Look across the ditch: Online selling to New Zealand

A massive 99.9% of global online spend sits outside Australia (PDF 6.3MB). This opens up more opportunities for Australian businesses to expand internationally especially to our closest neighbour – New Zealand.

New Zealand is geographically smaller than Australia but its retail industry has been growing at a faster rate since 2013. According to the 2018 New Zealand eCommerce Review, the nation’s retail sector is now worth A$87.4 billion annually.

Online shopping in particular, has experienced exponential growth since the launch of New Zealand’s eCommerce pioneer Trade Me, in 2000. The report also noted that New Zealanders spent A$4.2 billion online in 2017 and that 33% was with international retailers, including Australian businesses.

Apart from being Australia’s sixth top trading partner, New Zealand is also the top eCommerce destination for Australian goods (PDF 6.3MB) with their most popular purchases being apparel, beauty products, auto parts and books. These are incidentally the same items that fill Australians’ online baskets.

With similar online shopping preferences, no language barrier and straightforward international shipping logistics, the opportunity for Australian businesses to grow in New Zealand is tremendous.

Yet the laying of groundwork is still important. Here are five key aspects to consider before taking your business across the Tasman.

Find the right logistics partner

Shipping internationally often means dealing with a whole new set of logistics. This can be time-consuming for business owners, especially if it's their first expansion overseas. Australia Post's longstanding partnership with New Zealand Post and our range of international shipping solutions can help make that process easier so you can focus on building your business in a new market.

Provide detailed product information

New Zealanders are diligent researchers of their online purchases. They read discussion forums, price comparison and product review websites. Any business wanting to sell to them will have to provide detailed product information on their own website if they want to be taken seriously.

Be upfront with your returns policy

Like Australia, New Zealand has strong consumer protection laws, which also apply to online purchases. For these reasons, New Zealanders want to be confident that any online store has a good returns policy before they place an order. Clearly displaying this policy alongside your delivery and shipping information may help move a customer further along the purchase journey.

Get onto online marketplaces

Building a following in a new market can be challenging so look at establishing your brand on online marketplaces that already have a large customer base. New Zealanders shop on three main marketplaces – Trade Me, Amazon and eBay. The most popular of the three is the 19-year-old New Zealand pioneer, Trade Me. It’s the largest internet auction site in New Zealand with 4.4 million active users and 7 million listings. An estimated 85% of New Zealanders hold a Trade Me account which means your brand will be able to tap into a ready customer base.

Time it right

The 2018 New Zealand eCommerce Review has reported newer trends around peak online shopping seasons. Where Mother’s or Father’s Day used to see a surge in online purchases, today it’s Chinese New Year, Chinese Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday that are leading the seasonal peaks in New Zealand. The report also added that domestic online shopping is generally higher during the week while international shopping picks up on the weekend.

Key facts on online shopping in New Zealand2

  1. Online shopping in New Zealand is growing at a rate of 1.3% and delivers 8.1% of all retail spend 
  2. New Zealanders spent a total of $3.41 billion online in 2017
  3. New Zealanders are buying smaller value items and shopping online more regularly 
  4. Offshore transactions rose 37% and spend with overseas retailers increased 23% in 2017
  5. Rural online shoppers are the largest spenders - each spent over $2,300 online in 2017

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