The mighty Trade Me turns 20

  • News
  • March 5, 2019
  • The Register team
The mighty Trade Me turns 20

Time moves swiftly in the start-up world, and looking back from 2019, 1999 is practically the Jurassic. But it was that year that Sam Morgan acted on an idea he’d had while trying to buy a secondhand heater for his chilly Wellington flat and created Trade Me.

Chief executive Jon Macdonald says like any new business, nobody was certain Trade Me would succeed at the time of launch.

“What we were asking people to do was very strange at the time: buying something you’d never seen off someone you’d never met. In the early 2000s, viewing a car or a job or a property online was a foreign concept to most New Zealanders. Now it’s as normal as fish and chips.”

“There was a combination of a great idea, New Zealanders’ inherent skill at picking up new technology, tons of hard work and a bit of luck that got us here today. We grew as Kiwis got more and more comfortable living online and we’re stoked to be a big part of New Zealand today.” 

Macdonald says the company has come a long way since Morgan’s idea. While Trade Me initially focused on secondhand goods, it has now branched out into real estate, vehicles, insurance, holiday home rentals, business directory services, personal loans and even dating.

In recent years, Trade Me has also pivoted to include provision for those making a living out of selling new goods on the platform, rather than just selling secondhand items casually. Its Trade Me Stores initiative offers professional sellers an ecommerce-style shopfront and additional tools within the platform.

It has also faced competition from Facebook’s Marketplace and a host of smaller free classified listings sites such as Allgoods and Post a Note.

Macdonald says as technology matures, advances in the likes of voice search, AI, machine learning and more will create more opportunities for Trade Me to create new tools.

“What’s important to us is making sure we keep delivering the things that Kiwis need, there’s limitless potential with what we can do, online classifieds and ecommerce is still in its infancy in New Zealand and we want to be here for another 20 years.” 

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Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

The $200 million-plus direct sales economy contains many lessons retailers can use. As part of a wider look at this thriving corner of retail, we created a quick explainer showing how this business model typically works.

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Direct sales: Meet the upliners

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the upliners

We profiled different participants in the direct sales industry to find out what retailers can learn from them. Meet Isagenix distributors Adam Nesbitt and Bianca Bathurst.

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Direct sales: Meet the business builder

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the business builder

As part of a wider story looking at what retailers can learn from the direct sales industry, we profiled Isagenix distributor Ben Frost.

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A spectrum of retailers

  • Opinion
  • April 18, 2019
  • David Farrell
A spectrum of retailers

In recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month, retail commentator Dave Farrell considers the role of those on the spectrum in retail.

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How on-trend is your retail business?

  • Sponsored Content
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sponsored content
How on-trend is your retail business?

New insights from Visa highlight five evolving trends emerging from savvy retailers around the world. We’ve taken these global trends and looked at how they are playing out with merchants in New Zealand, and we’d now like to hear what you think of them.

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