A 100 per cent Kiwi owned online e-commerce marketplace is encouraging New Zealanders to support Kiwi-owned businesses and keep hard-earned dollars in New Zealand.

Buy Kiwi hopes to capture 0.5 per cent of the fast-growing e-commerce online market – $29m a year – before 2027.

Buy Kiwi, based in Parnell, Auckland, supports only New Zealand businesses. Since its launch 12 months ago it has registered more than 500 local businesses and listed more than 40,000 products for sale.

Buy Kiwi director, Scott Russell, says Buy Kiwi was funded by ‘mum and dad’ shareholder investors, all Kiwis who care deeply for the future of New Zealand.

“There’s no other Kiwi-owned marketplace like this in New Zealand. Buy Kiwi can help you find your local plumber, electrician, or beautician and have the confidence you’re supporting a New Zealand owned business.”

Last year New Zealanders spent more than $6bn online, with the average shopper making 27 purchases. But many businesses who service their local communities and are registered with Buy Kiwi do not have an online presence, a problem that registering with Buy Kiwi helps them solve.

With Buy Kiwi, they get nationwide reach, thus extending their customer base, gaining that economy of scale and creating jobs. The platform also permits local businesses to supply and sell their products.

“We help local businesses thrive for the greater good of their local communities and the jobs they create,” Russell says. “Also, by shopping with New Zealand businesses, purchases are covered by New Zealand’s Consumer Guarantees Act, which may not be the case when you make purchases overseas.”

The growth in Buy Kiwi’s market share is rapid, increasing almost 100 percent a quarter, despite retail spending falling 1.8 per cent in the current recession and many businesses struggling with traditional sales channels due to the current consumer discretionary spend squeeze.

Shannon Munro, Buy Kiwi Brand Ambassador.

“It’s your mum and dad businesses that are getting pushed out to the edge of the market, and it’s those businesses we are also trying to support. It’s quite hard for a small business to get that cut-through,” says Russell.

Buy Kiwi assists in that cut-through by its offering of scale, size, and marketing so that more businesses are seen by more people.  

“Each month our reach is doubling – we are getting our name out there and people are understanding what we do. Kiwis want to support Kiwis.”

The problem is, Russell notes, that many online shops and marketplaces that may have a ‘co.nz’ website are not actually New Zealand owned. Feedback indicates many Kiwis feel duped when they order from a ‘.co.nz’ website only to find out it is an overseas based/owned company. All businesses registered with Buy Kiwi are at least 80 per cent New Zealand owned and are connected to customers through its online platform.

“Most of us do want to buy from Kiwi businesses, not just funnel money out of New Zealand to foreign owned companies and marketplaces. Shopping locally helps keep jobs in New Zealand and creates a thriving local community.”

While Buy Kiwi is assisting businesses to extend their reach, Russell says the most challenging aspect of the start up was getting its own name out. “That’s been the hardest part of our job to be honest, getting the word out has certainly been challenging, but the message seems to be resonating with people. It’s been old fashioned hard work and a
huge amount of effort, but ultimately the product is good.”  

“We are trying to move the market share from international businesses to New Zealand businesses and if we can do that we are succeeding, it keeps money in New Zealand, and everybody wins.

“It’s not necessarily about spending more but where we spend our hard-earned dollars. If each Kiwi could divert $25 of spend a week from overseas companies to Kiwi-owned businesses, that’s an extra $5bn a year that will stay in New Zealand. It just goes to show that together, we can make a real difference and every little bit counts.”

View a list of Buy Kiwi vendors here.

Story by Dave Crampton

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