Gem Retail Hotlist: Time Out Bookstore creates connection

  • News
  • November 29, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Time Out Bookstore creates connection

At the Gem Retail Hotlist this year, Time Out Bookstore won the 'Hottest community connection' award. We shared the ways this independent bookstore brings customers together.

It’s rough out there for a bookstore, but Auckland independent bookseller Time Out is still going strong at 31 years young. A significant part of its strategy has involved strengthening reader loyalty by creating a sense of community, with personality-driven “hand selling” service, a heartwarming story, and a strong message encouraging customers to shop local. 

As well as its extra-long opening hours, which run from 9am-9pm seven days, Time Out works hard to promote its work through regular book reviews at Radio New Zealand and bFM; blog content; launch events and book clubs in a dedicated space upstairs; and an entire separate Instagram account devoted to showcasing the dogs which visit in-store. 

It’s branched out from selling simply books, offering Time Out merchandise such as enamel pins and postcards, book subscriptions and miscellaneous goods such as socks.

Time Out Bookstore manager Jenna Todd shared some thoughts on community with NZ Retail.

What does the concept of community mean to Time Out?

We follow sociologist Ray Oldenburg's philosophy of the ‘third place’. We aim for Time Out to be a leveling place for customers, where regulars set the tone and is home away from home. Anyone is welcome here.                                  

How does a business begin to build a community?

A business can create a community but a community also creates a business. It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation! But I think if a business endeavors to be a space where people want to be, the community will naturally congregate. Furthermore, once you establish what type of community your business is growing, you can nurture this further by expanding what your business does - such as events, workshops, customer newsletters, blogs etc. 

Can you share some thoughts on tension between commercial activity and community building? 

If we are thinking of the extras we do at Time Out, such as events, commercial activity is just a bonus to the community building. However, to maintain this we aim to be mindful of expenses when putting events on - we achieve this with creativity and ingenuity! As long as you have authentic intentions, I don't think the community can be too suspicious!

Can you share some unexpected side effects of being so open to shoppers’ input?

When our owner bought Time Out 16 years ago, she saw customer demand for the store to be open later hours as we have a vibrant nightlife in the village. She re-established our opening hours to 9am-9pm every day. We have also refreshed our website to be a user friendly and efficient 24 hour store for customers who are unable to make it in person! These are key things that have lead to a steady rise in sales since 2012.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 764 October/November 2019.

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.


Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

  • News
  • December 12, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

Our 'Best provincial retailer: South Island' award was hotly contested in the Gem Retail Hotlist, but in the end, it was Nelson jeweller Benjamin Black that won. Find out more about this boutique craft jeweller.

Read more

The retail diary: December / January

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
The retail diary: December / January

The Register and NZ Retail team has rounded up retail-relevant events and important dates for December and January.

Read more

Kiwis predicted to spend more on Christmas than Australians

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Makayla Wallace-Tidd
Kiwis predicted to spend more on Christmas than Australians

New research has found that Kiwis will be spending up large on Christmas in 2019 while Australians will be taking a more conservative approach to the Christmas budget. However, Kiwis are still focused on trying to lower their Christmas spending, and retailers have been warned to keep pricing strategies transparent.

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.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
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 ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
Sponsored content

Christmas music: to carol or not to carol

It’s that time of year again when retailers across the country ask themselves whether they should start playing Christmas music.


Gem Retail Hotlist: Allbirds' Tim Brown is our Retail Visionary

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Catherine Murray
Gem Retail Hotlist: Allbirds' Tim Brown is our Retail Visionary

In the Gem Retail Hotlist, 'Retail Visionary' is one of our most special awards. This year we awarded it to Tim Brown of Allbirds. Here's the scoop on this innovative sneaker brand.

Read more

From concept to closet: New Zealand’s apparel industry in 2019

Held at the end of August, New Zealand Fashion Week is an annual focal point for local designers and those interested in their products. But ...

Next page
Results for
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.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit