Jared Handcock opens up with, “Don’t be scared. It’s not as difficult as you may think.” That’s his advice to online retailers thinking about promoting their products to customers beyond New Zealand. “Online shopping is borderless,” he says, “and that means there are people right around the world looking for unique products. New Zealand’s reputation for quality and innovation puts Kiwi retailers in a great position to capatalise on this.”
Despite all the disruptions in international supply chains due to Covid-19, the opportunity to find global customers got even bigger in 2020, with NZ Post handling over 8.6 million packages destined for overseas shoppers. That’s over 3.7 million kilos of product. And where are all these products being shipped to? It seems all over the world, with NZ Post delivering goods to over 150 countries in 2020. The key markets are Australia, UK and the US. Handcock says, “These are easier markets for Kiwi retailers to get into because of the common language, lifestyle and preferences.” But these aren’t the only countries experiencing growth. Japan and China have seen a steady rise especially in natural goods like honey, skincare and wellbeing products. A similar range of products are driving strong growth in parts of the Middle East.
Handcock sees Australia as the easiest opportunity for retailers. “Kiwi retailers should see customers in Australia the same way they see inter-island customers.” Australian shoppers are embracing online, with growth of over 50% in 20201. The most popular Kiwi goods include baby clothes, activewear, arts and crafts and wellbeing products.
NZ Post’s GoAustralia product taps into the local Australian delivery network, meaning that for most Aussie shoppers delivery times are the same, or better, than buying locally. Handcock’s advice is, “Be open and transparent that a product is coming from New Zealand and be very clear what your returns policy is so customers feel comfortable to test you out.”
Customers in the UK are finding it much easier to buy from Kiwi retailers since changes to how VAT is handled. British customers are looking for quality, often buying products like woollen baby clothes, sheep skins and knitwear. “There’s also a steady stream of Kiwiana purchases,” Handcock points out, “with lollies, biscuits, chocolates and other slices from home being shipped to ex-pat Kiwis.”
UK has one of the highest rates of online shopping in the world so delivery expectations are high. NZ Post’s GoUK product links into the extensive local 24-hour delivery network, meaning that most packages get there well within ten days. During lockdowns in 2020, NZ Post saw a rise in door-to-door delivery to the UK, with customers paying more to ensure faster, and more certain, delivery times.
The US is a little more complex but many small Kiwi businesses, across a number of sectors, have found opportunities throughout the country. “Shopper preferences and behaviours change from the east to the west coast, and mid-America is different again,” points out Handcock. “Regardless of location, Americans are used to buying online and managing their expectations is crucial. Ensure you have a number of delivery options.” He also advises retailers to be very accurate in their customs descriptions as this is a key reason for shipping delays into the US.
NZ Post’s GoUSA products connects with local delivery networks ensuring coverage everywhere and a delivery experience customers are used to.
Jared Handcock sums up by pointing out how fast online shopping is growing. “Kiwis are buying from all over the world. Kiwi retailers have to approach their business the same way, seeing the whole world as potential customers.” He reinforces, “It’s not as difficult as you may think,” and encourages retailers to talk to their NZ Post relationship manager about how to make the most of the massive global opportunity.