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In association with Gem

Vote now for The Retail Hotlist

In this challenging retail environment, we think it’s time to celebrate the creativity and inspiration that drives New Zealand’s hottest retailers. With the help of our friends at Gem, powered by Latitude, we’ve combed the retail landscape for every spark of innovation and grouped them together in the upcoming issue of NZ Retail and online. Can you help us decide which of our retail finalists will be voted into The Retail Hotlist?

By The Register team | May 8, 2018 | News




Bricks and mortar

Hottest in-store experience

Sabato:

Providing traditional food from Italy, Spain and France, Auckland store Sabato is a step into the European food scene. Sabato has been first to introduce many key ingredients to the New Zealand market, while constantly making new additions to its range.

The store, both physical and online, has an amazing range of traditional ready to eat and prepared items. As well as providing the ingredients, Sabato will also show shoppers how to best use them – with cooking classes, cheese and wine evenings, and market days.

Evo Cycles:

Evolution Cycles has New Zealand's biggest range of bikes, and when it comes to bikes they are the experts. The store offers over 250 different styles and types of bike, with experts around to give shoppers on-the-spot advice for any questions. With seven stores across the country, Evo Cycles also offers a wide range of accessories and clothing for bike enthusiasts.

Moore Wilson’s:

Wellington gourmet grocer Moore Wilson’s is renowned for stocking a staggering selection of food from around New Zealand and overseas. It is the go-to place for everything from freeze-dried pineapple powder to Malaysian cooking caramel Karamel Makasan.

The store sells a large selection of bulk foods, as well as finer artisanal products. The multi-storied building also stocks products such as bulk glassware and crockery for the hospitality trade.

A fourth-generation family-run business, Moore Wilson’s offers an array of options from locally produced artisan chocolates, cheeses and other specialist goods to rotisserie chicken, freshly squeezed orange juice, cut flowers and fresh baked bread.

Caughley:

Caughley is a Wellington-based boutique offering apparel and accessories from around the world. It inhabits a sunny double-storey black building in the heart of Wellington's Ghuznee Quarter. The striking black shop front is a hint at what is inside; stylised, modern pieces.

Enthusiastic staff are on hand for help with their wide range of brands and new trends of the season. At Caughley, each brand has a strong and meaningful story, and is sourced directly from New Zealand and international designers.

Tea Pea:

Family-focused lifestyle brand Tea Pea is a curator of premium products with both a physical and online presence. Its design-lead stores hold a winning mix of sought-after brands and tactile goods of colour and quality.

Each day in Tea Pea is described as a jam-packed mix of the latest round velvet cushions, Icelandic sheepskins and rattan daybeds, football, princesses, and gifts. Whether customers are shopping in-store or online, they can expect friendly and knowledgeable staff to help and inspire.

Global Baby:

Global Baby prides itself on knowing its large range of products inside and out. The store is a wonderland of infant necessities, with keen on hand staff available to help with safety and instructions on all different products.

For baby gift ideas and occasions, the store offers advice and gift wrapping – all available in less than 10 minutes. The Newmarket location stocks everything from strollers and cribs, to the smaller items of gifts and clothing.

Smith and Caughey’s:

One of New Zealand’s brightest high-end department stores, Smith and Caughey is renowned for its personal approach and attention to detail. A high level of customer service remains its top priority and customer satisfaction is held in the highest regard. The store delivers on its promise of quality products from a select range of luxury brands

The dedication to ensuring a memorable customer experience, a sense of intimacy and the highest quality of goods on offer at Smith & Caughey’s allows the business to flourish.

Bello:

Luxury design store Bello is a gift and homeware store offering luxurious home accessories, glassware, jewellery, toys and premium fine gifts. Whether shoppers are buying a gift for a friend or choosing a piece for their own home, Bello offers a wide range of ideas, from Italian Carrara towels to Henry Dean glassware from Belgium.

77 Art + Living:

Described as offering textural delight, 77 Art + Living is an art gallery that sells an eclectic range of original art and objects, including, jewellery, ceramics, glass, photography and boutique fragrance. Owned by lovers of art, from an artistic background, those in the gallery are knowledgeable on each piece and how best to inspire those browsing the collections.

Little Red Fox:

Based in the small town of Fairlie, Little Red Fox is a fashion brand working at introducing new exciting brands as well as bringing the best from existing brands. With big brand names under its roof, including the likes of Minx, Ricochet, Superdry, Elwood, Love Knot War, Mons Royale, Garcia, Status Anxiety, and Quay Eyewear, the Little Red fox is a large player in a small pond.

McDonalds’:

McDonald’s is well known for its fast food, but the chain has recently increased its instore experience with new technology. Customers can now use touchscreens to create, order and pay for food exactly to their preference, making meals completely customisable without their having to even approach the register. Most stores have also been recently renovated to suit modern tastes.

Mecca Maxima

When you get customers lining up overnight for the opening of your store you can bet that there are high expectations to be met. Luckily for Kiwi make-up fans, luxury cosmetics company Mecca Maxima didn’t disappoint. Its sleek and classy Queen St store brings shoppers the brands they know and love with the help of full-time beauty experts.

Citta Design

Targeting every shopper demographic from seasoned interior designers to new homeowners, Citta Design has become the go-to for homewares and accessories. The company may be based in Auckland, but its understated Newmarket showroom and contemporary designs couldn’t be more Scandinavian in their classy simplicity.

Parker & Co.

When one brings to mind all things fashionable and classy, glasses aren’t often at the top of the list. Parker & Co.’s Newmarket boutique is here to change that. Whether customers wander in from the street or book a personal style session, the designer eyewear company’s simple showroom and expert staff help customers find the perfect frames for their style and budget.

Lush

You may have never been in one of the stores, but you’ll probably know its scent. The fragrance of its essential-oil-powered products combines together and drifts out of every store, luring shoppers in for hands-on demonstrations and skilful sales. The UK-owned cosmetics store has four market-style outlets in Auckland filled with stacks of every bath accessory imaginable, marked with hand-drawn chalkboard signs and of course, that unmistakable aroma.

Fresh Collective

In-house baristas, wine-tasting machines, butchers who prepare shoppers’ meat on the spot and a focus on fresh farmed produce? New World’s Fresh Collective stores are giving customers a lot to be excited about, with Mt Albert and Mairangi Bay outlets bringing the focus back to fresh, organic produce and healthy prepared meals.

The Wine Cave

With New Zealand’s strong international reputation for fine wine, some say it was only a matter of time before some savvy connoisseur opened up a specialist space devoted to high-end wine retail. Enter The Wine Cave, an underground bottle shop with a tasting area; multi-purpose warehouse space for functions; and an expert team of specialists to talk shoppers through their humble selection of 435 wines, 60 spirits and numerous craft beers. Of course, that’s not counting what’s hidden in the exclusive wine vault...

GoodFor

Health nuts, eco-warriors and hipsters alike were given something to celebrate this February when wholefood refillery, Goodfor, opened a second store in Parnell. New Zealand’s first upmarket zero plastic, bulk wholefoods store encourages customers to bring their own glass jars and paper-bags for purchases. Their enormous success proving that with a little zeitgeist and beautiful branding, even bulk-buying produce can be made cool.

Frankie Did It

Tucked into the base of the Southern Alps, children’s lifestyle boutique, Frankie Did It is most certainly worth a mention. Set up by mother and businesswomen Katrina Rodwell, the store has a focus on handmade and unique products, stocking over 37 small or parent-run brands from around New Zealand.

Barkers Chop Shop

Menswear retailer Barkers has decided to take the guesswork out of looking good for Newmarket shoppers with the opening of its ‘Chop Shop’. Situated on Nuffield St, customers can shop a range of suits and accessories, or book in for a tailored haircut and edgy cut-throat shave. Decked out with concrete floors, exposed ceilings and motorcycle helmets hanging on the walls, it nails the immersive ‘boys club’ experience from head to toe, and even serves whisky.  

The Department Store

If you take the traditional department store experience and modernise it, you’re probably pretty close to describing The Department Store. In 2009 fashion designer Karen Walker and Black Box Boutique retailer Dan Gosling wanted to create a single environment that brought together world’s best design, beauty and fashion in a collaborative and multi-dimensional way. Designed by the talented Katie Lockhart, the three levels bring shoppers a varied yet seamless experience lead by three key businesses, Karen Walker, Black Box and Stephen Marr, with dozens of smaller labels scattered in between. The Takapuna retailer managing to catch some international recognition back in 2010 after being featured in the exclusive international culture magazine ‘Monocle’.

Giapo

Ah, Giapo. After having an almost permanent line running out of it little Queen St store for seven years straight, Auckland’s infamous ice-cream parlour has moved to a bigger and better location. The sleek black and gold store brings customers the same unimaginable flavours and edible artworks with the added luxury of table service. Take a seat either indoor or outdoor, try to pick just one item from their menu, and the ice-cream is constructed out back before being brought right to you. With flavours like prawn cocktail, afghan cookie and giant squid, it’s not exactly your ordinary ice-cream shop.

T2

Shoppers might go into a T2 store for the free samples but they’ll stay for the sensory in-store experience. The chain of boutique tea stores offers a delicious and interactive environment where open tins of tea blends can be sniffed and compared by shoppers, and are grouped by flavour and scent on large tables. However, a great in-store experience is only as good as the staff, who, at T2 are taught an approach to customer engagement wittily named LEAF: learning about customer needs; exploring products with them; adding value through advice and samples; and forever making them want to return by signing them up to the loyalty program.

