Category Archives: ecommerce

New Zealand eCommerce Statistics 2013 [Infographic]

Because infographics are so popular, we’ve put together this collection of New Zealand 2013 eCommerce statistics.

In one handy place, you’ll find:

  • How many NZ web users made at least one purchase online in 2012
  • How many New Zealanders now shop online, by age group
  • How much money will be spent online by Kiwis in 2013 and how much they’re expected to spend by 2016
  • How many Kiwis shop online by mobile and by tablet
  • What NZ Internet shoppers buy online, by category
  • How much NZ Internet shoppers spend in a typical month

The data comes from:

  • Statistics New Zealand Household Use of Information and Communication Technology 2012
  • Julian Prior, PwC interview:
  • The Nielsen Company, New Zealand 2012 The Year That Was
  • Roy Morgan Research, State Of The Nation, March 2013 [the graphic from this research comes from the NZ Herald story reporting the results]

If you’d like a copy of this infographic in full size (A4 width), email us at info (at) eCommerce (dot) org (dot) nz.

Latest New Zealand eCommerce Statistics

Statistics New Zealand has just released the latest Online Shopping figures from the Household Use of Information and Communication Technology report for 2012 — and they make fascinating reading.

Key points:


Yes, 54% of New Zealand’s 2.8 million Internet users (those aged 15 plus who went online in the last twelve months) shopped online and made at least one purchase in 2012.

If we look at individual age groups, those numbers go way up:


Typical online shopping expenditure ranges from twenty to five hundred dollars in a typical month (with a small percentage who spend a lot more):


As Statistics New Zealand notes:

It also seems that what we’re buying is changing. We’re not necessarily buying tangible items; over half of those who shopped online had at least one item delivered electronically. This may include items such as e-books, music, or e-tickets.

Looking at those who had made a purchase in the four weeks before the survey, women outnumbered men in spending a total value of up to $500, while the more expensive purchases predominantly belonged to men.

The number of people spending a total of over $2,000 online has doubled since [the previous survey, i] 2009, to reach 44,000 people in a four-week period.

If you are one of those who aren’t yet offering ecommerce on your website, NOW would be a good time to start. Check out our Mastering eCommerce course.

Click Wraps, Browse Wraps & Bad Raps

Have just read Mike O’Donnell’s latest column, and wanted to share it with you because it makes essential reading for Kiwi eCommerce operators.

Here are the most relevant points:

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of user agreements or “wraps” on eCommerce websites. One is a “click wrap” where you are presented with the terms and conditions and have to click “I agree” before proceeding.

This other is a “browse wrap” where terms and conditions are viewable on the site but your ongoing use of the site supposedly means you have agreed to them. Browse wraps do not require users to click on an “I agree” button, but assume that simply using the site signifies acceptance.

Late last year the US District Court found that eCommerce giant Zappos’ user agreement did not protect the company (or owner Amazon) from a class action brought by its customers. In fact the US Court went further than that.

First, it found the “browse wrap” style of agreement under which customers buy stuff on Zappos had no ability to bind those customers to its terms and conditions.

Second, it found a provision in Zappos’ user agreement saying it had the right to change the terms and conditions at any time (without bringing those changes to the attention of customers) was likely to be useless. The District Court called such a clause “illusory” and suggested it was unfair and likely voided an underlying arbitration clause.

Mike’s article goes on to point out that New Zealand’s own Consumer Law Reform Bill is trudging its way into the statute books, and amongst the many implications of that impending legislation are that

… the Bill prohibits businesses from having ‘unfair contract terms’ in their standard term contracts with customers … [such as] terms that allow only one party to limit performance of a contract, vary the terms, or change the price without notice.

If your ecommerce business is typical, it may well have boilerplate ‘Terms & Conditions’ that seem to reserve your right to do anything you want (without bothering to notify customers). The cruelly-exposed reality is that such T&Cs already probably mean nothing (and will mean even less in the future).

Your recommended solution? Go read the full column.

The Perils of eCommerce

Even when you think you’ve got a solid handle on eCommerce, the basics can still catch you out.

Here’s a classic example. Alas, it’s not a quaint historical tale — the item was received today, from a New Zealand operator who we’ll allow to remain anonymous.

The item carried this pricetag:

You’ll note the markdown, from $39.98 to $9.99. Nice — except that the discounted price on the website (and the price we were actually charged) was $19.99.

