How Uber is trying to create ‘stickiness’ for its app

Ride-hailing is back. But Uber’s looking to become more than a one-stop shop for booking rides.

The ride-hailing giant is expanding its platform beyond car bookings, focusing on growth and catering to a wider range of consumers. Uber introduced several new additions, including a private chartered boat service in Mykonos, Greece, group ordering for Uber Eats, and opening its app to teens. The common thread? Acquiring new users and retaining existing ones.

Camiel Irving, Head of Rides at Uber, explained the rationale behind these moves, stating, “We want to be a platform for all mobility needs.” She emphasized the importance of catering to families, who have significant spending power worldwide. “Our aspiration is for people to be able to go anywhere and get anything,” Irving added. And it seems to be paying off—Uber exceeded analyst expectations in Q1, with increased gross bookings and revenue.

However, as TechCrunch reporter Rebecca Bellan points out, it remains unclear how much Uber invests in these new products and their revenue-generating potential. Nonetheless, the company’s strategy seems to be working. So, why the focus on boats? Jen You, Head of Product for Rides at Uber, noted that the Mykonos boat service capitalizes on post-pandemic travel trends and caters to Greece’s popularity as a vacation destination. It’s a low-risk pilot, partnering with local boat operators to funnel demand and generate revenue.

On the other hand, group ordering for groceries aligns with Uber’s growth strategy by simplifying a routine task. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi highlighted the elegance and convenience of the feature, eliminating the hassle of splitting bills. While Instacart currently dominates the digital grocery market, Uber aims to enhance loyalty with custom ordering options and suggested replacements, giving customers more control and choice.

Expanding their consumer base, Uber has launched teen accounts, allowing users aged 13 to 17 to create ride-hailing and delivery accounts. Teen users are matched with highly rated, experienced drivers, and parents can monitor trip progress and access Uber’s support team on behalf of their teens. This move demonstrates Uber’s commitment to finding new avenues for growth, recognizing that transportation captures a meaningful share of teen spending.

As Uber continues to evolve beyond its ride-hailing origins, these strategic additions showcase its ambition to become a comprehensive mobility platform, catering to diverse consumer needs. With a focus on growth and user-centric features, Uber is positioning itself for success in an increasingly competitive market.

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