How Uber expects its Rush service to shake up delivery and logistics

Small businesses could soon be able to offer delivery of items in minutes for a fraction of the cost of a courier, using Uber's newest service.

Re-launched in the US last month, Uber Rush is hoping to make it simpler, affordable and efficient for small businesses to deliver their products in a hurry, by capitalising on Uber's existing network infrastructure.

Jo Bertram, UK MD of Uber, said: "We're using the same Uber network, as well as bike couriers, to get you anything you want at a touch of a button. It's very much like the car service, our mission is to make anything in your city more convenient and reliable."

Speaking at the Wired Retail event in London this week, Bertram noted that 20% of trips made by consumers are to pick up something. She explained how Uber wants to use its existing network to avoid clogging up roads with more vehicles.

"Typically a small business owner wouldn't be able to afford and manage a complex infrastructure delivery that Uber can offer," she said, explaining how Uber's merchant dashboard can be integrated with various eCommece platforms.

She also described how Uber Rush could help local communities, supported by the fact that 10% of customers live within five miles of the store they are ordering from.

"We believe Uber Rush can really help small businesses grow and scale in a way they couldn't before," she said. "In the days where we want something now, customers can get it within minutes or an hour. Most services offer next day delivery, but to get something within an hour, that's pretty amazing."

According to Bertram, Uber Rush costs around $7 per delivery in the States at the moment, but as the technology company capitalises further on its network, it can start to reduce the delivery costs.

Uber's other products include its car service, Uber X – which is available in 350 cities in 64 countries across six continents – and Uber Pool. Uber Pool is its original car service with the added benefit of matching two riders who are going in a similar direction, allowing them to share the cost of the journey. Available in US cities and Paris at the moment, Uber Pool typically reduces the overall cost to a consumer by 30-40%, as well as the added benefit of less emissions and cars on the roads.

Bertram explained that Uber is working on combining both Uber Rush and Uber Pool. "In the future, imagine if we could combine the Uber Rush and Uber Pool technologies and still get something in minutes? It would take a couple of extra minutes, but they can all be dropped off at an amazingly affordable price."