Uber Eats is turning into a “virtual mall” and plans to add clothing and more to the app

Outside the ride-hailing service Uber’s Johannesburg headquarters. (Image: Ntando Thukwana/Business Insider South Africa)

  • The Uber Eats app is evolving into a virtual mall, with more and more non-food items appearing on the platform.
  • Next is a range of women’s comfort clothing.
  • Jewelry and perfume have recently been introduced.
  • Uber plans to increase distribution through partnerships with small brands in the country that can serve as warehouse locations.
  • 37 sales locations are planned by the end of March 2023.
  • For more stories, visit www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Uber’s food delivery service, Uber Eats in South Africa, is steadily evolving into a virtual mall that allows users to shop for non-food items for delivery in just 30 minutes.

The app plans to make clothing purchases available on its platform, eliminating the days of waiting for a package typically associated with traditional online fashion retailers.

Cikida Gcali-Mabusela, new vertical head for Uber sub-Saharan Africa, said one of the delivery service’s biggest ambitions is to become the virtual mall of the future.

“We’re bringing women’s comfort wear, we’re looking at apparel, but we also want to expand more into industries like books and stationery because we think they’re doing really well. Herbal pharmacies are doing very well,” said Gcali-Mabusela.

The app already has a number of non-grocery shopper categories where it sells books, medicines and perfumes. Last month, it inked a deal with DJ Zinhle to offer DJ Zinhle’s ERA line of jewelry products for sale.

READ: Uber Eats just struck a deal with DJ Zinhle to list their jewelry line on the app | Business Insider

“Our modus operandi this year is ‘get everything that matters,'” said Gcali-Mabusela.

“Last year we focused on groceries, convenience and spirits and specialties. This year we’re saying ‘anything a person wants in 30 minutes,'” she said.

In other markets in sub-Saharan Africa, the app offers more unconventional categories such as domestic gas supplies in Kenya and traditional herbs.

While the company looks to improve its distribution models for the app, it will maintain its stance as a third-party aggregator, Gcali-Mabusela said.

Earlier this year, Uber Eats piloted a warehouse model where it set up a distribution center and stocked products from four brands: Masodi Organics, Love Kinks, Mizaza and Flowers.

“We’re maintaining our position as a third-party aggregator, giving people access to a marketplace where they are,” Gcali-Mabusela said.

“Rather than thinking about distributing more perfumes across South Africa, we’re thinking about targeting the small business market, where people are already selling perfumes, and then using them as a distribution point for last mile delivery.” said.

The app works with smaller brands in the country who double as Uber Eats distribution partners. It currently has three distribution locations in the country, all located in Cape Town, and intends to have nine in Cape Town and Johannesburg by the end of September.

By the end of the first quarter of 2023, Uber Eats plans to have a total of 37 distribution locations across most of the country.

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