We bought two of this particular item, in different colours. The second item just bore the original pricetag, $39.98, with no Clearance sticker.

Sloppy Logistics

We absolutely champion the right of this online retailer to manage its pricing; it may well be that the price on this item was reduced to $9.99 on the 3rd of January and has since returned to $19.99, still a good price against an RRP of $39.98.

However the product packers should be, ahem, ticketed themselves for sending out a product bearing a clearance sticker. The packing slip bore no pricing; it’s entirely possible that the product could have been ordered at full price, which would have resulted in even more annoyance when the item was received by the purchaser.

The result of this sticky oversight: we thought we were getting a good deal at $19.99 — now we don’t. Now we consider we’ve overpaid by ten dollars an item. (Fortunately, a phone call to the seller has resulted in an equitable solution; unfortunately, it involves a trip to one of their retail stores, an outcome we’d aimed to avoid by ordering online in the first place).

Strike #2

This is the second strike against this particular merchant for this particular order; when we ordered these items (and a couple of others), the total came to around $92, with shipping calculated at a flat $10 more. Regrettably, it was only AFTER we’d confirmed the order and paid that we were reminded that shipping is free for items totalling $100 or more. We’d spent a total of $102, but had paid for shipping — if we’d realised, we’d have happily gone back and purchased something else, probably going above $102 in the process. Likely result: increased basket size, happy customer.

The website shopping cart should have been equipped with appropriate triggering code, to alert us to the fact that, just by spending a few more dollars, we would qualify for free shipping. If that was a technical difficulty, then a Free Shipping link would have been a very useful alternative.

Yes, the front page of the site does talk about free shipping, but visitors need to click through if they want more details:

Since the free shipping offer is really straightforward …

*If you spend $100 or more in a single transaction, we will deliver this to you for FREE. It’s that simple.

… why not just spell it out, with a small box on the front page and on every page of the website (including the shopping cart pages)?

Telling us after the sale is a surefire recipe for Buyer Remorse.

Free Shipping is the single most important offer you can make, to close the sale. If you’re going to make the offer, shout it from the rooftops (or at least from within your shopping cart).

Don’t Waste Your Home Page

As we enter 2013, we begin a series of tips on how to maximise your online sales. Some of these tips will be drawn from our Mastering eCommerce course, others will be inspired by new thoughts and articles that we come across online.

Our first tip, brought to mind by this article on “7 Unlucky Things You Can Do To Your Ecommerce Site in 2013”, is simply:

Don’t Waste Your Home Page Space

There are a number of ways to waste your home page’s potential: hero shots and distracting rotating banners, unclear value propositions (or none at all), irrelevant merchandising or even annoying country-selector splash pages when geolocation tools can do the job.

To put the home page in context: it’s the single most important part of your ecommerce site, the page that draws the most eyeballs. Think of it as the equivalent of the front page of a printed catalogue. In the days when we worked (during our time in ad agencies) with some of New Zealand’s largest retailers, we saw first hand that the front page is solid gold — items featured on the front page were expected to be the biggest sellers of all products in the catalogue. If they didn’t have that potential, they simply weren’t featured on the front page.

Similarly, the home page of your website needs to lead to more sales than anywhere else on your site. If it doesn’t it, change it immediately.

Let’s look at the front pages of some of NZ’s leading online retailers:

Nothing tentative about The Warehouse’s home page — and the top product panel rotates through a number of offers, in case the first three you see don’t attract you.

Another hard-selling front page, this time in the form of one-day-only deals from EziBuy.

Our leading electronics retailer, Dick Smith, similarly devotes its home page to hot product offerings.

And, unsurprisingly, we see a similar sales-centric home page approach from Farmers.

We could go on, but we think you get the idea.

Essential Home Page Components

What else should you include on your home page, apart from your latest offers and promotions?

Econsultancy editor Graham Charlton suggests 27 essential elements of an effective ecommerce homepage. In our view the ten most important are:

  • Search box
  • Store finder
  • Telephone number
  • Contact details
  • Address
  • My account / sign in
  • Shopping basket / checkout link
  • Email sign up
  • Delivery information
  • Accepted payment methods

Why You Should Consider Listing Your Products On

You may have heard about Google’s latest foray into eCommerce, Google Shopping (not currently available in NZ, at least not for New Zealand sellers).

