Free delivery can be a powerful thing: Amazon-owned ecommerce retailer Book Depository sends more books by absolute volume to New Zealand than any other country worldwide except Australia. We spoke with Javier Rosales, commercial director for Book Depository, about its place in the Kiwi market.
Books are the fifth most purchased item online by New Zealanders – behind airline tickets, clothing, entertainment, and travel services such as hotels. Almost 600,000 Kiwis bought a book from a website in the last year.
Book Depository is based in the UK, but Rosales says it has become increasingly popular in New Zealand, with Kiwi orders up by 45 percent in the past three years.
Asked if the company has focused on growing its presence in New Zealand, Rosales says it’s put some effort in, but he also notes that Book Depository’s free delivery model has been a big hit with Kiwi shoppers. Our geographically isolated market makes shipping from most of Book Depository’s global competitors off-puttingly expensive for consumers.
“There has been some serendipity coming from the fact that our model fits the New Zealand market very well,” Rosales says.
Big populations are important for Book Depository, but shoppers in countries like the UK and US are typically well-served by local players with similar offerings to Book Depository’s. These players tend to be competitive in their home territory but apply shipping charges to destinations like New Zealand, says Rosales.
In Book Depository’s focus groups worldwide, Rosales reports, free delivery is always cited as the number one reason why shoppers choose the site.
New Zealand also has a high readership rate, and a noted preference for hard-copy books. New industry research from Nielsen among the country’s 2.5 million book readers has found that 80 percent of Kiwis only read hardcopy books; compared to just 5 percent who only read digital e-books and a further 14 percent read a combination of the two.
Rosales says Book Depository’s conversion rate is high in New Zealand, but there’s still opportunities to increase awareness of the platform among Kiwi shoppers. The company is investing in promotional activity to achieve this, with posters up in 30 locations across Auckland and Book Depository bookmarks being handed out on the streets. Social media competitons are also running.
The top 10 books sold nationally on Book Depository so far in 2018 are: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Wonder, The Barefoot Investor, Milk and Honey, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Sapiens, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, 5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food and The Handmaid’s Tale.