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Uber Tackles Same-Day Delivery

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In the five years since Uber first entered the car service market, the app-powered start-up has disrupted the traditional taxi industry and tried its hand at delivering everything from Christmas trees to kittens to ice cream. Now, the company is getting into the same-day delivery game, partnering with online retailers to offer the service through UberRush bike couriers and Uber car drivers.

TechCrunch reported Wednesday that mobile shopping app Spring was part of a pilot program offering three-hour delivery from eight participating brands for a limited time at no extra charge to shoppers. Sources told the website that more than 400 merchants, including Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s, Cohen’s Fashion Optical and Hugo Boss, are also in talks to partake in the program.

Uber tested something similar for two days in New York last June when it offered same-day delivery of “summertime must-haves” from Rent the Runway, Suitsupply, Birchbox, Baublebar and Alexis Bittar via UberRush. Another foray before the holidays saw the service partner with luxury discount site Gilt to offer free same-day delivery of last-minute gifts.

According to training documents obtained by TechCrunch, the new pilot’s participating drivers and couriers currently take orders through a separate app than the one used to dispatch regular orders, but Uber plans to rebuild the system to feed all jobs through the same app—implying that drivers will soon be able to schlep packages and passengers at the same time.

“Experimenting and finding new, creative ways for the Uber app to provide even greater value to our riders and driver partners is a way of life at Uber. We have been piloting UberRush with multiple retailers for the past year,” said an Uber spokesperson in response to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Uber isn’t the only start-up helping omnichannel retailers dip into the waters of same-day delivery. Deliv, which crowdsources its drivers, partnered with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Foot Locker last fall to pick up online orders from brick-and-mortar stores (thereby turning them into distribution centers) and deliver them that same day to customers in select markets across the U.S.

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