Unity Books

A bookshop seems like a pretty straightforward store experience, but the independently owned Unity Books makes finding that perfect novel feel all the more special. With two sister-stores in Wellington and Auckland, Unity Books is famous for having one of the best collections of obscure, interesting and unusual books in the country. Priding themselves on being ‘expert book hunters’, the passionate staff can probably find that book you’re looking for in-store, but if not, are dedicated to sourcing it from wherever they need to.

Hottest retail development

Commercial Bay

Already dubbed the future of downtown Auckland’s revitalisation, this Precinct Properties development will be home to a world class retail destination, with a laneway environment spread over three levels and 130 metres of Queen St retail.

Precinct expects around 100 new stores to open, alongside various restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s already released details about which retailers will be filling the tenancy, including local favourites and new-to-market internationals.

The first lot of retailers filling spaces in the area are the first-to-market Furla and Herschel Supply Co., as well as local favourites Superette and Rodd & Gunn. The latter will also launch its bespoke Lodge Bar and fashion concept, as seen in Queenstown.

Five Mile

Queentown's Five Mile retail development boasts arguably the best scenic backdrop in the business. The site is spread over 14,000 square metres and is home to retailers such as Briscoes, Warehouse Stationery and Number One Shoes.

Just finished with Stage One, the redevelopment has cost $130 million and will eventually accommodate 800 carparks, food and beverage sites, offices, apartments and a childcare centre. Australasian design firm The Buchan Group was behind the architecture, planning, interior and graphics of the site, which is located beside Queenstown Airport.

Stage two of the site will be anchored by The Warehouse and Noel Leeming, which will both have stores of 5000 and 1040 square metres. Look Sharp is also joining the fray, with a 715 square metre site for its first South Island store. The Five Mile Centre will take up 27,000 metres of commercial and retail upon completion.

Ponsonby Central

Ponsonby has long been home to many gastronomic institutions like SPQR and the Golden Dawn, where Auckland’s best and brightest gather for long lunches and late nights. But the hub of all this activity is without a doubt becoming the bustling Ponsonby Central complex. Whether you’re in the mood for burgers, steamed buns at the Blue Breeze Inn or produce at Ceres Fresh Market, the retail hotspot has become the go-to spot to eat, drink and spend merrily. With a 35,000sqm extension planned to double its size in May, Ponsonby Central is certainly one to watch.

Tauranga Crossing

When you live in a country as beautiful as ours, it seems a shame to design anything that doesn’t capitalise on our magnificent outdoors. So that’s exactly what the Bay of Plenty’s new one-stop shopping centre Tauranga Crossing has done. Wander through the large open-air town square, or grab a bite at one of the al fresco eateries - the large retail space is dedicated to creating a community feel for its Bay residents. April 2019 will see a two-story enclosed shopping centre with 90 speciality stores and an Event Cinemas also completed.

Britomart

A mix of the city’s oldest infrastructure and newest architecture, Britomart has gone from strength to strength under the ownership of the Britomart Group. Situated in the centre of downtown Auckland, the space is home to over 250 businesses, from boutique clothing stores to award-winning eateries and Saturday morning markets. Whether you’re spending a sunny afternoon on one of the lawn beanbags or wasting an evening wandering through the fairy-light draped Pavilions, Britomart offers shoppers many reasons to stay a while.

Eva St

Claimed to be the ‘world’s tastiest laneway’, Wellington’s more than ordinary Eva St has been transformed as part of the Wellington City Council’s plan to revive the city’s central lanes and arcades. Packed with eateries and specialty retailers like Wellington Chocolate Factory, Leeds Street Bakery and Fix & Fogg Peanut Buttery just to name a few, the little laneway has been the recipient of rave reviews following its $500,000 facelift. The installation of light shows, chandeliers and bubble machines may or may not have had something to do with that too…

The Grove

Turns out that the fancy new dining lane, The Grove, was just the beginning of Sylvia Park’s expansion plans. The supercenter will be home a two-story Farmers department store, new town square, signature dining pavilion and an extra 50 retailers to their existing 200. These expansions are expected to see Sylvia Park’s value exceed $1.1 billion by 2020. Something tells us that the 900 carparks it’s planning to add will be well used.

Westfield Newmarket

Aucklanders may be troubled by the closing of their beloved 277 Broadway shopping centre but their patience will be rewarded to the tune of NZ$990 million dollars. Westfield isn’t afraid to dream big as it begins construction on what it’s calling the next world-class retail and lifestyle destination: Westfield Newmarket. With over four and a half hectares to play with, the retail development will bring Newmarket 230 stores in 2019, including a new Farmers department store, Countdown supermarket and much-anticipated David Jones department store.

Hottest pop-up store

The Daily Edited:

Bespoke leather accessory chain, The Daily Edited, is known for providing customers with the chance to brand their initials on any item in its range. The pop-up found itself in Ponsonby and offered a wide range of products to their audience.

Shoppers were able to monogram their purchases on the day, making the pop-up inside high-end boutique The Shelter a popular destination for the single day it traded.

Made in Mexico:

Made is Mexico’s Morningside pop-up store was a collection of some of the best products in its range. Artisanal products from décor to homewares and gifts were available to purchase out of the garage-style location. Usually found over in Birkenhead, the pop-up store brought its themed goods central.

Ceramic skulls, floral crosses and no shortage of hand-painted products engulfed the small space, offering an extended range at a reasonable price point.

Nespresso:

Coffee distributor Nespresso has brought its classic pods to its multiple pop-up locations. Mostly found in busy shopping centres, Nespresso’s pop-up offered a wide selection of coffee for purchase as well as trials of its newest and preexisting machines.

Servers were on hand to offer advice and instructions on how to use the products, while some locations also provided shoppers with a hot coffee to showcase different styles and flavours.

Havaianas:

Havaiana flip-flopped into Britomart with its Customs street pop-up. The store hit at the start of summer, perfectly aimed at customers traveling to and from the nearby ferry terminal. The store included a range of summer essentials, from jandals, sunscreen, nail polish and inflatable pool toys.

The bright mix of jandals inside was enough to draw onlookers from the street, even just to browse the wide range.

Onceit:

Online designer clearance retailer Onceit brought its massive range to Newmarket this March. The pop-up was advertised as a stock clearance that lasted for one day only, creating a lot of hype around the items that would be on offer.

The retailer on the day offered deals on already discounted items, which included fashion beauty and homeware, with up to 90 percent off the original retail price. Spot prizes were also available on the day for lucky shoppers.

House of Vans:

Popular streetwear sneaker brand Vans supplied its dedicated following with a ßone-day pop up celebrating Vans’ unique culture through action sports, music, art and street culture at Auckland’s Shed 10.

The pop-up included musical performances, D.I.Y workshops, street markets and even a custom pop-up Vans Skate Park. Following that, the day also included tattoos and sneaker customisation from Two Hands Tattoos, barber cuts from Flash City, vinyl from Real Groovy Records and skate hardware from Boardertown. Food and beverage offer kept fans sustained while the activities ran throughout the day.

Nudie Jeans:

Swedish jeans brand Nudie hit the festival scene with its pop-up at the Auckland City Limits festival. Offering jean repair then and there, the brand spread its sustainability message throughout the festival goers.

Loyal wearers of Nudie jeans could drop by and have their jeans repaired in a converted shipping container. Customers could be loaned a pair of jeans while their current ones were fixed by the onsite sewing specialist. Nudie repaired around 30 pairs of jeans during the festival.

Karen Walker + Hedleys Booksellers:

Late last year saw Hedleys Booksellers celebrate 110 years in businesses with a pop-up collaboration in Karen Walkers Newmarket store. The pop-up book store turned Karen Walker’s boutique into a literary salon serving up summery, seasonally-inspired cakes by The Caker’s Jordan Rondel and organic teas by Storm & India. Anna Hedley, a fourth-generation Hedleys bookseller, was on hand to give expert book advice while customers could browse the latest Karen Walker range every Saturday in November.

Allbirds + Coco’s Cantina:

Woollen sneaker brand Allbirds came together with eatery Coco’s Cantina to give New Zealand consumers a first chance to get up close and personal with the shoes. Perched on Karangahape Rd, Coco’s exhibited Allbirds' sustainable, woollen shoe varieties within the restaurant, and staff donned custom sneakers in Coco’s Cantina’s colours. The interesting partnership came from a mutual recognition for quality, craft, imagination, and sustainability; as seen with Allbirds' use of locally sourced, renewable and sustainable merino wool, and Coco’s Cantina's egalitarian ethos, which prioritises staff over profit.

Customers could use the opportunity to see, try and order anything from the range, and then have it delivered the next day. 

Escea:

Escea brought the heat with its fireplace pop-up, Stoke Fireplace Studio. Teaming up with seasoned Auckland retailer Malcolm Burton, Escea launched a brand-new retail franchise in order to educate consumers around their wide, and often very technical, range.

The purpose of the pop-up was to show consumers the aesthetic abilities fireplaces could bring, rather than just a source of heat. The showroom offered services and expert staff and some of their top-line products on offer.

