Uber puts a shopping experience in cars for riders to buy AirPods, Amazon Echos and more

Key Points
  • Uber launches a shopping app with Cargo, an on-the-go convenience store.
  • Riders will be able to shop from the app during Uber trips, where Cargo consoles are already installed.
Starting on Wednesday, Uber riders in cars with Cargo consoles already installed will be able to download the new Cargo app to make purchases on items that include travel accessories, movies and trendy tech gear.
Source: Uber

The next time you're sitting in an Uber on the way to the airport, wishing you had better luggage or had thought to download a movie to your phone, you'll be able to do just that.

Uber on Wednesday announced the launch of a new shopping app with Cargo, a start-up that aims to be an on-the-go convenience store.

About a year ago, Cargo struck a deal with Uber to become the ride-sharing service's exclusive, in-car commerce provider globally. They have already been working to put consoles selling snacks into cars — about 30,000 Uber drivers in 10 U.S. cities have them.

Now, they're rolling out the Cargo app, which will be curated with Uber's help to sell items like the Amazon Echo, Apple AirPods, Away Luggage, Glossier make-up and Oculus Go devices, Neal Watterson, the head of guest products at Uber, said in a blog post.

Here's how it will work:

Uber riders in cars with Cargo consoles will now be able to download the app to make purchases on items that include travel accessories, movies and trendy tech gear. More brands will be added over time, and more drivers are adding the boxes to their cars.

By buying something, customers will also receive an extra 10% back in Uber Cash, which can be redeemed on future rides or on future Cargo purchases.

The Cargo app will work only during an Uber trip. After a purchase is complete, Cargo will ship items directly to a rider's home, free of charge, Watterson said. The items should arrive within two to five business days.

The Cargo app will also include in-ride entertainment via a partnership with Universal Studios, selling movies for $5 and $10 apiece, or in bundles for $15 and $20. Watterson said they're doing this because many people taking Uber trips are riding longer distances to and from airports.

The move shows the company is trying to make the riding experience more appealing over its competitors like Lyft and Via. It's also another way for drivers to make money if they have Cargo boxes installed — drivers make $1 per purchase and pocket 25% of the cost of each item sold via the app. The upstart brands, like Glossier and Away, that end up on the Cargo app are also likely to gain more exposure.

Uber has equity in Cargo but declined to comment on the amount. Cargo has raised nearly $30 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Uber went public on May 10, when the stock started trading at $42. Its shares are up about 4.9% since then.

Disclosure: Universal Studios and CNBC are owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal unit.