I hope you like talking to your Uber driver, because things could be getting a lot chattier during rides soon. Geostellar, an online marketplace for solar panels, is testing an unusual sales tactic by enlisting Uber and Lyft drivers to sell panels to riders.
Geostellar has already enlisted about 50 drivers in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Dallas, and Miami, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Drivers who are participating in the scheme can reportedly make about $1,000 per sale of solar systems (which cost $18,000 on average). Drivers have made about 220 sales since June according to WSJ.
This isn’t the first time a company has tried to piggyback off of Uber’s success by using drivers rides as a sales team. In 2015, Viewswagon tried to get Uber drivers to display ads in their car with a a tablet. The company said drivers could make about $3 per hour by displaying the ads, according to a Business Insider report. Uber provided this statement to BI:
It is Uber’s goal to make the rider experience as smooth and comfortable as possible. We don’t believe that in-ride advertising enhances the ride experience, and we discourage driver partners from working with third party in-ride advertisers such as Viewswagen. Also, it’s important to note that Uber is not affiliated with any in-ride advertising company in any way, and we are not providing information about riders or drivers. That said, this Uber representative was mistaken, and these actions haven’t resulted in driver partner deactivation.
We’ve reached out to Uber for comment on the increasing popularity of this sales tactic and will update this post as soon as we hear back.