 

Hottest fit-out

Lonely:

The Lonely Lingerie fit-out on Newmarket’s Teed St was completed at the start of 2017. The fit-out is a mixture of soft yet open air-spaces. The Millennial-pink walls are adorned with rose gold and bronzed finishes. Rich navy velvet contrasts with brass curved walls, and beautiful textured linen alongside dark and light oaks. The simple fit-out suits many of this year’s interior decor trends while also strongly communicating the Lonely brand.

Deadly Ponies:

Wellington’s first Deadly Ponies store adopted a different look to its Christchurch and Auckland counterparts. Opening in 2016, the store references a Brancusi-inspired aesthetic -  it’s fitted out with plinths, light pink walls, and geometric shapes. The Wellington store is all about glowing Perspex light boxes, sculptural shapes, and perhaps most impressive, it houses a 4.4m scarf tree.

Blush:

Blush Flowers’ Parnell location gives floral enthusiasts a place to find eye-catching arrangements in both florals and interior design. The polished slate floors and white walls create the perfect blank canvas for constantly changing floral seasons.

An oversized brass counter stands as a centrepiece for the store, with its mirrored texture reflecting the flower bouquets places on and around it. The store’s overall look connects it to trends of its Millennial target audience: open spaces, brass fixtures and a flexible canvas.

Aesop:

Australian skincare company Aesop’s Auckland branches in Newmarket and on High St are meticulously neat, yet still hold a warm inviting feel. Polished concrete and dark walls reflect the brand’s signature look, while high pointed lighting draws the eye to the sprawling collections of product.

The earthy, organic vibe the stores give off communicates Aesop’s natural ethos. Dark timber and brass features combine to present the best side of the product displays.

Deuce Sneakers Newmarket:

Describing its space as sleek and streamlined, Deuce’s pop-up store brought a light space to Newmarket’s Teed St. Standing out against the grey sidewalk, Deuce’s completely white store popped out to passers-by. The simple design of the pop-up store communicates the brand well, as Deuce designs often focus on simple looks for its sneakers.

Light timber flooring and white accents allow the colourful shoes to stick out along the walls and centre display tables.

Mecca Maxima Takapuna:

Takapuna’s first Mecca Maxima stays true to its sister-stores designs. Often called the peacock of make-up stores for its feature bright and shiny look, the North Shore branch is a more subdued version of the Mecca Cosmetica chain’s signature fit-out.

Slate tiles and brass product displays sit up against mirrored walls which help make the 185-square metre area feel spacious. Embedded celling lighting gives the whole area an even glow, reflecting off darker maroon and black product display shelves.

KFC Fort St:

Late last year, fast-food chain KFC opened a new-look urban restaurant concept on Fort St in Auckland’s CBD. The raw, contemporary, urban grittiness of the area was taken into consideration for its design – in particular, the contrast between the heritage buildings and the urban restaurants surrounding it.

Tiles inside and out, brick, timber, concrete, long run colour steel and raw steel create the first layer and provide the base for KFC’s brand language and graphics.

The outside of the store represents the Colonel’s white suit with black detailing, with the usual elements KFC puts on the exterior dialed back. Instead, bold elements on the interior are visible from the outside through large windows to entice people in, like a large backlit bow tie wall feature.

World Queenstown:

Bringing World’s brand essence into a space was no trouble when it came to the fashion boutique’s Queenstown location. Its bright, striking fit-out is eye catching yet on trend with polished slate floors and marble display desks.

The overall fit-out is simple, giving space for the collections to shine and be the focus. Yet the rainbow feature wall creates a point of difference, which saves the store from becoming only a blank canvas to fill. High spotlights are positioned towards displays and the feature wall, creating depth through the shadows they create.

Scarpa Newmarket:

Scarpa’s newest store, located in in the heart of Newmarket’s Teed St, is a step into the best of shoe display. Crisp whites adorn the celling, floors and display areas, while rich navy-blue velvet chairs with brass accents create a feature point. Floor to roof glass windows and floral bouquets complement the fresh feeling of the fit-out, while statement lighting hangs down in a cluster, instantly drawing the eye to the sitting area.

Scarpa’s latest fit-out well communicates the Eurocentric brand, as well as clearly showing the different styles that has be passed down through to the founder’s daughters who have put their own spin on design.

Garage Project:

Wellington-based brewing company Garage Project recently opened a cellar door in Auckland’s Kingsland, bringing the best of its brand to Auckland’s growing craft beer community.

The fit-out communicated the brand essence well: dark cellings create a cavernous feeling which is complimented by stylish décor and long-hanging LED lighting. Spotlights are used strategically to highlight the back wall and refrigerators, which are stocked with the brands many drink options.

The fit-out has an industrial vibe with exposed concrete beams and polished floors. The colorful art design on the outer building contrasts with Garage Project’s bannering.

Rocket Espresso:

Rocket Espresso opened its first brick and mortar store on Ponsonby Rd. Boasting a slick black interior created by renowned designer Paul Izzard, the store was designed to complement and accentuate the stainless-steel bodies of the Rocket Espresso range.

The coffee machines sit flush against black walls and display areas, with neon signs and elements of colour popping out even more thanks to high vaulted ceilings direct lighting.

 

Hottest retail concept 

AS Colour:

As well as being one of the most well-known retailers offering quality basics at a good price, AS Colour’s model also sees it as one of Auckland’s largest trans-Tasman manufacturer and wholesalers, one that supplies product for all bases. With around 80 percent of revenue coming from distributing, the model has allowed AS Colour to grow upwards and outwards, extending its reach to almost every basics line in New Zealand.

The laid-back branding of the company makes it personable and therefore approachable for smaller businesses, creating strong relationships through to suppliers and retail buyers.

Reduced to Clear

Reduced to Clear is a food retailer specialising in discount past-dated items that would otherwise have gone to landfill. Its model makes it possible for still-edible food to be given another chance, with products being heavily discounted to suit the frugal shopper or larger families. The store has around 12 stores in the North Island.

Dry & Tea:

Combination blow dry bar and tea house Dry & Tea is a staple of the Auckland beauty scene. The chain’s stylists are well trained in hair, nails and make-up services, providing customers with a wide range of options for both day-to-day and special occasion looks.

Special tea is recommended based on the customer’s preferences, while the beautifully-designed stores add even more to the customer experience. Prices reflect the services with most falling within an affordable range for what is offered.

The Free Store:

The Free Store is a Wellington-based food retailer which provides free food sourced from surrounding cafes’ unsold stock. Stemming from a successful art project in which free food was given away, The Free Store quickly became a popular fixture of Wellington, working out of a shipping container.

The group is passionate about giving food to those in need from what would have only gone to landfill. With 65 cafes involved, the store sees over 100 people in each day from different backgrounds. A grassroots volunteer-driven initiative, The Free Store is able to redistribute 175,000 items of fresh quality food annually.

Barkers Groom Room

Found mostly in Barkers retail stores, the Barkers Groom Room is a full barber experience tacked on to the menswear chain’s fashion offering. The business provides a tailored range of classic men’s haircuts and indulgent cut-throat shaves. Also available on offer are alcoholic beverages, to add to the luxury grooming experience.

As well as offering this service, retail products the stylists use are also available for purchase, with the staff offering advice on what products the clients should be using to maintain grooming practices.

Thankyou:

Australian company Thankyou announced its plans to launch into New Zealand early this year, bringing with it its charity focused model.

Described as a social enterprise, Thankyou has its own line of products that includes water bottles, food, body care and baby care. Once a product is purchased, consumers are encouraged to download an app that tracks the project that specific product is helping to fund, using a tracking ID.

Thankyou company commits 100 percent of its profit to helping end global poverty, they operate using a project-based model, which means they fund individual projects that meet a criterion instead of automatically giving funds to organisations year after year.

Little Bird Unbakery:

Little Bird Unbakery is known throughout Auckland as the main commercial kitchen and retail space for raw vegan goods. The importance the company places on delivering seriously healthy, nutritious and highly Instagrammable plant-based food has seen it land at the top of many lists for most recommended café in Auckland.

The brand's strong values are communicated well through what it sells and how it creates products. A recent movement towards further expansion saw the retailer raise $1.8 million through crowdfunding in less than a week. 

Identifying as more of a ‘movement’, the kitchen has a dedicated fanbase, shown through high sales of its own marked products and specialty cookbooks.

Giapo:

Giapo ice cream takes the scoop as more than just an ice cream shop. It prides itself on keeping consumers surprised and entertained with unique ice cream creations and spectacular designs. Quickly becoming a popular attraction, the well-staffed Gore St retailer sees itself as an ‘imagination machine’, constantly churning out different treats for customers that overreach any previous ice cream expectations.

The line for Giapo is never a short one, but those who have been lucky enough to enjoy the innovative desserts can attest to the wait being worth it.

 Whoa! Studios:

Whoa! Studios is the only film and design studio open to the public in New Zealand. It’s a child-friendly and immersive environment where visitors can experience a world-class live show, park and family food offerings. Featuring state of the art studio and theatre facilities, experience the live ‘Custard’s World’ shows, the ‘Urban Playground’ and family eatery 'The Grounds', run by celebrity chef Ben Bayly.

Marketing and growth 

Hottest social media presence

Trade Me:

New Zealand’s auction site, Trade Me, has a dedicated bunch of social media followers for its three Facebook pages. Motor, Property and the main page combine to a total reach of 274,000. The company’s Instagram and Facebook is very Kiwi-oriented and has a casual feel to its content despite the company's corporate structure.

