The Retail Hotlist: Uber Eats pulled off the 'Hottest ecommerce launch'

  • News
  • August 8, 2018
  • Caitlin Salter
The Retail Hotlist: Uber Eats pulled off the 'Hottest ecommerce launch'
Nominees: Zara, Kmart, Freedom Furniture, Society NZ, Ines, Bambi Boutique, Plate Up, Catch of the Day, Uber Eats.

People’s choice
Freedom Furniture

Judges’ choice
Uber Eats

Arguably one of the most popular launches of 2017, the Uber Eats mobile app gained mass approval almost instantly. With consumers using it heavily within the first day of its launch, Uber Eats’ launch was an almost instant way of life, providing consumers with a much-desired convenience of never having to leave the house for food again.

The app has a strong grip on the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch regions already, and the company launched in Tauranga and Dunedin in May. Uber Eats now boasts 400,000 users in New Zealand, and 5000 drivers.

App giant Uber Eats operates in more than 200 cities around the world, launching in each city by embracing the best cuisines available. The same approach was taken when the company launched in Auckland just over a year ago and delivering local favourites such as Madam Woo and Best Ugly Bagels resonated with users immediately.

Uber Eats spokeswoman Nicky Preston says New Zealanders have taken to Uber Eats like ducks to water.

“Part of what makes the Uber Eats platform so exciting in New Zealand is the sheer variety of different foods available. We’re a multicultural nation and this really shines through in the range of cuisines. Whether you’re looking for Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Mexican or Japanese, you can get it.”

With the recent launches in Tauranga and Dunedin, Uber Eats now operates in six New Zealand cities: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. The company boasts partnerships with more than 700 New Zealand eateries. When entering new markets, Uber Eats utilises local influencers to ramp up activity on the app. Its parent ridesharing app, Uber is also launching in Dunedin and Queenstown in June.

After rapid growth over such a short period of time in New Zealand, Preston says Uber Eats is now focused on improving the user experience in the current markets, rather than expand to new locations.

She says one of the biggest benefits of Uber Eats expanding so quickly in New Zealand is the opportunities for people to get a flexible income source as a driver - many of whom are already working for the ridesharing app.

“We have a fantastic network of delivery-partners across the country, from Uber driver-partners who also deliver food, to bicycle couriers who tell us that Uber Eats allows them to earn money while exercising.”

Uber Eats drivers are not employed by the participating restaurants or Uber. The customer pays a $5.99 to $7.99 service fee and Uber Eats charges a standard commission rate of 35 percent.

The average delivery time is generally 30 minutes, shorter than some restaurants make patrons wait for food, and Uber Eats customers don’t even have to leave the house.

“We hope to complement traditional restaurant experiences, as Uber Eats provides a new way for customers to access a wide variety of quality food at any time of the day. Restaurant partners often tell us that Uber Eats gives their customers additional ways to access the food they love, whether they are entertaining or enjoying a solo meal at home.”

Judges’ comments from Sarah Dunn: Like Uber before it, Uber Eats has swiftly and seemingly effortlessly changed a huge number of Kiwi consumers’ behaviour. Dozens of businesses have risen up to serve it, grown rapidly off the back of demand for it, and in some cases struggled in competition against it. There’s been no bigger new influence on the market this year.

A special mention goes out to Kmart for the sheer social media frenzy generated by its ecommerce launch – it turns out accessing Kmart online is a real boon for busy mums, people based in the regions, and other shoppers unable to regularly get into its stores.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 756 June/July 2018

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