While others slumbered, a new beast rose up and took over the retail jungle. A gorilla of the Kiwi e-tailing world named, simply, “Mighty Ape.”
Over almost 20 years, husband and wife team Simon and Vicky Barton have grown their video game shop into New Zealand’s number one e-commerce store for purchases.
A quiet achiever, the King Kong of New Zealand’s online retail environment (without the tragic death) does not disclose its turnover but allows, “A range of $50 million to $100m would be in the ballpark.”
Mighty Ape marketing, alliances and development manager Dylan Bland says the company has enjoyed steady growth since inception.
The company now employs over 100 full-time staff and holds 400,000 products in stock at its distribution centre on Auckland’s North Shore.
Bland says he thinks the decision to close its bricks-and-mortar store in 2007 to focus 100 percent on online is one of the most innovative things the company has done.
“We were one of only a small handful of stores prepared to go all in and it’s starting to pay off for us now,” he says.
The extraordinary amount of stock Mighty Ape holds at one time allows the e-tailer to provide a same-day delivery service.
Bland says commitment to speedy delivery times and accurate stock data is another of Mighty Ape’s top innovations.
Its in-house-built system with backend warehousing fully integrated with customer facing website means online customers always see accurate stock information.
This Christmas, the retailer shipped more items in a single day than it did in the entire month of December in 2008.
“[It was] roughly one product every two seconds during normal business hours,” Bland says.
While the retailer says its biggest difference from competitors is the amount of stock it holds, as well as its relationships with local suppliers, this ape isn’t resting on its haunches.
“Mighty Ape faces competition from talented and committed retail stores both locally and internationally - and they both keep us up at night equally.
“Our response though is to just keep focusing on our customers and what they’re asking for - where they’re shopping, and why.”
This story was originally published in NZRetail magazine issue 736, March 2015.