Often using the platform to promote all things Kiwi pride, from our sport teams to inspiring individuals, Trade Me’s laid back, humorous posting style has resulted in high engagement from its followers.

Whittaker’s:

Whittaker’s Facebook page of 775,957 strong focuses largely on its charity initiatives and connecting with customers through high engagements levels. The company’s Instagram takes a different approach, with emphasis falling more on visual marketing.

Whittaker’s knows its consumer, which is shown through a mixture of still and video content, which draws in scrollers with slow-moving chocolate and fun craft ideas targeted at all ages.

Moustache:

The popular cookie bar is well known for its social media presence, with the casual humor of owner Deanna Yang coming through in each post. With 70,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram, the milk bar’s well-known cookies are plastered throughout. Posts are often dedicated to collaborations, special events, and the brand’s unofficial mascot, Snorlax the Pokemon.

Competitions are regularly held on the company’s platform, with many customers getting involved by sharing and commenting on the content, therefore growing the platforms reach even more.

Allbirds:

Allbirds, a New Zealand shoe retailer who uses only natural materials in its products, has a significant social media reach of around 250,000 across its platforms. The global platform well reflects its products with simplistic, yet wholesome content. It often promotes its new ranges and or styles in stylish yet easy to understand posts.

As a global retailer, the posts are non-specific to any particular country, but the brand’s dedication to showing its values and promoting its ‘organic’ view gets people to engage online.

Lonely Lingerie:

Lonely label’s lingerie line is known for its inclusivity of different body types with its content. This marketing-led move has proven very popular for the brand, resulting in widespread praise and media buzz. The label’s Instagram shows a diverse range of models wearing the lacy garments in everyday situations, making the brand seem even more accessible to its 351,000 followers.

GoodFor:

Even as a relatively new business, GoodFor wholefoods refillery has carved out its own space on social media, thanks in large part to its photogenic stores and slick branding.

The brand’s Facebook and Instagram is a mix of product and store shots. The minimal ethos of the brand is mixed with a meticulous, well-organised feel, shown through well-stocked bins and containers full of organic food and other home products.

The brand uses the platform to promote different foods on offer to its 22,000 followers, as well as provide inspiration for cooking, organising, and lessening the strain plastic packaging puts on the environment.

 2XU:

The compression legging professionals at 2XU, or ‘Two times you’, have an impressive global following of over 500,000. The retail company uses its platform as a source of inspiration to its followers, offering advice and ideas for staying fit.

Foregoing product shots and slim models for action shots of real athletes, the platform’s posts seem both relatable and aspirational. With the spike in the wellness trend, 2XU has done well to tap into the sudden cult-like following, promoting both training to look good and training to feel good.

Air New Zealand:

Air New Zealand’s social media following of 1.8 million allows the brand to be creative with its online voice. With a wide range of interesting content, our national carrier’s social media presence is personable to its Kiwi followers but interesting enough to capture the interest of international travellers. Content has high levels of engagement and praise as the airline announces a lot of its new initiatives on social media.

Its social media gives a closer look into behind the scenes, whether a glance into the cockpit or new exotic locations to travel to. 

Hottest market entry 

Vinomofo:

Australian wine retailer Vinomofo came to the New Zealand market offering a members-only approach to wine sales online. New Zealand was Australian-based Vinomofo’s first foreign market when it entered the country a year ago. Vinomofo initially planned to send a container-load of wine to New Zealand and sell it through a temporary online pop-up store, but the site performed well enough that it launched full operations here.

Vinomofo had a strong start in New Zealand, with 20,000 members and a tremendous volume of wine on offer for the consumers. With convenient door delivery and relaxed, humorous branding , Vinomofo instantly felt like a part of New Zealand’s wine scene.

H&M Home:

Swedish fast fashion giant H&M introduced its homewares concept to New Zealand’s South Island last year. H&M had already carved out a strong place in our market with its much-anticipated clothing stores, so tacking H&M Home onto the side of their market presence was an easier move than bringing in a new separate concept.

The retailer brought its wide range to expectant Kiwis: from bed to dining, bath to living, the homeware side had all bases covered. Offering its basic, premium quality and conscious lines, customers could experience the full product range both instore and online.

Krispy Kreme:

With months of anticipation leading up to its launch, Krispy Kreme had mouths watering over its grand opening in late February. The chain announced its opening in the middle of 2016, but only revealed the launch date in December 2017. After VIP and media openings, the crowds were allowed in the 24/7 doughnut chain, with lines snaking out the door even weeks after its official opening.

A strong social media presence shows that Krispy Kreme has continued to perform well. New Zealand’s dessert market is not oversaturated, meaning Krispy Kreme, almost a dessert celebrity, was welcomed with open armsand mouths.

GoodFor:

Health-oriented specialty supermarkets are nothing new in New Zealand, but Auckland’s newest example of the genre, GoodFor, was a strong addition. Public response to GoodFor’s opening showed promise, with five hundred customers through the small store on its first day. Strong praise and a change in consumer attitudes meant a new, larger, Parnell store was opened start of this year.

As environmental issues are becoming front of mind for a lot of consumers, GoodFor managed to tap into shoppers’ desire to do something beneficial to the environment, but still easily integrate change into their day to day lives.

Chemist Warehouse:

Australia’s largest pharmacy chain, Chemist Warehouse, set its sights on New Zealand in the middle of last year, bringing with it the promise of unbeatable low prices. The company stepped up its marketing in January after settling into its first Auckland store at the end of December. Kiwis love of a bargain saw the Chemist Warehouse find a quick target audience, with special deals on fragrance, supplements and beauty items proving large draw card for consumers.

The Auckland store is the brand’s first. Over, in Australia the 400-store chain employs over 8,000 staff members.

Thankyou:

After successfully raising $600,000 for market entry into New Zealand, Thankyou eco products launched on our shores in February. As part of the launch, Thankyou released a seven-minute video which follows Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn as he walks through a warehouse speaking directly to the camera about Thankyou's goals, its Chapter One book, and the idea to launch in New Zealand.

Coming into a market that has been dominated by one player with a similar price point was a bold move by the progressive social enterprise. Yet the tracking ID app may be enough to put Thankyou ahead as it targets other socially-minded consumers who like to know more about the projects they’re funding.

Hottest marketing campaign 

Scentre Group’s ‘Smartscreens’ Nutella

What better way to promote a range of mood-inspired Nutella jars than playing on the moods of potential customers? The campaign, run for Nutella by oOhMedia and PHD, used 15 Excite Panels in NZ with Kinect cameras and face-mapping technology to read shoppers’ facial expressions and generate a jar to match. Whether they are happy, grumpy or tired, the panel will call out a witty comment like “You look stunning!” or “Did someone say selfie?” and generate a labelled jar to match their mood. Running across New Zealand and Australia, the quirky campaign was an innovative way to cut through the busy retail environment and make shoppers smile.

Farmers’ 2017 Christmas Campaign

When the time came for Farmers to release a new campaign, FCB executive creative director, Tony Clewett, said they wanted to create New Zealand’s favourite Christmas ad. No pressure. Following the story of a noisy family that moves in next to a grumpy old man who slowly begins to warm to them, the 60 seconds of screen time isn’t long, but Farmers manages to tell a heart-warming story full of complex and relatable characters. Nailing the balance between providing an earnest genuine story, while still advertising the company, viewers would be surprised to learn that this was the 100-year-old retailer’s first emotional TV campaign.

What’s your why? Rebel Sport

In February 2017, Rebel Sport released its ‘What’s Your Why’ campaign featuring world champion swimmer Sophie Pascoe, who lost her leg in a motor accident caused by her father. Run by Ogilvy, the feature doesn’t just tell the inspiring story of Pascoe’s journey to the Olympics but the ‘why’ that motivated her along the way. The viewer gets a glimpse at the agony and challenges that she overcame, learning in the last heartfelt line that it wasn’t just about medals or success for Pascoe but that “Today, your dad doesn't see his broken little girl. Today, he sees a world champion.” A line that had Kiwis everywhere reaching for a tissue.

 New World Little Garden

In collaboration with Colenso BBDO, the campaign replaces the Little Shop plastic models for herb and vegetable seedlings that shoppers can take home and plant. However, the marketing team wanted a way to ensure that the less garden-savvy didn’t give up, so partnered with MetService to send shoppers a ‘Daily Watering Moment’ reminder to their phone, based on the current weather. FBC Media carried out a number of other small campaigns alongside, including newspaper ad-paths that eventually lead to the seedlings range Little Garden offered; scratch and sniff print ads in Women’s Day and a beehive Snapchat lens.  

Countdown’s Odd Bunch

It’s no surprise that Countdown was the first New Zealand supermarket brand to run a whole campaign about selling “ugly” products. But when it’s paired with an initiative to cut food waste, use locally grown produce and make fruit and veg more affordable? It sounds like a win to us. Supermarkets all around the world tend to be pretty picky about stocking produce that not only tastes the best but looks it too, meaning that massive amounts of perfectly tasty but imperfectly shaped produce is thrown out for no good reason. ‘The Odd Bunch’, launched in Countdown stores around New Zealand, diverted these unusually formed fruits and veg into recyclable plastic bags, cut the price and sold them under the sub-brand. Good for the wallet and the environment.