Here, according to the New York Times, is a scary statistic which just might explain why Google is gearing up for eCommerce:

In 2009, nearly a quarter of shoppers started research for an online purchase on a search engine like Google and 18 percent started on Amazon, according to a Forrester Research study. By last year [2011], almost a third started on Amazon and just 13 percent on a search engine.

Product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year while searches on Google Shopping have been flat, according to comScore.

Stats show how outperforms the market

For more about listing your products on Amazon (and what you need to know about the US-centric retailer’s terms and conditions for international sellers), see Lesson Three of our Mastering eCommerce ecourse.

Another US-based online shopping delivery service launches

More competition for Kiwi eCommerce operators. Yet another American delivery service has decided that New Zealand represents fertile ground:

"PreZoom, a unit of i-parcel, LLC, has begun a unique new service geared specifically to New Zealand based internet shoppers, providing highly economical shipping services from the USA."

Pricing starts at "as little as NZ$19.50 for a 500g package from the United States for delivery to their door, including Customs Clearance, full tracking and tracing as well as automatic minimum compensation for lost or stolen packages." 

Virtual Agents and eCommerce

Here's a (49 minute) webinar on Virtual Agents and how they can contribute to eCommerce.

Featured Speakers:
  • Don Davis, Editor of "Internet Retailer"
  • Pam Kostka, Chief Marketing Officer of Virtu
  • OzJens Voight of Kaspersky Lab 

The webinar also includes useful U.S. stats about those who shop online.

10 Makeover Tips For Your Ecommerce Site

Dale Traxler just asked some useful questions on the Practical eCommerce blog:

“When was the last time you really looked at your online store with the same level of critique as you did when you first launched it? Are you featuring seasonal products in your featured items or are Mother’s Day gifts still at the top in August? Are your promo banners the same ones you used last month? When is the last time you created a completely new promotional idea? When did you last add a blog post? A Facebook wall post? Tweets? Do you have your “back to school” category created? Is your navigation optimized to get traffic to the right parts of your website?”

Dale’s post shares 10 Tips to refresh your site. These are our top five favourites:

  1. Clean up the site weekly. Assign someone to go through the home page, category pages, shopping cart, any other parts of your store where content might be changeable. Clear our old promotions and seasonal content. Make sure there are no missing images. Look at customer product reviews to make sure postings are appropriate. Make sure you don’t have featured products that are out of stock.
  2. Feature new products. Consumers want new products. Make sure you launch new items, and then tell your visitors about them. Create categories that feature new items. Move new items to the top of your product listings. Write a blog post about them.
  3. Rotate your promotions. If you feature daily, weekly or seasonal specials, rotate them regularly. In my previous online jewelry stores, our “sale” pages were among the most trafficked. They were the first place many visitors went. If visitors see the same promotions week after week, they stop noticing them at all.
  4. Be competitive. Pick your top five competitors and review their stores at least weekly. You may find one offering a 50-percent off sale, or a 2-for-1 deal on your best selling products. You may not decide to match the offer, but you should at least be aware of it and be prepared to modify your promotions or featured items.
  5. Product videos are becoming mandatory in some retail segments. When you shop online, note the things you like and incorporate them in your wish list for your next redesign. Investigate the amazing capabilities of CSS3 and HTML5. Your site may look dated if you don’t keep up.
For the full set of tips, head to:

eCommerce Predictions for 2015

This week's Online Retailer conference in Sydney, Australia saw plenty of predictions on the future of eCommerce. Here are just some of them, as reported via (

A peek at eCommerce 2015 from Jake Hird, eConsultancy's Director of Research:
  • QR codes, although big news at the moment, won't be here in five years, Hind believes. He reckons Near Field Communications (NFC) – the touch and tap payments technology – is the way mobile shopping is going. NFC will be widely used by consumers in the future, eConsultancy predicts.
  • Facial recognition (FR) technology, where a user's identity will be immediately recognised when they visit a particular site, will also be massive.
  • And mobile will be huge. The ecommerce guru cited the words of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: "if you don't have a mobile strategy you don't have a future strategy. "
  • Instead of the 4Ps of marketing (product, price, promotion, place), retailers should be thinking of the 4 Es – experience, everyplace, exchange and evangelism.


To see what you missed — and perhaps plan your attendance for next year, check out