As lockdowns continue to bite across the nation Woolworths and Uber Eats have teamed to make same-hour grocery delivery a reality, with a dozen Woolworths Metro locations available on the Uber Eats app from next week.
The trial will see three stores from Melbourne and nine from Sydney take part in the trial with plans for the program to be rolled out to more than 200 stores in coming months.
The stores include Balaclava, Hadfield and Hawthorn in Melbourne. In Sydney the Woolworths Metro stores include Bondi, Maroubra Beach, Padstow, Erskineville, Pyrmont, Randwick, Redfern, Rose Bay and Rozelle.
Uber Eats executive Lucas Groeneveld said consumer demand for home delivery has spiked throughout the Covid pandemic, and grown even further during harsh lockdowns.
“If you look at some of the numbers, as Sydney went into lockdown we saw a tripling in people searching for grocery deliveries, so it‘s a great opportunity to get to be able to actually deliver that now,” Mr Groeneveld said.
“We’re certainly seeing that demand for convenience, and we’ve been in the restaurant space for a long time but consumers want more than just restaurant food delivered on demand, they want groceries and this is what that partnership with Woolworths will enable.”
Until now, supermarket deliveries from supermarkets including Woolworths can sometimes take days to deliver, and Woolworths Metro General Manager Justin Nolan said that same-hour grocery delivery would be a perfect fit for customers wanting a ‘top up shop’.
“We look at this as being for customers who want smaller baskets and order them more frequently,” he said. “We think that it complements really nicely the offers we already have in the market.
“Importantly it will also help us meet the needs of customers seeking to limit their community outings during the pandemic.”
Mr Nolan said that each delivery placed on Uber Eats from a virtual Woolworths storefront will be packed by Woolworths personal shoppers, before being passed on to Uber Eats delivery people to fulfil the delivery.
The company’s current annual e-commerce sales exceed $3.3bn and grew by 90.5 per cent year on year in the March quarter.
Uber Eats will also soon become a delivery option for customers ordering through the Woolworths website, with Uber providing last mile delivery solutions to Woolworths’ existing online retail operation commencing in Brisbane and Toowoomba, before rolling out to further locations.
With all the extra lockdown demand Uber Eats has sometimes struggled to find enough drivers for deliveries, but according to Mr Groeneveld, the Woolworths deal will actually better help the company fulfil restaurant orders.
“We are the largest on-demand network in Australia, and we do have 60,000 delivery partners on the platform able to take those trips,” he said.
“Clearly, there‘s unprecedented demand at the moment and at times that can be challenging. I think what will be great about this partnership in particular is grocery orders won’t traditionally happen in the peak meal times, and so will actually serve to smooth out some of that demand, and make it easier to accommodate.”