You Can Now Buy Snacks During Your Uber or Lyft Ride
Interesting concept brings convenience to riders; extra money for driversby Robert Moore, on
A new startup is bringing somewhat unconventional vending services into the hands of Lyft and Uber drivers, allowing them to offer up thinks like snacks, pain relievers, and even phone chargers to their riders. The startup is known as Cargo and has a nifty little setup that includes a display case for the vehicle and inventory, as well as a web portal where customers pay for their purchase. Apparently, drivers get to sign up for free, and it appears as if the stock is given out on consignment and is even automatically tracked and delivered as needed, based on the driver’s sales. And, this isn’t some tiny little startup either, as the company has reportedly received as much as $1.75 million in seed funding and is already operating in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
Of course, the company is still in the embryonic stages of deployment but claims to have received requests from drivers in 49 states. And, that’s really not surprising, considering that drivers are reportedly making $100 – $150 extra a month just from vending sales alone. The system operates rather simply for something that could be complicated. Customers simply insert a basic URL into their phone, plug in the number of the vending machine in their ride, and choose what they want to buy, be it an iPhone charger or a pack of spearmint gum. Payment is made electronically, and once completed, an alert is sent to the driver who then hands over you’re your goodies for the trip home. So how much do drivers get paid? Keep reading to find out.
It’s Really Not A Bad Setup
Drivers get paid a set fee for every item: $.50 regardless of the price paid by the rider, and since the merchandise is sent on consignment, drivers don’t have to pay up front or manage inventory – it’s all done automatically.
Now, I have yet to check out one of these little vending machines in person, as I don’t happen to be in the area’s where they are currently deployed, but the prices seem pretty reasonable. And, some machines even have free sample items, which still offer the same payment to the driver when sold. All told, drivers get paid a set fee for every item: $.50 regardless of the price paid by the rider, and since the merchandise is sent on consignment, drivers don’t have to pay up front or manage inventory – it’s all done automatically. Free samples – something the company is working on expanding – may become more readily available and will be used to provide demographics to the manufacturer. This includes things like the time of day, location, other purchases if any, and the like. Of course, you do sacrifice a certain level of privacy by using the service and providing demographics, but I don’t think many people will be concerned if big brother knows that they purchased a pack of gum at 11 P.M. before going to the club.
Now, here is the thing – this could actually grow and offer more than just snacks. Things like condoms, aspirin, and travel-sized items like deodorant or toothpaste and a toothbrush – things that are easily forgotten – could also prove to be big sellers, especially in areas that see a lot of tourist or travelers. Of course, there are other concerns, too. Will the alert sent to the driver cause a distraction while driving? Will drivers begin giving lower ratings to riders who don’t make a purchase? Or, will drivers attempt to push products and make riders uncomfortable? All of these are simple but viable concerns.
At the end of the day, it’s more about convenience, and it beats the hell out of asking your driver to make an extra stop so you can grab a bag of skittles. But drivers will also have to be responsible and not penalize their riders should they not make a purchase. According to Cargo, this isn’t an issue, though, as drivers average $100 in earnings a month, with the top 30 percent of drivers selling around 500 items a month – that computes to an extra income of $250.
What do you think? It’d be interesting in hearing perspectives on this from drivers and riders, so leave your thoughts in the comments section below!