In case you haven’t noticed, Uber isn’t just for people ride-sharing anymore. It has expanded its service to include delivering and returning packages for shipment. Uber’s new “Return a Package” feature adds on to “Uber Connect” by picking up online returns and delivering them to predetermined shipping points (e.g., UPS, USPS, FedEx) for a fixed fee.
It can be a pain to return something. And we bet you have something in your house that you bought online and want to return, but just haven’t gotten around to it. (No shame.) After the box is packed, we have to get in the car (perhaps calling an Uber for a ride?) or on a bus and travel to a return spot such as the U.S. Post Office, FedEx, or UPS. (And doesn’t it always seem as if the line gets longer just before you enter…)
Returning packages bought online is a growing practice in the U.S. According to the National Retail Federation, online customers last year returned 16.5%, more than $212 billion worth of purchases! Many of those purchases will be rejected by consumers and need to be returned for a credit.
So, Uber is now making it easier to return those online purchases. Using the Uber app, you can schedule a pick-up and delivery for a flat $5.00 fee. A courier will pick up your prepaid, packaged item and drop it off at a predetermined destination. The service is available in more than 4,950 cities in the U.S.
Uber isn’t the only company trying to cash in on a growing practice. DoorDash began a similar service in January, and Walmart offers at-home return pickups for subscribers in its Walmart+ membership program.
What are you going to return?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students: Who has used Uber’s ride services?
- Poll students: What are the issues involved when they need to return a purchase via shipping? Does anyone have something that they haven’t gotten around to returning yet?
- Show a video about the new service: https://youtu.be/sp_2GR2j7i4?si=Ou_6TVKONN9SCdQ6
- Show the news release from Uber: https://www.uber.com/newsroom/uber-package-returns/
- Poll students: Who would use this service? Why or why not?
- Divide students into team. Have each team work on a possible SWOT analysis that led Uber to its decision to launch the new service.
- Strengths: what is company good at?
- Weaknesses: what needs work?
- Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
- Threats: what should company be wary of?
- Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
Source: Durbin, Dee-Ann. (10 October, 2023). Uber adding package return to services in 5,000 cities. Associated Press.; Lukpat, A. (4 October 2023). Uber introduces package return service. Wall Street Journal.