- Uber Eats launched a Stories function to help merchants engage with in-app customers, per an announcement. In addition, restaurants will be able to integrate their Instagram accounts into Uber Eats.
- Uber Eats Merchant Stories allows owner-operators to upload images and add text to update customers about deals, menu changes, new services or seasonal promotions. In early tests, 13% of users who clicked through a restaurant's Stories placed an order in the same session.
- The addition of a Stories feature in Uber Eats follows similar moves by apps including Twitter and Spotify to capitalize on interest in the format, which was popularized by Snapchat years ago before being copied by Instagram.
Uber Eats is the latest app to add Stories functionality to increase engagement with consumers, especially younger ones that have helped to popularize the feature that temporarily strings together photos and video. Instagram and Snapchat claim that 500 million and 249 million daily active users, respectively, use the feature. In kind, Twitter last year launched the similar Fleets function, while Spotify in January allowed influencers to test a Stories feature.
The function could make Uber Eats more attractive to both consumers and merchants amid a delivery app landscape — which also includes Grubhub and DoorDash — that has become more popular as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact in-person dining. Delivery continues to buoy parent company Uber, with delivery bookings up 130% from a year ago and mobility bookings down 50% in the same period, per the company's Q4 2020 earnings report.
The rollout of Uber Eats Merchant Stories and the integration with Instagram are low-lift moves that Uber Eats can do to boost the restaurant industry that has become critical to its parent company's success. Uber in February launched Eat Local, a $20 million program to support independent restaurants during the pandemic, as part of a campaign that included its first Super Bowl commercial.