Online Retail

The NZ Herald ran an article this week about the The Warehouse’s new online site (I would include a link to the site, but it’s not actually live yet).

I was interested in the list of online retailers that was included at the bottom:

All four are traditional retailers.  While all four sites are okay, none of them really feel like online natives – for reasons I can’t explain all include banner like advertising (promoting their own sales and the like), and all prominently include a “Locate a store” feature.

I doubt that online sales are contribute significantly to the bottom line of any of them (if I’m wrong about that I’m happy to be corrected).

If you didn’t click the link, here are some quotes from retail analyst Tim Morris, of Coriolis Research from the article:

“Internet retailing in New Zealand is behind where it is in other countries, and that’s got nothing to do, I think, with the innate willingness of New Zealanders to buy things online. I think where it falls over is in the execution.”

“There’s really not a lot of good models in New Zealand for New Zealand-based companies doing everything right, especially as you get closer and closer to moving real things, not just nominal things like airline tickets.”

He’s right about Air New Zealand.  They kick ass, with a top-ten site.  While none of the four sites listed above are listed in Neilsen’s ratings.

But what about the pure online retailers?  We have them in NZ too, right?

I’m much more likely to buy from Ascent (Computer hardware and software), Fishpond (Books, DVDs and Music) or Mr. Vintage (T-shirts etc) than any of those stores listed above,

My guess is that there are some really successful small/medium business selling new stuff online, not the least because they don’t have to pay high street rents, but the reporter from the Herald probably hasn’t heard of any of them.

So, let’s make a list.  Where do you love shopping for new goods online?  I’m looking for New Zealand based retailers only.  Add your suggestions in the comments below or flick me an email and if I get enough responses I’ll publish a list of the best ones in a future post (if you post about your own business I’d appreciate it if you could identify yourself as the owner etc).

Disclaimer: I am indirectly a shareholder in Fishpond.

23 thoughts on “Online Retail”

  1. The team at GP Store do a really great job. If you order any of their 10,000 odd in-stock items you get it the next business day. They have many happy customers which is probably why they’ve won Best Shopping Site at the Web Awards the last couple of years in a row. Disclaimer: I know the GP Store team well so I’m probably a bit bias…but it doesn’t mean I’m not right :P

  2. I’m a regular shopper on Torpedo7 ( – they sell lots of cycling and other sports gear. I believe they’re either in the top 10 of shopping sites, or very close.

    Then there’s the collection of “random products” websites that sell a very small set of products (eg: 3) that change every day:

    Also, I love the price comparison websites, which used to be “techo stuff” only, but now cater to a more mainstream audience:

    I love internet shopping!


  3. Torpedo7 is by far the best online retailer in NZ. They started out selling just bike gear but have branched out into other action/outdoor sports too. They also run the 1-day site and have also partnered with NZO Active to allow NZO to use their online store and backend infrastructure. Their delivery is always overnight and their customer support is awesome. I predict they will become NZ’s own version of Amazon in the future.

    Disclaimer: I don’t own shares in Torpedo7 but I wish I did!

  4. Isn’t it great to be able to buy the best gear in the world for our own particular past times at intl prices and arrange immediate delivery. My personal favourites are currently in the fly-fishing sphere eg I’m now buying my flies from Trade Me at half the price of the hunting and fishing stores, from the same tiers. Thinking about life before online shopping is akin to life before EFTPOS.

  5. AirNZ is pretty good, although they don’t support Safari (“because not many people who visit the site use it” – maybe because it doesn’t work?) I wonder if that will change as iPhones become more common…

  6. @Emily – Really? I’ve used AirNZ’s site with Safari 3 a number of times now without any issues…

  7. I think the folks at Ponoko do a jolly good job: and,, are very sweet sites filled with Kiwi-made loveliness.
    I also poottle around on and
    (As an anal retentive usability bod, I’d love to make a few wee changes here and there from a UX standpoint. However those are all sites I visit, have not yet yelled at for inflicting pain upon me and thus who I think deserve a thumbs up.)

  8. I agree with Tim Morris’ comments above. We build websites specifically for retailers and I come across retailers all the time who still think that a cheap, poorly designed website will ‘magically’ get them sales. Most retailers do not understand the sales process on the web and therefore can’t seel the value in investing in a quality site that reflects buyer behaviour. The good ones, though, are winning, especially in niche markets.

  9. It is interesting to read the different views of NZ e-commerce,we have been succesfully selling quality Branded Outdoor products online for the past 5 years, check us out at, we are now on to our 3rd generation site and although pleased with it’s progress we welcome any and all suggestions, so if anyone thinks there is something that we can improve on or would be a benefit to the site then please feel free to let us know,

    Disclaimer, I am the Owner and Director of Outdoor Action

  10. I also have been very impressed with I have been using them for two years now and they are my top fave for online shopping in NZ.

    I really like how they say no to parallel imports and only go for trusted names (brands). At the end of the day, I can get a brand new item with a warranty from for the same price someone is selling it on Trade Me second hand. So poor Trade Me who were at the top of my list are now sadly number two, well probably number three as I use so much.

    A crazy online shopper – I wish I had shares in a number of top online sites in NZ.

  11. Know this is a bit late but just found this blog. We just launched an online store/magazine. We hunt out, tell the stories of and sell the products of the cleverest emerging artists, designers and all manner of creative Kiwis from every wee nook and cranny of Aotearoa New Zealand… let us know what you think…

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