Ride-sharers buy while they ride
People taking Ubers and Lyfts in some cities can now visit the convenience store on the way to their destination without leaving their seats, thanks to a startup called Cargo.
Cargo, which recently expanded to rideshares in the Los Angeles area, sets up drivers to double as convenience store clerks, as described in The Spoon. Drivers who sign up to take part are given a display box of items they can sell to riders (replenished each month) such as snacks, electronics, toiletries and cosmetics. Riders can order the products via Cargo’s mobile app. The driver then furnishes them with what they’ve purchased during the next instance that it’s safe to stop the car.
Cargo’s website explains that it is free for drivers to participate in the service without the need for an upfront investment. Top drivers can purportedly earn up to $300 a month.
The service remains available only in select markets, but the move into Los Angeles marks the next step in a plan of expansion into cities beyond the initial three: New York City, Chicago and Boston. In January, Convenience Store News reported that the startup plans to expand into the top 10 U.S. cities for ridesharing.
The appeal to riders who realize they’ve forgotten toothpaste on the way back to their home or who are struck with late-night munchies between bars is obvious. But the service does raise questions regarding safety as managing the purchases could cause a distraction to drivers. It is also not clear the degree to which rideshare customers will appreciate or accept being upsold when attempting to get from place to place, which could happen if drivers are dependent on the additional income Cargo provides.
But the service may be ahead of the curve when it comes to getting customers more comfortable buying things while in cars. Some have posited that in-car commerce is the next big technological frontier, led by trends like in-car voice assistants and, eventually, fully autonomous, driverless vehicles.
- Cargo Takes Its In-Car Commerce Platform to LA – The Spoon
- Cargo FAQ – Cargo
- Cargo Eyes More Cities for Rideshare Vending Expansion – Convenience Store News
- What will driverless cars mean for shoppers? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will rideshare customers take to third-party sales services like Cargo? Is this a channel that businesses selling other types of products should consider exploring? Are there potential downsides to the proliferation of apps like Cargo?