 Spark Father’s Day 2017

Spark and Colenso BBDO paired up last Father’s Day to pull the heartstrings of Kiwis everywhere in a refreshingly unconventional way. Running on TV, cinema and online for two weeks, the spot brought audiences a story of a young boy struggling with how to celebrate Father’s Day without a father. After a little online research at home, he surprises his mum with a handwritten card and breakfast in bed, a scene that never fails gets us teary for all the right reasons. With a reputation for telling genuine and emotional Kiwi stories, this isn’t Spark’s first campaign to hit all the right notes and we’re sure it won’t be the last.

 

Most creative retail brand

 Trade Me:

Trade Me’s auction site is heavily influenced by the content generated by its Kiwi members, which shows through the brand’s marketing and initiatives. It often releases humorous campaigns, from highlighting auctions for the first sample of a new chocolate milk to the celebration of the site’s weirdest listings. Behind the scenes, the team is dedicated to making the Trade Me experience seamless: offering buy-now pay-later systems; extra buyer protection; and pushing for free shipping among all its items.

The brand's values are strongly communicated in all that it does, with the final, and arguably most well-known value, ‘Don’t be a dick’ coming in as the site often takes leads in charity and socially conscious movements.

 The Warehouse Group:

The Warehouse Group is one of New Zealand’s largest retailers, and it’s constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve its operations. Working hard at a socially conscious standpoint, the group has recently offered transgender staff support; support for staff struggling with mental health issues; family violence support initiatives; a living wage; and an initiative encouraging breastfeeding within stores. 

The group, while in the middle of an inner restructuring, still works hard to provide unbeatable prices, with its 'everyday low price strategy' seeing it opt out of the sale cycle altogether. The Warehouse Group knows its target audience, with its advertising and campaigns largely very centered on the relaxed Kiwi mindset.

Moustache:

Milk and cookie bar, Moustache, puts a lot of thought into its operations; from the cookies it makes, to its social media posts, the brand has creativity at the heart of its ethos.

The milk bar creates new cookies for any special occasion, even partnering with brands such as Garage Project Beer to create new, sometimes strange, flavours. The feeling of childlike wonder characterising the brand is communicated heavily through its social media, which portrays endless energy and a constant call for consumer engagement. The brand has run several competitions which in turn has helped it grow in popularity, and become a celebrated part of Auckland’s dessert scene.

Countdown:

Making strides towards social enterprise inspired branding, Countdown is often the first big brand to engage with socially conscious movements. From committing to phasing out plastic and caged eggs to providing free fruit for kids and lessening waste, the grocery chain’s initiatives are largely based around helping the community and inspiring positive growth.

As well as offering different support systems for staff, the brand often celebrates its workers with gala dinners and award nights to show its appreciation for its many employees.

Certain partnerships have seen the chain take big steps towards the future, such as with Samsung in which it celebrated 20 years of online shopping with a new automated ‘shoppable fridge’.

 Lush:

UK retailer Lush Cosmetics is known for creativity with its products, from themed items to classic favourites - the brand has its hands full with new concoctions almost monthly. Finding any excuse to create new wonders, the cosmetic store is constantly releasing innovative products to a devoted fan base. From glitter bath bombs, chocolate body scrubs, shower jelly and genderless perfumes, the store has an extensive range available for all.

Heavily involved in social conscious movements, Lush prides itself on being cruelty-free, handmade, free of bad chemicals and supportive of its range of diverse employees.

 KFC:

Between launching an apparel range, an erotic romance novel, Christmas decorations, beauty products and an urban restaurant, KFC has kept itself busy with creative campaigns. The fast-food retailer often makes itself know through interesting marketing strategies, based mostly around the humorous side of the chain, and its relaxed way of promoting itself.

Yet the chain has its serious moments, opening an urban restaurant version of its fast food stores last year to keep up with the growing influence of fast-casual dining and Instagrammable experiences.

 Mr Bigglesworthy:

Keeping a close eye on vintage furniture trends, Mr Bigglesworthy offers midcentury furniture which is high-quality and has character.

The store stocks as many New Zealand-made items as it can, and often lends out items for photoshoots, films, and advertisements. Its physical showroom is a curated space of high-end vintage collections, while its website is constantly kept modern and fresh to differentiate products as being sustainable, local and high-quality.

 Barkers:

Men’s clothing chain Barkers is at the forefront of creative ventures for its consumers. Besides menswear, it offers a full grooming side service, tailored fittings, same-day delivery and an experiential concept store dedicated to personalised style sessions. Each experience focuses on accessible luxury, and offering the consumer something they can’t get elsewhere.

Reviving the in-store experience through creative initiatives has been a goal for the menswear company, with the brand being hailed for its store fit-outs and honoured for making outstanding contributions to New Zealand's design scene in the Best Design Awards.

 World:

Described as fuelled by energy and passion, World is the fashion house that is most widely regarded as being "avant-garde" in New Zealand. Arguably one of the most experiential retailers, World offers an adventurous and high-quality selection of products through its World Beauty brand extension while continuing to offer years’ worth of experience in runway and high fashion through the main label.

World is mostly known and admired by fashion cognoscenti, artistic types and other people willing to engage with experimental clothes design, yet recently has moved into the common consumer's life as the brand communicates its creative designs to a wider audience.

 Allbirds:

Woollen sneaker brand Allbirds overcame a tough start to become one of New Zealand’s most exciting value-added exports. After securing its place in the market, Allbirds was able to branch out with its initiatives and company growth, opening flagships in Wellington and New York in quick succession.

The brand aligns itself heavily with social consciousness, placing high importance on corporate responsibility and lessen the strain to the environment. Allbirds’ newest shoe represents a further innovation – it’s made with a proprietary mesh knit textile derived from sustainable eucalyptus pulp.

 Z Energy:

With 211 stores nationwide spanning from the tip of the North Island all the way down to the bottom of the South Island, Z knows a thing or two about being a part of a community.

Its most popular activation is the Good in the Hood programme, which sees Z Stations give away $5,000 to neighbourhood groups each year. Z’s campaigns often allude to its latest sustainability push, which saw the company invest $26 million in a biodiesel plant. It’s also invested in six additional electric vehicle (EV) charging stations around New Zealand.

Other initiatives from Z include recycling coffee grounds, car washes having water reclaim units, LED lighting in forecourts and the soon to be rolled out biodegradable coffee cups.

 

Ecommerce

Hottest ecommerce experience

Hallenstein Glasson Group:

With both Hallensteins and Glassons under its belt, Hallenstein Glasson Group has made an effort to create a seamless online shopping experience. Both sites have a similar model which is easy to traverse, light and modern, yet full of options.

Glassons and Hallenstein Brothers offer LayBuy and Afterpay for easy payment purchase, as well as offering quick and same-day delivery services. The sites also offer generous returns policies, looking to make it as fast and seamless for the customer as possible. 

Trade Me:

Auction site Trade Me is one of New Zealand’s oldest ecommerce retailers, and it’s put a lot of effort into making its site as seamless and consumer-friendly as possible. Separate categories for all its listings make navigating the site easy, while search functions and the ability to refine searches using filters simplifies life for shoppers.

Low fees, and Trade Me’s recent push for more free delivery, means even after purchase the odds are in the buyers’ favour. The site offers buyer protection as well as Afterpay, meaning purchases are easier and safer for customers who may be spending larger amounts.

Citta Design:

Interior design furniture retailer, Citta Design, has an ecommerce experience that’s very influenced by current trends. Based on a relaxed antipodean philosophy of life and travel, its products are designed in New Zealand to be useful, beautiful and even a little bit fun, which the website reflects.

The fresh modern feel of the site shows what’s in season, with front page designs all reflecting one easy-to-follow trend. Shoppers can browse by accessory, style, room or even brand. Low, and even free delivery rates make it easy for consumers who can have their orders shipped the day they purchase them. The online store offers Laybuy and easy returns, making the experience seamless from start to finish.

 Adult Toy Mega Store:

New Zealand’s largest adult toy store, Adult Toy Mega Store has over 20,000 products for purchase on its website. The site offers dispatch in 48 hours after purchase, as well as discreet delivery to any personal or business address. Repeat consumers can earn loyalty points and with easy returns, new customers can rest assured they will not be stuck with an unwanted product.

The site is a flurry of adult goods, offering advice and categories aimed at all different levels of engagement. With thousands of products to choose from, from a number of brands, consumers have a wide range of choices available to them.

Countdown:

The supermarket chain’s ecommerce site celebrated its 20th birthday in 2016, and to this day it’s a busy foodie’s dream. It offers click and collect grocery shopping or at-home delivery, plus a wealth of inspiration.  

The MyCountdown site gives customers the options to save their grocery lists which the site will also fill with your favourite products at lower prices, handpicked recipe inspiration, promotions and news from your local store.

The Warehouse:

As one of New Zealand’s biggest retailers, it’s no wonder The Warehouse’s online arm reflects significant investment. The site offers online-only ‘red alert deals’ as well as free click and collect over $30, and the option of Partpay. The site is as busy as the physical location, although easier to browse as it breaks categories down into specifics.  

 The Sleep Store:

New parents can rest easy knowing Auckland retailer The Sleep Store has all that’s needed to get babies the full night’s sleep they need. Members of three professional organisations, the store takes the responsibility of selling sleep products and providing sleep information very seriously.

