UberRUSH API Promises to Power Local Deliveries

Uber today unveiled yet another API meant to help both it and its partner businesses increase their customer base. The UberRUSH API lets companies order an Uber driver to handle local deliveries. 

FedEx and UPS are great for overnighting packages across the country, but aren't as useful for making same-day deliveries. Courier services are often used to ferry small packages around urban environments, but they aren't always the best option and can be costly. Enter the UberRUSH API, which Uber says is an easy way for local businesses to get items delivered more quickly. It works with small, medium, and large businesses, and can be baked into existing ordering and delivery apps. 

The API allows companies to request as many Ubers as they need for shipping to local addresses. The service is first being made available in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, and delivery rates are fairly reasonable. For example, in San Francisco deliveries costs just $6 when shipped to an address within a 1-mile radius of the pickup site. For each additional mile, tack on additional $3. The rates for New York are $5 for the first mile and $2.50 for each additional mile. 

The UberRUSH API lets businesses and their customers follow the progress of packages just as riders do when waiting for a lift. Real-time tracking shows where deliveries are on the map, and Uber says this level of visiblity improves the pickup and dropoff experience for the shipper and recipient. Uber claims its drivers can accommodate most fragile items, or items that need special care. It didn't go so far as to say it can provide vans for larger items.  

There's no need to worry about selecting a payment processing platform. The UberRUSH API integrates with platforms such as Clover, Shopify, ChowNow, and Delivery.com. This lets companies buld deliveries into their day-to-day operations without the hassles of burdensome installations. 

Uber is making the UberRUSH API available to a limited set of partners to start, including Nordstroms, 1800Flowers, Rent The Runway, Curbside, EatStreet, Olo, WhichWich, and others. These companies have already put the API to use in their own apps, servicing customers in the three launch cities. Uber says it will expand availability of the API to power on-demand delivery in more apps and locations over the next few months. 

The API and its toolset may be appealing to small businesses that may rely on expensive courier services, but Uber has its sights set on larger platforms. It is working with SAP, Bergen Logistics, and Trade Global to help improve the logistics for those corps' own retail and delivery customers. The idea is to keep Uber drivers busy whether or not they are ferrying passengers from Point A to Point B. The busier Uber's drivers are, the more money the drivers and Uber makes. 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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