How to partner with a third-party delivery platform
Online ordering and delivery have seen massive growth, and the numbers are continuing to climb. The most established delivery markets globally, including Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, scaled significantly in the last few years. These markets are now 4 to 7 times larger than they were in 2018.
Customers want to experience their favorite products in the comfort of their spaces, and it’s in business owners’ best interest to meet that demand. Third-party delivery platforms can help, but there are several aspects to consider before choosing to use one.
In this article, we’re covering common questions about third-party delivery platforms, including:
- What is a third-party delivery platform?
- What are the benefits of using a third-party delivery platform?
- How can a merchant work with a third-party delivery platform?
What is a third-party delivery platform?
A third-party delivery platform facilitates the transportation of goods by using a technology interface or application to connect businesses, customers, and independent delivery people to one another.
As opposed to a third-party delivery service, which provides delivery services directly, a third-party delivery platform acts as an intermediary or marketplace that connects independent couriers with those in need of their services.
For business owners, this arrangement can be beneficial in 2 key ways:
- It connects them to new potential customers who are using the platform to browse products available for delivery
- They can tap into a network of delivery people—who can earn money by fulfilling orders—without having to build out a delivery infrastructure of their own
What businesses can leverage third-party delivery platforms?
These platforms have come a long way as demand has increased. Now all kinds of businesses can work with them to expand their offering and keep up with the competition.
Food and beverage
The days of just a few restaurants offering delivery options are long gone. As the appetite for food delivery rises, food and beverage businesses have a new opportunity for growth. Third-party platforms make it easier for restaurants with limited space or resources to open up a new sales channel without taking on too many additional overhead costs.
Food and beverage establishments can also open virtual restaurants. These are delivery-only kitchen concepts you can add to an existing storefront to meet customer demand for new items. For example, a pizza restaurant could add a virtual restaurant for chicken wings—a popular appetizer already listed on their menu—to bring more attention to that menu item.
Everyone needs to stock up their pantry—and today, many consumers want the convenience of getting their grocery items at their door. Grocery stores can meet this demand by using third-party delivery platforms.
Customers expect to receive their goods faster than ever before. Retailers can get their products into the hands of their customers and meet those expectations, encouraging repeat business.
Delivery of specialty items can be difficult to coordinate. Using a third-party delivery platform, businesses like convenience stores, pet stores, flower shops, and liquor stores can make the entire experience more convenient.
Benefits of using third-party delivery platforms
Need a bit more information before you decide if you’re going to choose a platform for delivery? Check out many of the ways these platforms can help your business grow and run more smoothly.
Reach new customers
Many third-party delivery platforms have customer-facing apps with large user bases. For example, if you list your business on the Uber Eats app, you can tap into a global base of 122 million monthly active users across the rides and delivery network. This presents an opportunity to be seen by many people using the app for on-demand convenience. On many third-party delivery apps, you can compound this exposure by launching ad campaigns to make your business even more visible to browsing customers.
Offering more ways to order can go beyond reaching new customers and gaining brand exposure—it can also directly affect your bottom line. Some platforms help contribute to revenue-driving goals with marketing tools like promotions—think “buy one get one free” deals—that will appear when customers search the app for businesses to order from.
Manage overhead costs
In many cases, third-party delivery platforms will help facilitate order fulfillment by connecting you with people who have signed up to deliver through that network. This can help you streamline your operations, reach customers in farther delivery zones, and avoid costs that are often associated with hiring, training, and insuring your own delivery staff. If you choose to work with Uber Eats, the app will connect your business to a global network of 5 million delivery people to get orders to your customers.
Boost customer satisfaction and retention
In a time when customers can get almost anything at their doorstep, it’s hard to meet expectations if you don’t offer delivery. With a third-party delivery platform, you can meet this need for on-demand convenience. Depending on the platform you work with, you may also gain access to in-app features that can help you exceed customers’ expectations—like review responses to communicate with them directly.
Access operational tools
Keeping track of all the moving parts that come with offering delivery can be tough. Many third-party delivery apps will give you access to tools that will help you manage orders with ease, create eye-catching online menus, track insights and analytics, add technology integrations, and more.