Not only does it offer a wide range of categories and products for all ages, the site also has a strong community feel where advice, inspiration and competitions improve the consumer experience. The store’s loyalty programme rewards customers for their purchases, while free shipping makes for a stress-free experience buying on the site. 

Superette:

Fashion retailer Suprette has long been a top player in social media and website engagement. The cool street vibe from its ecommerce channel complements its bricks and mortar stores’ branding perfectly. The website acts almost like a digital inspiration board, with new images constantly updating, generating freshness and encouraging regular engagement.

Along with a massive range of products, the site allows customers to shop by Instagram post and get even more ideas from its blog channel, which takes a closer look into expected trends of the season. 

Onceit:

Kiwi high-end clearance ecommerce store Onceit works with more than 400 suppliers from New Zealand’s fashion, beauty and homewares industries to offload excess stock without brand damage.

The site’s sheer mass can be intimidating at first glance, but the easy breakdown of products by category, sale time and collections curated by the site means traversing the offers is easy. Onceit revolves around offering designer goods at deep discounts, with an offering that changes every day as new sales are launched, so consumers have new options constantly.

Good as Gold:

Good As Gold, a Kiwi online fashion site with bricks and mortar stores in Auckland and Wellington, competes for low prices on a global scale because of good suppler relations. The store is a curated offering of some of the hottest streetwear in season. Shop by brand, women, men, or even sample the look book to see what trends will be coming in. The site offers free shipping worldwide and 1000s of products to choose from.

Canine Collective:

A group of small ecommerce businesses selling dog-related goods have banded together last year to create a new entity, the Canine Collective. The collective is a group of 13 independent retailers providing top-quality dog treats, accessories and care items. The site allows dog lovers to join a community of likeminded enthusiast, while also browsing some of the best dog-related goods on the market.

The site allows owners to be taken back to the original retailer’s own site, where they can read up on products and compare prices.

Endemic World:

Endemic World is a single-store art gallery and framer located in Auckland, but its ecommerce platform is anything but small. With 1000s of different accessibly-priced creations, ranging from prints, paintings, aerosol, and photography, the site has a large range from different artists available to be purchased. Choose your item, the size, frameless or framed specifically, the site gives customers different options for their chosen piece of work.

Mighty Ape:

Branding itself as New Zealand’s number one online store, Mighty Ape definitely has a strong argument when it comes to sheer volume of product. The site offers over half a million products for sale, with guaranteed fast delivery making shoppers’ purchases available the next day.

Alongside its extensive lists of categories, the site often provides special deals and coupons for customers. The site focuses on being relatable and ‘keeping it real’. Shoppers can browse across specialised categories including pop culture, activity, room or even holiday.

Grab One:

GrabOne offers experiences, services, products and travel deals all over the country and beyond. Whether it's a meal out; a beauty treatment; an adventure; a discounted product or an everyday service, the site has got all bases covered.

The site guarantees to refund money back if a product isn’t as advertised or if the business doesn’t deliver. GrabOne has strong reach in New Zealand, reaching an audience of 2.9 million Kiwis every week.

 

Hottest ecommerce launch

Zara:

The world’s largest clothing retailer definitely attracted crowds when it opened its physical store in Sylvia Park in 2016. Last month saw just as much hype surrounding the launch of its online shopping platform.

With the hashtag #DearNewZealand, Zara’s hints at an online store quickly gained traction through different social media platforms. Officially available to the public on March 14, Zara’s online arm carries all the retailer’s main lines - Woman, Basic, Trafaluc, Kids and Man – and also caters specifically to southern-hemisphere taste.

Kmart:

Kmart has recently been focused on improving its bricks and mortar experience, but beyond that, last year also saw the launch of its heavily-requested online shopping. With most of the store’s rivals having already successfully entered the ecommerce realm, the launch was an obvious and overdue move from the discount retailer. Several fan pages dedicated to Kmart ran polls and petitions to get it to open its online arm, with some receiving upwards of 5,000 signatures. The site officially launched in June, and has been running smoothly since.

Freedom Furniture:

In the homeware and digital boom, Freedom Furniture launched its ecommerce site last year. EStar, Australia’s largest ecommerce solutions provider, was behind the furniture chain’s finally making onto the digital market. The new strategy included Freedom’s 11 New Zealand based stores, meaning shipping options expanded out to surrounding areas.

The website includes previous customer reviews, and recommends complementary products based on learned customer behaviours.

Society NZ:

Clothing retailer Society NZ launched into the fashion world in the middle of last year, bringing with it a large collection of designer goods from New Zealand labels.

The site aims to “inspire, discover, and expand your fashion horizons”, while also offering easy delivery and returns. Along with placing importance on supporting New Zealand labels, the page’s Trend Edit blog offers curated items based on newest trends.

Ines:

Bringing cult French beauty products to New Zealand, Ines offers a hand-picked edit of beauty, hair and skincare staples. Ines brings together French pharmacy classics, industry icons and revolutionary finds.

A large collection, reasonable prices and delivery around New Zealand makes Ines a go to for international beauty musts. The site offers expert advice on what skin treatments are preferable for who, as well as informational product descriptions for the Euro-centric products.

Bambi Boutique:

Bambi Boutique, an online fashion store, is the latest venture by Auckland entrepreneur Iyia Liu. The Bambi Boutique launch went off without a hitch, with Liu’s social media influence seeing the $15,000 launch party almost completely subsidised by the vendors involved.

The site is targeted at younger consumers, with a personable feel being communicated through its Instagram, which often showcases customers who tag the company in their photos.

Plate Up:

The start of this year saw Kiwi reality TV celebrities Art Green and Matilda Rice launching a meal delivery service focused on healthy food. The read-to-heat meals were available in supermarkets, but the launch of the site provided a new subscription model offering. The launch of the offer was not overly publicised, but followed just after Rice’s book launch a few months prior.

Catch of the Day:

A new website called Catch of the Day launched March this year, targeting Kiwi bargain-hunters with thousands of products across dozens of retail categories. The suite of sites run by owner Catch Group in Australia sells an item every 2.8 seconds, and ships over 10,000 orders per day.

The launch brought the same selection of products as its Australian counterpart, but is expected to change as the site gets established in New Zealand.

UberEats:

Arguably one of the most popular launches of 2017, the UberEats mobile app gained mass approval almost instantly. With consumers using it heavily within the first day of its launch, UberEats’ 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 has plans to launch in Dunedin and Queenstown this May. UberEats now boasts 400,000 users in New Zealand, and 5000 drivers.

Hottest subscription model 

Bark Bag:

Bark Bag was founded in 2016 as a model which delivers a customised selection of dog treats and toys each month, based on what your dog has loved in previous months.

The model uses machine learning to build up a database of each dog’s preferences in order to pick and choose different items to supply each delivery. The company picks the treats with a particular emphasis on sourcing natural and New Zealand made items. The service also often commits to buy one-give one campaigns which deliver treats and toys to dogs in foster care. 

Toothcrush:

Keeping things fresh, Toothcrush is a toothbrush subscription service which delivers fresh toothbrushes to your door monthly or bi-monthly. Participants can select the number of brushes their household needs and have it to them by the start of each month.

Toothcrush provides soft bristles made of premium nylon (also the dentist-recommended standard). Each Toothcrush brush is made from sustainably sourced bamboo, a biodegradable and renewable material grown in a Forest Stewardship Council certified sustainable bamboo plantation.

WineFriend:

Buying wine should be just as good as drinking it, according to Kiwi subscription retailer WineFriend. The site offers a survey to determine what kind of wine suits you, then subscribers can choose the price, frequency of delivery and combination of what suits them best.

Smartass:

True to its name, Smartass is a smart alternative to standard bogroll. Its toilet paper subscription model offers recommendations for an amount based on how many people are in the customer’s household and allows cancellation anytime.

Smartass donates 10 percent of its profits to Million Meters, which helps Kiwi companies plant native trees. The company’s ethos leans heavily on reducing the environmental impact toilet paper creates. The paper is created using a combination of sugarcane (bagasse) a waste product.

Necesse:

Necesse, previously The Monthly Co, is a social enterprise aiming to provide regular delivery of organic tampons, with every purchase resulting in a donation to at-risk women through its charitable partners. In October 2017, the company successfully raised over $15k on crowdfunding platform PledgeMe, to launch its organic tampon delivery subscription service.

Eat My Lunch:

Eat My Lunch is a standard subscription service which offers a range of different pre-made meals to be delivered to your door. The difference of Eat My Lunch to other food subscription models is the company’s buy one, give one charity initiative. The subscription model often partners with other brands to increase the number of lunches sent out.

Each time a meal is purchased, one is given to a child in need. The subscription is currently sent out to 66 schools around New Zealand and so far, has given out 700,000 lunches to children in need. 

Freshcatch:

For those looking to have fresh fish packed and delivered to their home, Freshcatch’s subscriptions model offers exactly that. With a special designed ‘Chilltainer’ that can be collected and reused by the team on delivery, the contents stay fresh for consumption despite potentially sitting outside for some time.

Delivery is available six days a week with low fees. Sustainable fishing means the team supplies fish that are in season, so the catch of the day may change from one order to the next depending on what’s ordered. 

