Uber launches drug store delivery service

August 19, 2014: 11:39 AM ET
uber store
Wet wipes, STAT!
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Uber wants to be more than just a taxi service. Now it's trying to be your drug store, too.

The taxi app company introduced a trial service Tuesday offering on-demand delivery of medicine, toiletries and other drug store products. Uber is testing the new feature, known as "Uber Corner Store," over the next few weeks in parts of Washington, DC.

"[T]he more you love it, the more likely it will last," the company, which recently completed a funding round valuing it at $18.2 billion, said in a blog post.

The service works like this: after toggling to the "Corner Store" option in the Uber app and requesting a driver, Uber sends you a text message with a link to a list of items available for purchase. An Uber driver then calls you to take your order, and upon delivery, the purchase is charged to your Uber account.

The announcement is the latest attempt by Uber to expand beyond personal transportation. It introduced a courier service in Manhattan earlier this year, and has experimented with deliveries of other items like flowers, ice cream and Christmas trees.

Inside Uber's billions

"We're in the business of delivering cars in five minutes. And once you can deliver cars in five minutes, there's a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes," Uber founder Travis Kalanick told CNNMoney in December.

But competition is growing in the same-day delivery market.

Related: Uber accused of bombarding rival Lyft with fake ride requests

Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Google (GOOG) have already introduced same-day delivery in select cities for groceries, household products and a variety of other items. There's also a variety of smaller services like Fresh Direct, WunWun and Postmates, and of course many pharmacies have been offering home delivery since before anyone knew what a cell phone was.

All that means Uber's newest experiment faces a challenging road ahead.

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