Uber operates in more than 300 locations around the world and continues to expand. It most recently extended its service to Jerusalem. Uber expansion creates the expectation that its services will also expand, further pressuring its competitors to serve up more than just rides.
While the market has necessitated such developments, it's also a matter of basic business principles.
"All businesses want to grow and seek out new markets," said Jim Motavalli, a transportation expert and author of the book High Voltage. "Amazon started just selling books, then it expanded to selling, well, virtually everything. Whole divisions of companies like Uber and Lyft are devoted to growing the business and expanding the mission. They say, 'Why not food delivery?' They don't say, 'That's outside our niche.'"
In fact Lyft, another U.S.-based company considered Uber's biggest competitor, hasn't made an announcement about its own plans to diversify its services, but has hired Rex Tibbens, a former Amazon executive, as its new chief operating officer. In a post about the hire, the company explained it needed to expand its business and that Tibbens was hired to "develop new innovations for the driver and passenger experience."
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