No Ugly:

Wellness tonic company No Ugly offers a swapper-crate-style subscription model. Those who sign up to receive 12 bottles of the tonic can have crates delivered, then have their empties swapped out for fresh full bottles. For every crate returned, the retailer will give a child lunch through its partnership with Eat My Lunch.

 I Am co:

Described as the latest and greatest health products delivered to your door every month, I Am co supplies a monthly subscription box of high-end health products. With each month comes a different bunch of products for users to use and then review online for points. Points can then be redeemed for a bonus gift.

What’s on offer has also been decided by those anonymous reviews, so new users can be assured what they are receiving has been widely approved of.

 My Food Bag:

Arguably one of New Zealand’s most popular subscription model, My Food Bag supplies families with fresh ingredients and easy to follow recipes. With nine different types of bag available, subscribers can choose weekly or bi-weekly to suit different taste buds, budgets, and schedules.

Recipes are created and tested every week by a team of chefs and nutritionist to offer the best seasonal ingredients and well-balanced portions. My Food Bag also offers extras to tack on top of weekly dinner deliveries, including fresh fruit, ready to heat meals and lunch options for more customisation. 

Hottest ecommerce concept 

Plant and Pot:

Plant and Pot is a small Auckland-based online plant shopping experience. The retailer curates on-trend fresh stock every week for its offers, supplying customers with a different range of plants and pots delivered right to their doors.

Plant and Pot specialises in packing, gifting and delivery, and will even take requests on what plants to stock. As well as fashionable plants and artisanal pots, the site offers a wide range of candles and other gift items for easy delivery to the recipient’s house.

Creative Hush:

Creative Hush is an Etsy-style platform that allows artists to sell their work and self-manage their own ‘stores’. The site works on a commission basis, but allows artists to tap into its pre-existing traffic.

It prides itself on being upfront and honest about its commission fees, as they are lower than competitor’s standard prices. To give buyers peace of mind, in signing up, the exhibitors agree that their items aren't available at a lower price anywhere else. Creative Hush’s stated goal is to leave more money in artists' pockets at the end of the day.

 Well Made Clothes:

Well Made Clothes is an online clothing retailer curating ethically-sourced fashion brands into a one-stop shop. Any clothes that are stocked must meet some of the eight values decided by the company: sustainability; fairness; transparency; vegan; gender equality; handcrafted; locally-made; and minimal waste.

The site offers tabs for the eight values, meaning consumers can browse each tab depending on what’s most important to them. Well Made Clothes also includes editorial features discussing fashion and sustainability.

Freedom Kids:

In an age where gender-neutral and ethically-made clothing is just catching on, Freedom Kids is ahead of the curve. Offering a completely genderless site, the online retailer offers childrenswear sorted by age, rather than gender.

Freedom Kids, a family run business, works only with other small businesses: many of the labels it stocks are owned and operated by a single individual. All clothing it stocks is ethically made, gender neutral and allows children to play freely. With a strong ethos centred around social and environmental responsibility, the site also lets consumers shop by values; organic, fair trade, and made in New Zealand.

DropIt:

Dropit is an app and website which gamifies product sales. Currently concentrating on sale of merchandise to sports fans, it connects shoppers’ mobile phones to stadium big screens. Using the app, shoppers compete in 60-second drop auctions where the price goes down instead of up. The longer they wait, the lower the price goes, and the first person brave enough to swipe up wins.

Starting in Mt Maunganui, the app has now launched globally thanks to a distribution deal with Daktronics, the world’s leading manufacturer of scoreboards and digital signage.

Container Door:

Container Door is an online group buying community connecting people to factories from around the world. Its website features new products each week that hopeful customers can apply to purchase – their order will only be sent through to the factory if enough people apply to order a product. If not enough orders are put through, shoppers’ cards will not be charged and their item will not be ordered.

All but 10 percent of Container Door’s items are manufactured to order, with the site acting as the middle man right up until delivery. The site has over 86,000 registered users and so far, has connected them with over 225 suppliers, saving over 25.5 million in freight and retail fees.

Theive.co:

Tapping into to the power that is Chinese retail giant Aliexpress, Theive.co uses a team of creatives from around the world to comb through the difficult-to-navigate site and extract on-trend bargains for Western consumers.

Offering a range of categories to choose from, the online site works mostly as a review page, using bloggers and staff to get recommendations on what to feature. The site charges no commission on the pieces it previews, as it connects clickers directly back to the product on Aliexpress.

 Give Plants:

With a goal to provide good-quality, well-packaged gift plants online, Give Plants aims its model on providing individuals, corporate associates and charities with gifts from New Zealand plant nurseries. Around 80 percent of its client base is corporate. Give Plants has created its own innovative packaging, made from 68 percent recycled paper and sustainable trees grown in New Zealand, which allows its plants to travel through the post in safety.

Designer Wardrobe:

Orginally starting as a Facebook page, Designer Wardrobe is now a sprawling online fashion community of like-minded individuals who buy, sell and rent designer items to and from each other.

The group quickly grew into a premium standalone web and app platform with members trading their favourite pre-loved designer labels. Today, Designer Wardrobe has over 120,000 members across New Zealand and Australia. The brand has also recently opened a brick and mortar store, where other retail brands supply outlet and new range items to be rented out at a commissionable price.

Not Socks:

True to its name, Not Socks is a gift wonderland that supplies unique, funky, creative and thoughtful gift ideas that are not socks. With categories starting with the standard options, it also branches into special occasions and what’s trending. The site offers 1000s of ideas for gifts at a range of different prices. The Not Socks team believe that when it all boils down to it, a gift should be something that shows you’ve really taken the time to think about what the recipient might enjoy, no matter what the price tag.

 

Individual awards

Most influential

 Cecilia Robinson, My Food Bag

 Cecilia Robinson finalised the business plan for My Food Bag the night before giving birth to son Thomas, and built the meal-kid delivery service into New Zealand’s third-largest food retailer while co-parenting two children under five with her husband, co-CEO James Robinson. My Food Bag is a tastemaker across the grocery sector and has influenced the growth of dozens of niche supplier food companies.

Chris Wilkinson, First Retail

 Retail consultant Chris Wilkinson is ubiquitous when it comes to retail media. Whenever a retail brand launches or folds, performs well or badly, makes a misstep or a success, Wilkinson is quoted across dozens of news sources as he intelligently describes and contextualises what’s happening. He’s also behind several industry-led initiatives like Wellington’s Eyes On crime prevention group and GoRetail’s revitalisation of Gore.  

Neil Cowie, Mitre 10

 Online doesn’t seem like an intuitive match for a retailer that’s as hands-on as Mitre 10, but under Neil Cowie’s leadership as chief executive, Mitre 10 has taken to the digital revolution like a duck to water. It’s joined Countdown and New World in voluntarily phasing out plastic bags, turned in consistently healthy sales growth, and maintains a thriving presence across social media. In a changing retail world where big-box retailers are being significantly challenged, Mitre 10 can be confident about its long-term future.

Lizzi Whaley, Spaceworks

 Lizzi Whaley’s commercial design and fit-out studio Spaceworks has been behind some of the most exciting retail fit-outs of the year, including GridAKL and Huckleberry. She’s also at the forefront of the pop-up retail trend with her “creative hustle” Pop Up Now. Whaley’s approach integrates an understanding of branding with design, and she’s never afraid to speak her mind.

Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland Council

 Urban designer Ludo Campbell-Reid is behind many of the changes that have made central Auckland a vastly more pedestrian-friendly, and therefore shopping-friendly, space in recent years. The shared spaces in Elliott, Fort and O’Connell Sts; Wynyard Quarter; the hot-pink Lightpath; the City Rail Link and the City Centre Master Plan are just some of the projects he’s been involved with.

 Jon Macdonald, Trade Me

 Back in 1999, before New Zealanders were habitual online shoppers, Trade Me was there, quietly building a flexible and community-led approach to retail. Macdonald has been with the company since 2003, and is now the chief executive of a 550-strong business which sees over 800,000 visitors on its site per day. Trade Me is a leader when it comes to progressive corporate culture, famously boasting a slide at its head office in Wellington, and the last of its seven company values has become famous: “Don’t be a dick.”

James and Janene Draper, Farro Fresh

 Not everyone can make the gourmet grocery model work, as the slow-motion collapse of Nosh has recently proven, but this husband-and-wife team are making it look easy. Founded in 2006, Farro Fresh has lead the rise of smaller-format premium grocery stores in recent years, supporting independent suppliers, inspiring mainstream grocery firms and implementing leading store design initiatives with each new shop.

Rod Duke, Briscoe Group

 Briscoe Group has gone from strength to strength in challenging times, driving traffic at shopping centres around New Zealand with its Briscoes, Living and Giving and Rebel Sports brands. Chief executive Rod Duke showed bold initiative during the attempted Kathmandu takeover of 2015, and has steered the company towards record profits each year. Its net profits from 2017 rose to $59.4 million. Duke was behind a significant investment in data-driven back-office systems 10 years ago, and has continued to be proactive on supply chain and sourcing.

