Uber Unveils Store Pickup, Robot Reindeer, Package Returns
Grubhub + Fuel Rewards, AI hallucinations, online groceries skew male
Did you have store pickup, robot reindeer, package returns, airport pickup and Grinch-themed gingerbread houses on your Christmas wish list? Uber sure hopes so, because that’s what they just hid under the tree! We’ve also got Grubhub giving you something gassy, AI dreaming up something scary and some very gendered online shopping data. Read on!
Uber Unwraps Store Pickup, Robot Reindeer, Package Returns
Grubhub Teams Up with Fuel Rewards
Chart Time | Online Groceries for Dudes
AI Hallucinations, It’s What’s for Dinner!
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3PD | Uber Adds Store Pickup, Robot Reindeer, Package Returns
Uber just rolled out a slew of holiday-related product updates. The most interesting new feature is Store Pickup, which allows users to send a courier in-store to pickup an already purchased item, now live in 1,700 cities. On the other side of the spectrum, Package Returns means that anyone that got an unwanted holiday gift can have an Uber courier return it to a post office, UPS or FedeEx store for just $5, or for free if you’re an Uber One member. And the most festive news of all is the launch of Robot Reindeer, where Cartken and Serve delivery bots in Miami, LA and Fairfax, VA are getting decked out like Santa’s littlest fleet.
The Big Picture: We asked Cartken Co-Founder Anjali Jindal Naik how the reindeer promo came together: “In our partnership with Uber Eats, we’re always looking for fun and creative ways to delight customers, and familiarize them with autonomous robot technology. The holiday season presented an excellent opportunity to spread joy and get people excited about the new service. With our rapid expansion in major metro areas such as Miami and Fairfax, VA, establishing timely and relevant connections with customers is pivotal to our sustained success.” As part of this Uber Winter Wonderland announcement, the platform is also launching a Festive Fleet of decked out charter vans, a Gift Hub of celebrity designed gift packages, a Grinch-themed gingerbread kit just for Uber One members and reserved ride pickups at more airports.
LOYALTY | Grubhub Adds Fuel Rewards
Just Eat Takeaway-owned Grubhub is teaming up with Fuel Rewards, the PDI Technologies-backed gas station loyalty program live at over 200,000 locations worldwide and in use by 30 million shoppers. Grubhub members can link their Fuel Rewards accounts and save 5 cents per gallon on their next fill-up at select Shell stations, for every $50 spent on deliveries. Grubhub+ loyalty members get an additional 5 cents of savings on gas purchases, bringing the total reward to 10 cents per gallon — not bad for heavy drivers.
The Big Picture: This partnership is a smart way for Grubhub to add value to its service without having to incur much in the way of new costs. That said, we wonder if making Fuel Rewards available for couriers wouldn’t also be a nice way to reward hard-working gigsters. Currently, Grubhub offers its drivers cash back on gas via GasBuddy, but it appears that if they wanted to, those two programs could be combined for extra fuel-related savings.
CHART TIME | Men Like Online Grocery Shopping More Than Women
Online grocery ordering — it’s a man’s world? New research from PYMNTS suggests that supermarket shopping via the ol’ web may indeed be very gendered. 42% of men report having used Instacart, while only 28% of women have. Meal kits, in-store pickup, other grocery delivery apps… all show big skews in male vs female usage.
AI | GPT Hallucinates Terrifying New Meals
Mmm, eldritch horror, nothing gets the appetite up quite like that! Sleuths on Twitter have noticed that Uber Eats has started creating images for menu items that otherwise had no photo, but the computer doesn’t always quite hit the mark… It can’t quite tell that “pie” means pizza in certain contexts, it’s adding scary squid arms in the wrong places and it’s decided there’s a brand of ranch dressing called Lelnach. Eat up!
The Big Picture: This is part of a larger issue with LLM style AI, whereby the technology “hallucinates” something that seems almost right, but isn’t. When it comes to writing text, the machine can sound very convincing, even when riddled with errors. When it comes to illustrations, it’s easier for humans to detect when something is amiss, at least for now. As for this error, seems easy enough to address by having restaurant owners approve generated images, or letting users downvote inaccurate graphics.
A Few Good Links
AWS expands supply chain capabilities. Uber commits $10M to combat gender-based violence. Instacart Health launches Good Food at Home in D.C. to combat food deserts. Target highlights sub $25 meals. The Honey Baked Ham Co ships holiday themed… honey baked hams. Papa Johns pays $175k in ADA claims. Starbucks Red Cup Day underperforms. Taco Bell expands retail presence with SOS Kit. Credit card fees under pressure. Port of NY / NJ cargo volume down 6%. Grubhub / The Hatchery award private kitchen to Nude Dude Food. (Hope they still wear hair nets.)
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