Close
 

Editor's view: Here’s to the outliers

  • Opinion
  • December 19, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Editor's view: Here’s to the outliers

Driving through the central North Island towards Wellington one day a few years back, I passed a shop which claimed to sell computer systems and firewood. The premises were a former service station painted rose pink. It sounds like something out of a dream, but I remember it clearly.

This is my favourite part of New Zealand’s SME-heavy economy – these odd little stores that clearly exist to satisfy the whim of one particular person. This kind of store reflects the owner’s personality through an aggregation of business decisions in the same way as social media, or Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes, reflect their creators.

Of course, this isn’t the way to appeal to a wide range of customers. Every person alive is unique, and if your shop is too tailored to your own tastes, you’re catering to a target market of one. Corporates favour the opposite approach, using research to create a proposition that caters to the needs of as many people as possible.

We seem to have seen a slower rate of foreign corporates entering the New Zealand market compared to 2016’s parade of rapid big-name roll-outs, but that being said, Australian retailers including Chemist Warehouse, Adairs and Wittner Shoes all opened stores in New Zealand in the last 12 months.

This year, as with the previous, we farewelled a number of apparel retailers - most notably, the New Zealand franchisee for UK fast fashion retailer Topshop and Topman. Topshop was the first of the foreign fast fashion retailers to enter New Zealand, and has certainly been the first to leave as it folded after just three years.

As 2017 draws to a close, the topic on everyone’s lips is Amazon’s impending launch in Australia. Will it cross the ditch to New Zealand? If so, what will happen?

The corporate model is safe, as befits the enormous amount of money at stake. Like any enterprise involving human beings, there’s plenty of room for small-scale creativity within that model. But as a philosophy, it lacks a certain excitement.

For the smaller retailers – and compared to Amazon, that means every retailer in New Zealand – it seems that the best way to fight back is to continue to work hard at offering what Amazon can’t. That means having a connection to your community; offering excellent service; having a unique proposition and providing a great in-store experience.

One of the many benefits of selling computers and firewood out of a rose-pink service station is that, I assume, nobody else is across your particular niche. Not every retailer is as intensely specialised, but if they fulfill a genuine need within their community and do it well, there’s no reason Amazon will hold much appeal for their customers. 

So, here’s to the unique propositions of New Zealand retail. May your 2018 be rosy.

​ ​

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

}