Achieve flexibility and control
When you select the right third-party delivery platform, you gain control. Look for options that give you the features that suit your business. This may include flexible pricing plans and different fulfillment methods. For example, Uber Eats allows you to switch easily back and forth between using your staff and connecting with couriers on the platform as needed.
Ways to work with a third-party delivery platform
Once you understand the benefits of these platforms, a whole new question arises: How can I work with a third-party delivery platform and start seeing the impact on my business? There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but you can choose from several options based on your goals.
List your business on a marketplace
Get more eyes on what you offer by listing your business on an online marketplace. New customers can discover your business through searching and then order from you.
Power delivery on your website
Convert traffic to your existing online channels into sales opportunities by adding a plug-in to your website or social channels to offer delivery.
Add same-day delivery
Provide same-day local delivery from your existing online store with a third-party delivery platform integration. This will help you keep up with the level of speed that customers often receive from big retailers.
Get support with fulfillment
Fulfill orders your way. Many third-party delivery platforms give you the option of using your own delivery staff or offering pickup to fulfill orders that customers place on the app where your business is listed.
Ready to get started with a third-party delivery platform?
After you decide which platform is right for your business, you’ll generally have to complete a simple signup and activation flow before you can start taking orders. At Uber Eats, this process is designed to be as streamlined as possible. Here’s how it works:
First, tell us a little about your business so we can confirm your identity and license.
Choose your plan
Next, select your preferred pricing plan. We offer several flexible plans that you can choose from based on your business’s goals, how much exposure you’d like to new customers, your preferred delivery method, and other factors.
Complete your setup and begin taking orders
Then you’ll log in to your portal to add your banking and tax information. From there, you’ll review and make any adjustments to your menu, hours, or prices. After all your credentials are confirmed, you can start accepting orders—either from the Uber Eats tablet we send you or on your own.
Want more information about working with Uber Eats? Visit our onboarding center to learn more about what you can expect in your first week. For general best practices about working with Uber Eats and creating a storefront that sells, take one of our self-guided Merchant Academy lessons.
Frequently asked questions
- What’s the value of using a third-party delivery platform?
Working with a third-party delivery platform, you can meet the needs of customers who prefer the comfort and convenience of receiving goods in their own space. Plus, you can expand your capacity to bring in business while controlling your overhead costs.
According to internal data from Uber Eats and Small Businesses: Partnering for Impact Report 2021, 94% of US merchants believe that Uber Eats helps expose their business to new customers and 86% say that this exposure has been beneficial to their bottom line.
- How does third-party delivery platform technology work?
Once a business chooses such a platform, it selects the products it will offer to customers browsing the app. When an order comes in, the business prepares the order. The third-party delivery platform technology will then facilitate order fulfillment by connecting the business to available delivery people in their network who will handle the transportation of goods to the customer. Generally, businesses can use an app to track progress along the way and will receive confirmation when the order arrives.
- What third-party delivery capabilities does Uber’s platform offer?
You can use Uber Eats to reach new customers and generate sales in various ways. These include:
Uber Eats app: Expand your reach by allowing customers to search for or discover your business in the Uber Eats app. We offer flexible options for delivery fulfillment—including self-delivery and pickup—along with several pricing plans to meet your business’s needs.
Webshop: Convert your website and social channel traffic into sales with an online plug-in that makes it easy for customers to place orders for delivery and pickup.
Uber Direct: Delight customers with on-demand delivery through Uber’s platform. This integration allows grocery stores, pharmacies, retail shops, and other businesses to power same-day delivery from their online store with delivery people in Uber’s network. You own the branding, we facilitate fulfillment.
- How much will it cost?
We offer transparent, flexible pricing options. The fees will differ depending on which plan works best for your business. You can learn more on our pricing page.
- What types of businesses can deliver with Uber Eats?
Uber Eats isn’t just for food. We also help businesses send other items—like groceries, pet food, toys, clothing, and more—to their customers in their community.
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