Uber's New On-Demand Services: Would You Take it?

Innovation is the backbone of any business, whether it's a traditional brick-and-mortar business or a big Internet-based company.

Smart companies understand that; so from time to time, their research departments shut its doors, immerse into deep thinking and debate, brainstorm millions of ideas, and finally settle on something that will resonate with their customers, clients, and consumers.

Uber is one of these smart companies. With its massive driver-partners and riders and fierce competitors, the company must either continue to innovate or lag behind. One of its latest inventions, which it's still testing, is adding on-demand services for its riders.

Let's talk about the idea and see whether it's viable or not.

The idea

Uber, just like Amazon, wants to become "the everything store" for the transportation industry.

Obviously, the $69 billion dollar company is obsessed with its customers. Its never-ending innovation is a testament to that. UberEats, UberRUSH, UberLUX, etc. all of these are newer products added to the company's elastic vision: "To make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone."

With this bold vision, the company keeps experimenting new ideas; ideas that they think and hope would ease their consumers' lives. For example, the company is experimenting a new Premium Support hotline for riders and is running a giant Project Elevate—testing its flying cars product—shuttling riders up in the skies to save them from the time-wasting traffic jam in cities.

And now they're testing additional product to their bigger list of product categories; they call it Uber on-demand services—testing the viability of adding on-demand services, such as customer services (sales and marketing, for example) and cleaning services (like cleaning of offices or shops) both for consumers and businesses.

The experiment

The new idea, though in its infancy, seems promising.

Uber is testing the idea by asking its millions of drivers whether they will take the on-demand services—anything from health care services to retail to food services— by email. Here's how the Uber's research department composed the email:

"We would like to ask about your interest in receiving requests from Uber to perform other types of tasks on a flexible basis. Task requests would be similar to ride requests from Uber. A request would be sent through the Uber app for a task. If interested, an Uber partner would accept the request and then travel to meet the request at the specified task location."

In addition, the email links to a survey, which inquires about the price that an Uber driver is willing to charge taking on-demand tasks on an hourly basis. The whole thing seems like a welcoming opportunity for an Uber-driver partner. The new service tasks mean more jobs and more money for the drivers, but the question is, would they take it?

The viability

The ride-hailing industry is already crowded.

Aside from the Uber's million driver-partners, who struggle to make extra income to pay the bills, there are other ride-hailing companies—Lyft, Sidecar, Taxify, Summon, etc.—which are trying hard to snatch as many riders from Uber as possible and dominate the industry.

For Uber, the idea may seem alluring, but for drivers, they may have some questions at the back of their minds:

"Can I take a cleaning order, a sales service, or move a giant box from one location to another?" "Do I feel comfortable doing these kinds of jobs?"

Even if you have no problem doing these jobs, can you manage to do them for $20? $30? These are some of the key questions that probably be running in your head, and Uber is desperate to hear your answers. That's why its research department links that email to its survey because your answer is the determining factor for this latest on-demand service idea.