Uber testing prepaid-item pickup from local stores in India

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Uber has quietly started testing a feature that lets gig workers pick up prepaid items from local stores and deliver them to customers in India.

Called “Store Pickup,” the feature debuted in select U.S. cities in December and is now expanded to Delhi-NCR, TechCrunch has exclusively learned. Customers can order pickups and deliveries and track them live through the Uber app — similar to how they track rides.

Uber’s Store Pickup will likely face competition from Indian platforms, including Dunzo, Rapido, and Swiggy, which offer similar services to allow customers to get their packages picked up from local stores. Nonetheless, the latest rollout brings another choice. It suggests that Uber sees a business opportunity in delivering items from local stores in India — just like in the U.S. The feature also helps Uber further embed the app into customers’ everyday lives.

That said, the Store Pickup feature comes with some limitations. For instance, the item set for pickup at the local store needs to be five kilograms (11 lbs) or less. It should also be valued at up to 5,000 Indian rupees ($60) and can be collected without requiring identification proof or a credit/ debit card used for purchasing. Users can’t have alcohol, medication, drugs, firearms, and “dangerous or illegal items” delivered.

Uber declined to comment.

Uber requires customers to enter pickup details before initiating their deliveries, which include the local shop name and address and pickup instructions for the driver, including whether they need to pick up the item from a customer service area. Customers can also upload proof of purchase and add an order confirmation number to help drivers successfully fulfill the pickup.

In addition to Store Pickup, Uber offers its regular Connect feature to let customers deliver packages through its app. However, the Store Pickup feature is specifically for arranging deliveries from local stores.

Last year, Uber introduced Store Pickup across 1,700 U.S. cities and towns, including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay. The company also had a similar same-day local delivery feature called UberRush available in some markets, which was discontinued in 2018.

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