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As it expands delivery options beyond food to retail goods, Uber is planting a flag around the area it wants to win: local commerce.
At ShopTalk on Tuesday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company is looking to help merchants "out-Amazon Amazon" by providing technology to local merchants that can assist with fulfillment, pricing, routing and other operations that power local delivery of goods. It aims to be the "omnichannel partner for local merchants," he said. Combine that with Uber's delivery network and a user base that allows retailers to reach a large audience, Khosrowshahi said the company believes it can grow the service beyond the size of rivals when it comes to delivering items locally.
During the keynote session, Bloomberg TV's Emily Chang asked how he would characterize the company's ambitions, referencing Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke's famous declaration that his platform was "arming the rebels."
"We're arming the local rebels," Khosrowshahi said.
After moving into delivery with Uber Eats, Amazon expanded the available items beyond food over the last two years. It started delivering essential items in the pandemic, and has added more available items over the last two years. Coming on the heels of the company's Super Bowl ad campaign that showed celebrities tasting Uber Eats-delivered items that weren't food, Khosrowshahi's declaration points to how the company that started with ridesharing sees its role in ecommerce. With the ad campaign, the company is testing whether to keep the Uber Eats name for its delivery division even though it has more, but indications so far are that the Uber Eats brand will remain, Khosrowshahi said.
After all, it's clear that food will still play a big role. When it comes to groceries, Khosrowshahi said that "rapid delivery should be a part of every local grocery player's offerings," adding that the company believes it can be set up in a "capital light way."
The company also made a move toward adding convenience options on Tuesday, as it announced a global partnership with BP that aims to make 3,000 of the company's retail locations available on Uber's delivery platform over the next three years to provide items from the stores. It's about
It comes as delivery of groceries and convenience items is picking up on a variety of platforms. DoorDash and Grubhub are making moves, while goPuff built a business on delivering convenience items. Instacart, Whole Foods and others deliver groceries.
For its part, Uber believes that being able to bring together rides, food and retail items will create a flywheel effect.
"We are going to build that local operating system for every day life," Khosrowshahi said. Logistics technology made available to retailers will be a key component.
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Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.