Smartphones have a proven track record of making life more convenient. Most banks have a mobile site or app, and online retailers can accept mobile e-commerce payments from anywhere in the world. Now, Internet businesses are adding meals to their list of available consumer products. Amazon and Uber are the latest to dive into food delivery trend.
Amazon Restaurants expands to Chicago
Amazon announced the addition of 80 Chicago restaurants to its food delivery service Amazon Restaurants, The Chicago Tribune reported. For a limited time, Chicago-based Prime subscribers can order from local restaurants and have their meals delivered free of charge. Amazon Restaurants is currently available in 18 Chicago Zip codes and includes casual and fine dining options. The company plans to add more restaurants daily. Chicago is the sixth market to join Amazon's food delivery system since its launch in September 2015.
UberEats: Food and transportation
On Jan. 22, Uber announced an expansion of its service similar to Amazon Restaurants, Forbes wrote. Named UberEats, the business combines Uber's ride-sharing capability with food delivery. UberEats is now available in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Paris and Washington, D.C. According to Forbes, the service was first tested in New York, Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco, where the service continues to operate. UberEats delivery costs $5 and takes about half an hour.
Instacart declines as Amazon and Uber rise
It's an interesting time for Amazon and Uber to be launching their delivery systems, as other options seem to be slowing in growth. In December 2015, the grocery-delivery platform Instacart said it was raising both its standard delivery fee and the cost of its subscription service, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Delivery will go from $3.99 to $5.99 and the subscription-based Instacart Express will rise from $99 to $149 per year. In addition, the company will lay off 12 of its recruiters. Instacart said it expects to hire fewer people in 2016 compared to 2015, when its staff tripled from fewer than 100 employees to over 300.
Emphasis on mobile convenience
These are just a handful of the apps and websites available for food delivery. There are numerous options varying from pay-as-you-go groceries to subscription-based providers. Some companies have even taken it upon themselves to streamline the cooking process. Businesses like HelloFresh, Blue Apron and Home Chef provide ingredients and recipes based on individual preferences so users can prep their meals for the week. With so many services appearing on a seemingly daily basis, one might wonder: Is food delivery a passing fad, or is it representative of an increasing demand for electronic payments and mobile convenience?
Forbes suggested Uber's advantage is its currently satisfied user base. Though the company has been active for less than a decade, it's seen enormous growth year after year. Uber already has a wide range of customers looking for convenience, so they will likely adopt UberEats with open arms.
PYMNTS.com agreed, speculating the addition of Amazon and Uber could spell the end for other food delivery startups. While they all began as an innovative idea, Uber and Amazon's reach and financial backing puts the two in a position to dominate the market. People are already familiar with their services, and food delivery adds to their convenience.
That is what appears to be most important: convenience. Amazon and Uber already provide other reliable services; users can simply add "groceries and meals" to their routine of online shopping and ride-sharing. What's more, these companies offer a variety of online payment options, including debit cards, credit cards and mobile payment. This adds to the element of convenience and ensures customer satisfaction.
The world of payments is diversifying. E-commerce companies should provide as many payment solutions as possible in order to satisfy customer demands.
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