The battlefield for owning your time spent in apps continues to play out via messaging apps. Facebook announced today that users in the US are now able to order delivery and takeout via its app. Facebook also enables you to check the weather, connect with friends, send money, play instant games and more. Why would you ever need to leave?
The new feature is made possible through partnerships with delivery apps such as DoorDash, EatStreet and more, in addition to direct partnerships with franchises such as Chipotle and TGI Friday's. While you must have a Delivery.com account to order, you can easily create one within the Facebook app.
Food delivery app consolidation
I know GrubHub has a strong user base in the US, but UberEATS is my pick to be the worldwide leader in food delivery. Think about it: Uber already has a global network of drivers set up. It can very easily launch the EATS business in any country it already operates in.
The service is already live in 100 cities across every continent that isn't made of polar ice. People are already used to the simple user experience that Uber provides and judging by the company's growth, we all like it.
With a plethora of delivery options in the app stores, serious consolidation is far from a controversial prediction and we've already seen it happening with GrubHub snatching up Seamless, Yelp's Eat24, Foodler and more. While Facebook's partner list is nothing to sneeze at, it is lacking the big players in GrubHub, UberEATS and Postmates. That's probably because these brands are too big to agree to be white-labeled by something they could perceive as a threat rather than a partner.
It's all about multipurpose messaging apps
But for Facebook, this move is not necessarily about owning the food delivery market, and might not even be about monetizing from its food delivery partnerships. It's about selling to its advertisers and publishers that its users spend an incredible amount of time in its app on a daily basis.
Why leave Facebook to order from Papa John's or DoorDash? Just tap the explore menu on the righthand side. Heck, it's so useful maybe you can even save some space on your phone and delete your old useless food delivery apps. App uninstalls is not something a public company like GrubHub wants its investors to see.
While iMessage is mostly emojis, it has grander plans to compete with Facebook's arsenal of messaging properties in Messenger and WhatsApp. I just did a quick spot check, and as I type this, it looks like the Foodler and GrubHub iMessage apps have limited functionality and ordering food is not live there yet.
There is more functionality with other iMessage apps such as Square's Cash App that enables me to send a friend money but there is no doubt that Apple is gunning for full functionality of these apps soon. Like Facebook, Apple's goal is to increase time spent in-app through added functionality.
It will become increasingly fun to watch partnerships and acquisitions happen across not only the food delivery space but the app economy in general. As always, if you have any questions or want to strike up conversation about anything app-related, shoot me a tweet.