Co-op Group announces delivery partnership with Uber Direct

The move is part of a wider retail sector trend for working with tech platforms, which prompted discussion at the recent UKSCS conference

The Co-op Group has announced the expansion of its online shop,, through a new partnership with Uber Direct, offering grocery deliveries through Uber Eats.

It is the latest of several strategic partnerships used by the Group to grow its e-commerce business. The trial with Uber Direct will initially enable an additional 50 Co-op stores to offer online home delivery, with the retail society looking to grow the reach of its online shop to around 1,000 stores by the end of the year.

The Group wants to accelerate its share of the quick commerce market to more than 30%, and has already entered partnerships with online home delivery platforms including Uber Eat, through which customers can order goods from nearly 1,100 stores. It has been estimated that more than 80% of the UK population now has access to its products through its online shop or the delivery platforms it partners with.

Chris Conway, the Group’s eCommerce Director, said: “We have ambitious goals for the continued growth of our e-commerce business, and know that our member-owners and customers value the ease and convenience of quick and convenient online home delivery. Innovation and effective partnerships are a fundamental part of our approach as we grow the reach of our online shop and our work with strategic partners – offering our member-owners and customers in more communities an extensive range of groceries on-demand from Co-op’s stores locally.”

Caroline Varga, head of Uber Direct, said: “We’re proud to work with Co-op to build on its relationship with Uber, and support its work to grow its online delivery service to its member-owners and customers. Our shared focus on speed, reliability and convenience supports Co-op’s growth ambitions to offer food and drink on-demand from more of its stores via Co-op’s own website or app.”

In addition to the Group’s online shop, groceries are available from stores through Amazon; Deliveroo; Just Eat; Uber Eats; and autonomous robot deliveries via Starship Technologies. Last month the Group announced trials with Snappy Shopper – already a partner to several retail co-ops – in Northern Ireland.

Related: A marriage of convenience? Retail co-op turn to business partners to drive growth

Snappy Shopper is not the only example of the retail co-op sector seeking delivery partners to grow its online reach. For instance, at the end of last year, East of England Co-op launched a delivery app and partnership with Just Eat.

Such moves have prompted discussion in the wider co-op movement, where there has been opposition to tech giants such as Uber, Deliveroo and Amazon. The platform co-op model has been touted as a worker-led alternative. However, as Rob Harrison, director of Ethical Consumer, told Co-op News last year, these established platforms “offer scale and affordability”.

At last week’s UK Society for Co-operative Studies Conference, held at Central Co-op’s Lichfield HQ, Central CEO Debbie Robinson was quizzed by delegates about her society’s choice of delivery partners.

Co-op consultant Alex Bird asked why Central had partnered with Deliveroo and Uber instead of developing a bicycle delivery platform co-op along the lines of Europe’s CoopCycle.

Robinson was sympathetic and said the society had run its own delivery scheme during lockdown but added there were issues of cost, with society losing money on its Snappy Shopper partnership before turning to Deliveroo and Uber, which “break even for us – and there’s a lot of evidence those channels have brought young people into our stores.”

Central director Tanya Noon added: “I like the French bicycle co-op model, I would like to investigate it – working with other co-ops not just on our own. If we can’t do it successfully we can support some local people who can.”