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Kathmandu offers same-day delivery from Melbourne stores, which remain open despite lockdown

Kathmandu has teamed up with Uber to launch a same-day delivery service as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in some parts of Australia and consumers change the way they shop in an effort avoid crowded spaces.

The delivery service will enable customers to order products online by 3pm and have them delivered to their door that same day.

The service is currently available for customers in a 10km radius of Kathmandu stores in the Melbourne CBD and the suburbs of Blackburn, Frankston and Richmond, as well as Geelong, but it will be rolled out nationally over the coming months.

The stores supporting same-day delivery at launch are all located in metropolitan Melbourne, where stage 3 restrictions went back into effect on July after Covid-19 cases started to rise again a few weeks after the first lockdown was lifted.

Under stage 3 restrictions, residents may only leave home for four essential reasons: to buy food and other essential items, provide care or receive medical treatment, exercise and work or study if unable to do so remotely.

Shopping for apparel, even the outdoor items Kathmandu offers, does not seem to fall under any of these four reasons, but most businesses are not required to close, according to the Victorian government.

Only restaurants, cafes, pubs, beauty salons (excluding hair salons), gyms and cinemas, must either close or return to takeaway and delivery service only.

This was also the case during the national lockdown in April and early May, but hundreds of retailers, including Kathmandu, still chose to close their doors, mostly citing concern over the health and safety of their staff and customers.

Only some of those retailers have closed their Melbourne stores for the second lockdown. Kathmandu has not.

Inside Retail asked Kathmandu whether the partnership with Uber was due to a dip foot traffic in stores where stage 3 restrictions apply but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

Customer first

The partnership is the first initiative from Kathmandu’s new chief customer officer Eva Barrett, who is the first person to hold the role at the outdoor retailer.

Eva Barrett, Kathmandu’s new CCO

She linked the initiative to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that online delivery has become increasingly popular with customers.

“Our [bricks-and-mortar] stores will continue to offer personalised experiences and expertise for customers, but same-day delivery via Uber gives Australian’s more flexibility, especially during these uncertain times,” she said in a media release.

“If there’s a cold snap and you urgently need a puffer jacket we’ll have you covered.”

Uber facilitates same-day delivery for other retailers, such as Woolworths and Petbarn, but Kathmandu says it is the first apparel brand to partner with the rideshare company.

Global expertise

Barrett was previously global head of brand communications and sports marketing for Adidas’ Heartbeat Sports division, a business unit that included golf, tennis and other regional sports. Prior to that, she held global brand roles at health technology company Philips and drinks group Fosters.

Kathmandu CEO Reuben Casey said her appointment would help accelerate the transition from an Australasian retailer to a global brand.

“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, customer centricity will be more important than ever, and to compete, brands will need to predict and respond to consumer expectations with more accuracy and efficiency than ever,” Casey said.

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