Would You Like to Buy a Snack? Cargo App Creates “Mobile Retail Space” in Ride Sharing Vehicles

As a car dealer, you may find yourself spending a lot of time explaining to would-be customers what you can offer them that using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft can’t. Obviously, the list is long. But the ride-sharing services may now have an advantage: providing riders with snacks and other consumer goods.

New York-based startup Cargo provides a platform and supplies for drivers of Uber, Lyft and Via to sell retail items such as snacks to their riders. Cargo partners with consumer goods brands for products such as electronics (think: a new USB cables), personal care products (use your imagination) and candy and snacks. The company provides participating ride-sharing service drivers with a clear display case of all products that are available, so riders can see their options. Once they choose (“a Twix bar and a toothbrush, please”), riders pay using PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, or their credit card through Cargo’s mobile web site. Riders use a unique code to ensure that payment for the goods goes to the right driver, and Cargo automatically sends new stock once a month.

“We’re spending so much time in ride sharing vehicles,” Cargo CEO, Jeff Cripe told The Spoon. “Part of what we wanted to do was innovate on that service and give people a more connected experience.”

Cargo, founded in 2016, began last summer as a pilot program in New York and Boston. The company later added Chicago and Dallas and launched a program in Minneapolis this month, and has built an international partnership in Singapore with ride share company Grab. Since its launch, the company says it has already sold more than one million products in ride share vehicles.

With the ride sharing industry estimated to be worth $285 billion market by 2030 – in a nation of insatiable consumers – Cargo thinks that it’s got a winning business premise with in-car commerce. Ride sharing drivers who participate receive 25 percent of retail sales, plus $1.00 per order. Cargo has estimated that drivers who put in the effort can earn an additional $1,500 to $3,000 per year from offering goods for purchase. In addition, drivers can earn more in the form of “referral bonuses” to other drivers.