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Uber App to Offer Retailers Store-Front Drop Off

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and Uber is set to take advantage.

The ride-sharing service has partnered with location-data company Yext to allow brands to create in-app campaigns.

Yext provides companies with the ability to specify their store locations. Per Uber API Terms of Use, developers are not allowed to use the Uber API/Materials to distribute unsolicited advertising or promotions to users.

If you request an Uber through a brand website or app, that brand will then be able to produce campaigns within Uber once someone is in the car. For example, brands can link a pin on an Uber map to a website showing in-store inventory at a shop or a restaurant could pull its menu information into the app. A retailer or brand can only participate if they are a paying Yext client.

Consumers will continue to pay the same amount for the Uber ride.

Where is the Uber customer in this equation?

“We’re closing the loop so that businesses can provide a great experience all the way from search results to checkout, which includes actually getting to the location,” Marc Ferrentino, evp of strategy and product at Yext, said in a statement.

Both Uber and Yext have yet to comment publicly on the functionality of the campaign. Can they opt out of the ad campaign? Will the drop-off point still be the option of the customer?

While the retail aspect of the campaigns will provide brands with new opportunities, it could very well taint a customer’s ride-share experience.

Consumers originally flocked to Uber for its simple promise of a quick and easy ride. Given the auto-play, ad-laden TV feature in most cabs, a side benefit was a ride blissfully devoid of advertising.

The ads may be beneficial to some customers. For others, it’s easy enough to just close the app. But this could be the first step towards more advertising opportunities offered to brands, which could put the customer against Uber’s need for growth.

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