Xavier Simonet, Kathmandu

 When Xavier Simonet joined Kathmandu as chief executive in 2015, he had barely 24 hours at the helm before the struggling outdoor clothing firm was faced with a takeover from Rod Duke’s Briscoe Group. A little under three years on, and the company has pulled a 180-degree recovery. It saw a 64 percent profit jump in 2016, and in the full year ending 2017, Kathmandu saw sales of $445.3 million, a rise of 4.6 percent when compared to the previous year. Simonet told The Register early on that the great brand and passionate team were a factor in his joining the company: “There’s much more we can do to leverage the roots, the distinctiveness and the history of the brand in New Zealand and Australia.”

Michelle Pratt, Child Labour Free

 Michelle Pratt and Nikki Prendergast founded the two-part foundation and accreditation system that is Child Labour Free after noting that there was no consumer-fronting audit system available to ensure the toys they sourced for their chain of early childhood centres were free of child labour. The system aims to help brands adjust to a new climate where consumers demand and expect transparency, Pratt says.

Iain Lees-Galloway, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister

 The new Labour-led Government is presiding over a number of new initiatives set to change the way employers, including retailers, relate to their staff. As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway is at the centre of many of them, including the recent rise in minimum wage; the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles and the proposed Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

Honourable mention also goes to Sir Michael Cullen, who’s chairing the Tax Working Group set to consider, among other issues, whether offshore retailers should be required to pay GST on goods under $400 sold into New Zealand online.

Chris Gudgeon, Kiwi Property

 Kiwi Property runs nine of New Zealand’s most successful shopping centres, among them Auckland behemoth Sylvia Park. While overseas, malls are going under at a rate of knots, New Zealand lacks most of the structural factors influencing this decline and Kiwi Property is merrily investing in a retail future where shopping centres remain important. While he’s continuing to secure tenancies from top overseas retailers, chief executive Chris Gudgeon is now thinking of malls in terms of town centres, where offerings in hospitality, entertainment, personal and commercial services are grouped together so consumers can do more than just shop.

Toni Brandso and Liv Patience, Material Creative

 There’s a particular look dominating retail design awards at the moment, and the business partners behind Material Creative are the origin of it. The studio picked up the last two supreme awards at the Red Awards, and also worked with Mortlock McElroy Architects on the gamechanging new-look KFC at Auckland’s Fort St.

 Gary Rohloff, Laybuy

 Together with his family, the former head of Number One Shoes, Ezibuy and Warehouse Stationery is part of a vanguard of digital buy-now, pay-later systems that have rapidly replaced traditional layby systems in retail. Since launching a year ago, Laybuy has partnered with hundreds of retailers big and small, and is looking to launch in-store soon.

 

Retail visionary

Jim Kebbell and Marion Wood, Commonsense Organics

Long before organic food was hot property in New Zealand’s mainstream supermarkets, Commonsense Organics was offering organically-grown produce to everyday New Zealanders. Twenty-five years on, husband-and-wife founders Jim Kebbell and Marion Wood have seen the zeitgeist catch up to the vision promised by the collective farm that was the beginning of Commonsense Organics. Their organic grocer broke even for the first time in 1995, and is now six stores strong as it celebrates its 26th birthday.

Brianne West, Ethique

Trained scientist Brianne West started Ethique while still at university. Its core proposition is based on the idea of eliminating packaging from common cosmetic items. West has created solid versions of more than 30 products  - everything from shampoo to self-tanner - and her company’s solid sales growth has seen more than 200,000 bottles prevented from use and disposal. In the 2016 financial year, Ethique grew more than 330 percent, and hit the $500,000 goal of a 2017 equity crowdfunding campaign in 90 minutes. It’s clear West has identified a key niche.

Simon Pound, Ingrid Starnes and Previously Unavailable

Simon Pound worked with retail tech company Vend for more than four years before shifting to become a partner at ventures start-up Previously Unavailable in February. He's also managing director of his partner Ingrid Starnes's self-named fashion label, and the host of The Spinoff’s popular ‘Business is Boring’ podcast. With the ability to consider retail from so many different perspectives at once, it’s no wonder that Pound is full of valuable insights.

Tilly Lloyd, Unity Books

The latest word from top retail consultants is that if they’re going to survive, retailers need to embrace technology, integrate with their communities and make themselves indispensable. Unity Books co-owner Tilly Lloyd has been walking the talk for years. Lloyd moved with the times when ebooks arrived on the scene, and continued to maintain an outstanding in-store environment that sustained the store when the ebook fad blew over. Unity’s two beloved independent bookstores are central to the support networking allowing New Zealand writers to flourish: they host book launches, talks and events, and regularly top lists of favourite stores in the popular press.

Lawrence Railton, AS Colour

AS Colour is an iceberg of a company. On a surface level, it appears to be a medium-sized apparel chain with nine stores, but look a little deeper and you’ll find a trans-Tasman manufacturer and wholesaler that supplies product for everything from speciality retail to uniforms. Railton founded the company in 2005 with a vision of supplying high-quality local t-shirts that met Kiwi needs, and has grown a solid business out of streetwear beginnings.

Adriana Christie, The Pallet Kingdom

Adriana Christie founded The Pallet Kingdom as a young entrepreneur to recycle wood waste from pallets into furniture and fit-outs, giving disadvantaged teenagers work experience at the same time. Sustainability is built into this social enterprise’s DNA, and it’s helping other retailers enact change at the same time.

Peter Cullinane, Lewis Road

Who could forget the year that New Zealanders collectively lost their minds over chocolate milk? Lewis Road co-founder Peter Cullinane built on that initial froth, leading a series of innovative brand expansions into other flavours of milk, custard, butter, bread, liqueur and ice-cream at lightning pace. Cullinane told Idealog he wanted to shift New Zealand’s dairy industry away from commodity and towards high-quality, homegrown products: “Our fundamental belief is New Zealand has enough stainless steel, we just don’t have enough imagination and that’s what we really lack.”

James Denton, GoodFor

Within less than a year of launching his packageless grocery brand GoodFor, young entrepreneur James Denton has opened two stores in high-profile locations in central Auckland. It’s clear the New Zealand market was ready for a high-end, wellness-focused, plastic-free interpretation of Bin Inn’s core concept – Denton took GoodFor from idea to launch within four months, did no advertising or marketing, and saw 500 shoppers through his first store on its opening day.

Rachel Hansen, Freedom Kids

Big overseas retailers like Asos and Selfridges are just beginning to cotton on to the rising trend of gender-neutral clothing, but Wairarapa ecommerce retailer Rachel Hansen was there first. Every item of the childrenswear she sells online is colourful and comfortable, ethically-made, often from small local suppliers, and targeted towards children of all genders.

Best provincial retailer

Volume, Nelson

There’s something about independent bookstores that inspires intense passion in their customers. Many of New Zealand’s best-loved indies are venerable instutitions that have served their shoppers for decades, but at a little over one year old, Volume is the upstart little sister to this kind of bookstore. Co-founders Stella Chrysostomou and Thomas Koed haven’t let their combined 35 years of experience in the book trade stop them from moving fast and taking risks.

Mr Ralph, Paeroa

Ecommerce retailer Mr Ralph specialises in lighting. Founder and owner Rachel Williamson runs the business out of a warehouse in Paeroa, passing on cost savings associated with its regional location to the consumer and securing a competitive advantage within its niche. Mr Ralph carefully walks a line between premium and savings, selling boutique, on-trend products which aren’t mass-produced at an accessible price point.

Paper Plane, Mt Maunganui

Homewares and lifestyle design store and studio Paper Plane has the privilege of being ranked next to UK department store Selfridges at the 2018 Chicago-based Global Innovation Awards. It won a Gia Digital Commerce Award for Excellence in Online Retailing. Co-founder Krista Plews told The Register she’d found a balance between catering to the market while “quietly guiding it towards a more thoughtful approach to acquiring homewares and lifestyle goods.”

Stone Store, Kerikeri

The Stone Store is housed within New Zealand’s oldest surviving stone building. The store was constructed in 1832 to hold mission supplies and wheat from the mission farm at Te Waimate, and now balances its role as a living museum with a successful and beautifully-merchandised retail operation. The gift store on the bottom floor sells authentic goods of the kind that would have been traded in the early 19th century – think hand-wrought nails, iron cauldrons and beeswax candles - alongside quality New Zealand merchandise aimed at the tourist market.

Sisters & Co, Mt Maunganui

This high-fashion boutique is a little piece of the big city in Tauranga. It’s a one-stop shop for fashion, make-up, shoes and accessories, stocking more than 50 local and international designers, and the bricks and mortar space is able to hold events in-store. It’s also complemented by a successful ecommerce site delivering around the country.

Blackbird Goods, Napier

Wife and husband team Gem Adams and Nathan Speeden launched their Napier-based homeware store Blackbird Goods in 2015. Their minimalist product selection is chosen with gallery-style curation in mind, and there’s no plastic or loud colours in sight: “The most colour you will see will be an ochre or indigo,” Adams told The Register. “We don’t have anything plastic, we have natural fibres, cotton, linen, wood, metal or glass.” This distinctive aesthetic has given Blackbird Goods an influence well beyond its local range.

Eyebright Country Store, Richmond

Eyebright is nominally a gift store specialising in silk flowers and Christmas goods, but it’s really more like a country-themed adventure park. Its spacious grounds are home to sweetcorn and sunflower crops; a flock of sheep; an ever-changing cottage garden; a Christmas tree plantation; and the Wendelton Guinea Pig Village. This is true destination retail at its idiosyncratic finest.

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