Uber and Oracle are partnering to enable the thousands of retailers and other brands that run on Oracle Retail applications to use the Uber Direct on-demand shipping platform to facilitate hassle-free product deliveries and returns.
Under the joint service, called Collect and Receive, these Oracle customers can now seamlessly introduce on-demand delivery services integrated with their ecommerce, point-of-sale, procurement, customer relationship management, merchandising, inventory planning, distribution, and restocking systems.
“What’s exciting is not only Oracle’s global footprint and their technological prowess, but also specifically where they sit within the ecosystem of technology for retailers.”
This capability empowers retailers to easily ship their products—everything from food to paper towels to luxury watches—directly to or from customers at the time and place of their choosing. And they can do so without handing off those processes to a third party, letting them retain control, keep expenses in check, and track their transactions over the entire sales cycle.
“We know retail processes. We know placement of inventory and distribution standards,” notes Patrick Bohannon, Oracle Retail vice president. “So it’s only natural that we join forces with Uber to close this gap, this blind spot, in the supply chain.”
Collect and Receive reimagines retail sales as an ongoing engagement with the customer, one where there’s a continual cadence of delivery, return, and exchange, Bohannon says.
“This solution is going to become highly disruptive in retail distribution,” he says. “Tens of thousands of stores just in the US are managed using Oracle Retail. Considering those numbers, it makes for a pretty powerful relationship.”
During a main stage discussion with Oracle CEO Safra Catz at Oracle CloudWorld on September 19, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Collect and Receive is one of his company’s most-exciting new initiatives, one that can allow a corner store to “out-Amazon Amazon.”
“The local retailer that’s powered by Oracle Retail systems now can plug into Uber Direct to offer on-demand delivery and even on-demand returns,” Khosrowshahi said. “If something doesn’t work out, we can have a courier come and pick up your return and take it back to the store. All of it is powered through Oracle technology and Uber technology and logistics.”
While 3,500 brands already use Uber Direct to deliver their products, “we want that same delight to come to every single local retailer,” Khosrowshahi said at the event. “We have taken that logistics ecosystem, separated it from our mainline stack, and we’re providing it to retailers around the world.”
The Collect and Receive partnership with Uber Direct comes on the heels of a seven-year deal under which Uber is migrating some of their most critical workloads to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).
“When you look at our growth this year and going into next year, 100% of our growth in compute is going to come on Oracle Cloud,” Khosrowshahi said. “And that allows you to scale the right way, make sure that your unit economics stay predictable, stay exactly as you want as you grow. As a result, Oracle has been a big, big part of our transformation, to grow but to grow profitably as well.”
Buck Teal, Uber’s head of enterprise business development, says the relationship Uber has built with Oracle on the foundation of OCI “created the right context for both companies to be very open with each other. That allows us to explore and experiment much faster than in a traditional context.”
Collect and Receive, Teal says, introduces a set of capabilities that historically have not been available to retailers. “It allows us to partner with retailers around their actual inventory control, which gives them added flexibility around customer experience, and then cost control and store operations,” he says.
In that way, the evolving alliance is powering Uber’s transformation into a comprehensive transportation platform that can “support every trip on the planet,” whether it involves people, food, or merchandise, Teal says.
More joint innovation is still to come. With Oracle as a technology partner, Uber could develop new types of transportation and delivery services, such as for moving workers or inventory between stores, that drive greater retail operational efficiency.
“What’s exciting is not only Oracle’s global footprint and their technological prowess but also specifically where they sit within the ecosystem of technology for retailers,” Teal says.
Oracle products, with built-in AI and machine learning features, help fashion retailers deliver an efficient shopping experience that meets consumers' needs.
Retail analytics can involve analyzing customer behavior, tracking inventory levels, measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and more.