Sidecar announced last week that they are moving into the delivery business: That’s right, next time you hitch a ride with the San Fran-based startup, you might have to share it with someone’s pastrami. (We’re guessing the sandwich doesn’t get the front seat, though.)
According to the New York Times’ Bits Blog, the service “will be powered by Sidecar drivers who are also picking up and dropping off passengers, a move the company says cuts pricing and delivery times dramatically.”
Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul expained to GigaOm that Sidecar’s endeavour is different from Uber’s experiments with delivery. “This is a genuine breakthrough. No one has ever done this before, being able to combine people and packages in the same trip and the same car. We’re able to do this because of some unique Sidecar ways of doing things. Namely, we ask for destinations and get destinations from every rider [when they first request a car].”
The element of the pre-set destination, Paul explains, is what allows Sidecar to set efficient routes for deliveries. Also, Sidecar is partnering with local businesses rather than consumers who are craving delivery. They’re starting from the business side out, a distinction that GigaOm’s Carmel DeAmicis says is “subtle.”
But Bits also reports that Sidecar will face numerous competitors, including GrubHub, Postmates, and to some degree, Amazon and Google—the two giants have both dabbled in same-day delivery projects, Bits explains.
Over the next couple of months, Sidecar will roll out the service nationwide; it has already been active in San Francisco for several months. About 10% of total Sidecar ride volume in San Francisco is now people + packages, and investor AVC says: “Their ecommerce partners are getting prices that are up to 80 percent below traditional same day delivery fees and they have cut delivery times in half.” As Paul explains in a post announcing the move: “Our vision is that every business, large or small, will have the ability to offer same day delivery because they can outsource the cost and logistics to us. We’re on our way.”