Uber has decided to stay out of the grocery delivery market, at least for the time being. The company revealed in a tweet today that UberEssentials, its delivery service for household items like non-perishable food, over-the-counter medicine and toiletries, has shut down for the time being.
That doesn’t mean other delivery companies like Amazon and Instacart can breathe easy. Uber said that it’s taking what it learned from the now-defunct program to put it towards future experiments. What those experiments are remains to be seen.
@Drunkmuppet uberESSENTIALS will no longer be available. We're already taking the learnings and using them towards our next experiment!
— Uber DC (@Uber_DC) January 22, 2015
The program launched as “Corner Store” in August of last year, and underwent a few changes over almost six months, including a rotating seasonal selection of goods like Christmas and Halloween essentials.
Still, its selection was never anywhere close to a traditional store. The service never had perishable items like milk or meat, and usually only carried one type of a particular product. In its current incarnation, it could have never competed on features with Amazon Fresh, which has yet to expand to Washington, D.C.
If Uber chooses to get back into the grocery delivery business, it has the cash to be a serious contender. The company has raised a total of more than $4 billion, including three blockbuster rounds of funding worth more than $1 billion each starting in June of last year.