Investors in Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) have endured a pretty volatile number of years. And despite a few high points throughout 2021, shares of the retail giant are still only worth about half of what they were five years ago.

But it's not just shareholders who have to worry about Bed Bath & Beyond. If the shopping center mainstay continues on a downward path, it could have a brutal impact on real estate investors.

Thankfully, Bed Bath & Beyond is taking steps to remain relevant and competitive. Recently, it announced a partnership with Uber (NYSE:UBER) to deliver baby essentials to desperate parents in need. And if it's able to tackle that corner of the market, the company's outlook could change in a very positive way going into 2022.

Baby lying down having diaper changed.

Image source: Getty Images.

A niche market worth pursuing

Parents of babies are perpetually frazzled and sleep-deprived, so the idea of having to leave the house for supplies can be daunting.

Enter Bed Bath & Beyond. Now, the retail giant is teaming up with Uber to launch a kids vertical on the Uber Eats app. Customers will have the option to order a wide range of products, from diapers to wipes to first aid supplies, and have them delivered on demand.

While Bed Bath & Beyond has more 750 namesake stores throughout the U.S., its buybuy BABY stores are more limited and spread out, with only about 120 locations nationally. And so parents with limited access to those stores may prefer to have baby supplies delivered, especially given Bed Bath & Beyond's competitive price point.

A good way to stay in the game

Bed Bath & Beyond has long paled in comparison to retailers like Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) on the shipping and delivery front. Both big-box giants upped their game in response to the pandemic, offering a range of options designed to support online orders. These include same-day shipping, expedited shipping, and BOPIS, or buy online, pick up in store.

To remain competitive within the infant care space, Bed Bath & Beyond needs to offer consumers a comparable level of speed and convenience. And its partnership with Uber could be the ticket to generating added revenue from a notably needy audience.

Great news for real estate

Given the number of store closures that have ensued in the course of the pandemic, the last thing real estate investors can afford is to lose a large player like Bed Bath & Beyond that tends to serve as a shopping center anchor tenant. If Bed Bath & Beyond's latest venture takes off, it could secure its spot as a long-term tenant, leaving commercial landlords with less to worry about.

In addition to its Uber partnership, Bed Bath & Beyond is teaming up with supermarket giant Kroger (NYSE:KR) to offer some of its products at select grocery stores and on Kroger.com.

All told, it's clear that Bed Bath & Beyond recognizes the need to branch out if it wants to remain a viable player in the retail space for many years to come.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.