Close
 

The Retail Hotlist: Hottest in-store experience goes to Unity Books

  • News
  • July 25, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Retail Hotlist: Hottest in-store experience goes to Unity Books

Nominees: Sabato, Evo Cycles, Moore Wilson’s, Caughley, Tea Pea, Global Baby, Smith and Caughey’s, Bello, 77 Art + Living, Little Red Fox, McDonalds’, Mecca Maxima, Citta Design, Parker & Co., Lush, Fresh Collective, The Wine Cave, GoodFor, Frankie Did It, Barkers Chop Shop, The Department Store, Giapo, T2, Unity Books.

People’s choice
Global Baby

Judges’ choice
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.


Unity Books is a place of wide and high literary ideals. The busy atmosphere is often one of anticipation, as customers bustle about finding treasures curated by the team at Unity Books. 

“We have an attitude,” says co-owner Tilly Lloyd. “Which is, there is no point coming inside if it isn’t interesting. We’ve been going for 50 years, and we inherited this attitude from the previous owner, Alan Preston; his attitude was that we must have an opinion and that we must know our stock, and because it’s books and intellectual property. So, we must know it even if we don’t like it. We have to know where it sits in the current offer of books.”

In an ever-fiercer bookselling environment, Unity aims to keep renewing old loyalties and fostering new ones. 

“We’re constantly a social and intellectual exercise. Therefore, when people come in, they get this feeling, and they can see us doing it with other people, that they will be looked after.”
 

With a large range that holds the ability to draw people into purchases they didn’t even know they needed, Unity Books feels more like a library of new books rather than a bookshop, where customers are encouraged to take their time to flick through new finds. 

“I like to see a lot of professionalism, I want to see customers looking happy,” says Lloyd of a good in-store experience. “So that's the overview thing, that's the critical thing. And you can sense that the minute you’re on the shop floor. Everyone’s busy, by which I mean the customers are busy. No one's looking lost, they’re being industrious.”

A slow-paced environment is often key to getting customers to spend time within a store, yet Lloyd says Unity Books has an active atmosphere which works well with the hustle and bustle of the high streets.

“The dialogue here just incessant between the customers, us, the publishers who call in, and the community people that call by with the news; it's quite a vibrant environment. It is like when you’re at a party and things are quite quippy, that what is it like here sometimes, it has a good vibe to it.”

Unity Books has a large offering of all different genres for all different demographics. The process of curating these books comes from a rigorous selection process, taken out by the Unity Books team itself.

“We have got really strong relationships with our publishers. And they see Unity as a place to talk about upcoming titles. All the publishers have distributors. So, our relationship with the distributors just much more just seeing the representatives… The situation then is to filter what the reps are bringing in and to do that in the nicest sporting way. And the way to do that is to be a good snob.”

Lloyd knows the market better than any other, as you would expect after decades in the industry. This inside knowledge is communicated through the store, as a love of good books and connecting those books with the customer is at the centre of its ethos. 

“Which isn’t to say there isn’t a place for a bit of trash here,” she says. “But we need to be the best of the trash for that genre. That’s a job of anticipation in the market, you’re thinking what are people going to be in love with this time, or what are we going to let them know we could be in love with in a few months’ time.”

The in-store experience of Unity Books is truly one of a kind. It’s store that has managed to thrive despite advancing technology and international threats. The high level of knowledge from helpful staff, and a clear respect for the industry translates into a true magnetic pull for these little locations in a big way. 

Judges’ comments from Sarah Dunn: We all agreed that Unity Books’ no-pressure environment, knowledgeable staff and outstanding product selection made it our winner. You just can’t buy an experience like Unity offers on the internet. 

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

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register team
Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

As of 3pm on March 21, a wide range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act as requiring an E endorsement on a firearms license. This means they can no longer be sold to those with A-category gun licenses, and their purchase now requires police approval.

Read more
 
 

Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register
Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

NZ Retail and The Register’s sales and marketing breakfast saw dozens of Kiwi retailers come together to network, sharing tips and tricks and absorbing expert advice.

Read more
 
 

Who stole Christmas?

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Kelly Withers
Who stole Christmas?

Results are starting to trickle in from Christmas 2018/2019, and for many retailers, they're a little disappointing. Paydar chief executive and co-founder Kelly Withers explores the data.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

A group of visiting Chinese businesspeople have raised $2.35 million for victims of the Christchurch mass shooting.

Read more
 
 
News

The Retail NZ Awards: What does it take to be a winning retailer?

Take this time to shine with the upcoming Retail NZ awards, a chance to show the retail industry what makes your business stand out. No ...

 

Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

  • News
  • March 20, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

In the wake of the attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community on March 15, strong calls for changes to New Zealand’s gun last have been made. Trade Me was the first retailer to act, halting the sale of all semi-automatic weapons on its platform, and it has now been joined by Hunting & Fishing New Zealand.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}