The only thing better than getting your favorite foods delivered right to your door is saving money while doing it. At least that’s what UberEats in the U.K. is hoping. According to Business Insider, UberEats, a division of ridesharing company Uber, is considering adding a loyalty program to reward customers who subscribe to its delivery service. With such a subscription program, customers could save on UberEats delivery fees and get access to promotions and exclusive menus.
In an interview with Business Insider last month, UberEats U.K. country manager Toussaint Wattinne said the company has done some preliminary testing in several U.K. cities.
‘We are constantly testing,’ Wattinne said.
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Wattinne also said that it a subscription or loyalty program will not be the key driver of retention. Instead, it is the quality of the overall experience including the range of restaurants, the quality of the food, and the reliability and speed of delivery that will be what keeps customers coming back for more.
‘I think being obsessed about this core experience and being obsessed about the quality of that experience is what ultimately makes your business attractive and make people come back,’ said Wattinne.
UberEats launched in London in June 2016. In March 2017, UberEats announced plans to expand to 40 additional towns and cities across the U.K. during 2017.
‘In less than a year, over a million people have downloaded the UberEats app in the U.K.,’ said Jambu Palaniappan, regional general manager of UberEats EMEA, in a statement. ‘It’s clear from the response we’ve seen in London, Manchester and Birmingham that there’s huge appetite from people to order food at the touch of a button from their favorite local restaurants.’
Like the Uber ridesharing app, UberEats has an app where customers order food from participating London restaurants between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m., seven days a week. Customers download the app, input their delivery address, make their selections from the available restaurant menus and follow along as their food is delivered. UberEats charges a booking fee for each delivery to cover operational costs. Prices on food items vary by restaurant, and they may be different than the restaurant would charge a customer if purchased directly.
UberEats competes with Deliveroo, who launched a subscription service called Deliveroo Plus in January of this year. At launch, Deliveroo was testing the idea in six U.K. cities – Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Brighton and York – reported The Verge. For £8.99 a month or £89 a year, subscribers can get the standard £2.50 delivery fee per order waived up to four times a month or 36 times a year. In November, Deliveroo announced the expansion of this program to 45 towns and cities across the U.K.
‘Deliveroo Plus presents a fantastic way for us to offer better value for money to customers,’ said Dan Warne, U.K.and Irelance managing director at Deliveroo in a statement. ‘Our trial showed us that people really do love the service, and we’re working on making it even better with tons of additional rewards, like money off from their favorite Deliveroo restaurants.’
UberEats also competes with Amazon Restaurants, an Amazon-owned restaurant food delivery service through the Prime Now app. In September 2016, Amazon Restaurants launched in nine urban areas. Customers could get one- or two-hour delivery on more than 15,000 food items.
We always love to see companies start out with a test run before fully launching subscriptions, so in this regard, we are pleased to see UberEats has established a strong customer base before testing the subscription waters. However, we don’t agree with the company’s theory that subscriptions won’t drive retention. A subscription may not get a customer to try a food delivery service, but for customers who order takeout on a regular basis, a subscription is a great deal and could cause them to choose one service over another.
With a food delivery subscription, customers save on delivery or booking fees and get special deals and discounts, while the delivery service – whether it is UberEats, Amazon Restaurants or Delivery – gets a reliable customer base for recurring revenue and to market other offerings to. Yes, a positive customer experience and a good selection of restaurants and menus are critical to the program’s success, but a subscription just may keep a customer coming back for seconds.