Yesterday, Postmates launched a new feature called Postmates Party, which lets customers in the same vicinity opt to share drivers and in return get food delivered for free.
As TechCrunch pointed out, the feature is a lot like Uber’s POOL feature. Postmates Party lets you see where others in your neighborhood are ordering from at that exact moment and essentially piggyback off those orders. Postmates waives the delivery fee and any peak time pricing when you order from those restaurants at that time.
There is a five-minute window from the time you select Party to the time you must checkout in order to get the free delivery:
The feature is clearly aimed at price-conscious customers who might not want to pay a delivery fee for every single order they place via Postmates, and it’s one of many new ways third-party delivery services are trying to stand out in the competition and also retain customers. Those moves include ghost kitchens from Uber Eats, DoorDash testing out self-driving cars, and Postmates experimenting with a delivery rover that looks like Minion.
Big moves and technologies like those above are great, and may even be necessary. But what’s interesting about Postmates Party is that it’s a small addition to the service that offers a solution to a big problem: fees. A Technomic forecast that explored off-premises restaurant trends recently honed in on per-delivery fees with third-party services as a barrier to consumer adoption. While the forecast was specifically talking about subscription models (another appealing new feature of most services), pooling orders with nearby strangers is appealing because it requires no additional steps from the customer, so long as they get that order in within the five-minute window Postmates has provided.
For Postmates, the feature could also streamline its operations a bit because it can cluster orders in the same neighborhoods and save on how many drivers it has to pay, how many trips those drivers take, etc.
Interestingly, Postmates unrolled the feature just as Uber Eats came under fire for a confusing new pricing structure that has Reddit users the world over calling bullshit on the service for actually marking prices up.
Also this week, CNBC reported that Grubhub is losing customer retention and, according to analysts, “will have to add three times as many new diners in the third quarter of this year compared to 2018 to make up for expected churn.”
While we don’t have any numbers yet on how Postmates’ new Party feature is performing, the service may be wise to focus its efforts on iterative changes to its app that cost the customer nothing (in terms of both money and time) and might even make the service more efficient in some places.
Postmates Party is currently only available in select U.S. cities: NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco, Long Beach, CA, Miami, San Diego, Seattle, Orange County, CA, and Philadelphia.