Why living in NZ sucks, and how you can profit

I want another power cable for my Zumo motorcycle GPS unit. It’s so I don’t have to rip the one out of my KTM here in Perth, which gives me the option of doing an epic KTM sand tour again later this year.

So I Googled “Zumo Power Cable”, and find DirectDepot – a US store that has one in stock. I got through the checkout process, only to find that they do not ship out of the USA. Useless.
DirectDepot

I try http://www.challengermotors.co.nz/, but while they sell the Zumo units, they have only 126 products in stock and no Zumo cables. Useless.

Christchurch store http://www.mapworld.co.nz/ has Garmin GPS’s, and even mention the cable. But they have no store – only a phone and email. How am I going to buy? (It’s Saturday 10pm in NZ). I sent them an email. Whatever. Useless.

Garmin.com only gives me the world’s most random assortment of countries to ship to when I sign up.
Garmin
Useless.

I sent their CS staff an email as well. That was tough – as their support services seemed to be only by telephone, and only during strange hours. However I managed to find a buried link, and this time I was even able to select my country.
garmin

Amazon had the cable, a slick process and knew me. But the pricks won’t ship me a cable. That’s right – they won’t send a fucking cable, but they will send DVDs, books and what not.
Amazon. Wankers. Actually it is Garmin's fault.
I have to admit that Amazon has lost a lot of my business in the last few years – I used to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books each few months, but shenanigans like this have destroyed my trust. Useless.

eBay.com.au will sell me a Zumo car charger cable, but not a motorcycle charger cable

The http://www.downunderpilotshop.com.au (everything Aviation) looks promising, but their price is – well AU$45 for a cable.

Trade Me gives me one response – and that’s a music CD.
Trade Me

Boatersisland.com has them for US$15.99 – which is great.
Boaterisland
Yet their registration form looks like this..
Boaterisland

..and I don’t know whether they can ship to NZ. I suspect not and I’m still smarting from Amazon and Direct Depot. Useless.

Remember – this is Garmin’s fault (at least for Amazon) – they can allow Amazon to ship if they want to.

Ryda.com.au looked promising, but no cable in sight. I tried their amusing search (check the word Zumo below) and yes – there was one for $27.85. Just look at that saving!
Ryda
Ryda

But sadly they only ship to Australia. Useless.
Ryda

Octapc advertised through Google adwords, but has no Zumos. And their site is very poor.
Octapc

Useless

I went back to downunderpilot.com.au shop, hesitated at the form, then noticed they had a NZ shop. WooHoo.

I jumped in, ordered using the ridiculous form, suffered through an archaic process including a declined credit card with an incorrect error message.
Pilotshop nz

(The number was actually right, the name wasn’t.)

So there it is – NZ$53.50 for a US $15.99 cable.
dowununderpilot

The Downunderpilot.co.nz site feels so 1999, the price is wacko and it’s aimed at pilots for goodness sake. But good on them for being there and for having the Zumo cable available.

Why it sucks to live in NZ and Australia

In the USA or the UK I would simply go to Amazon or Garmin, order the  cable, and it would be there the next day or the day after that. And it would be cheap.

So  why is it so hard for Kiwis?
Why are overseas retailers not able to ship to New Zealand? (The suppliers tell them not to so the local distributors can charge monopoly rents)
Why are NZ retailers so poor with product selection, price and usability? (Our market is too small becasue suppliers treat us as a market, where we are ust part of the world like everyone else)
Why does it have to take so long to receive stuff? (We live a long way from critical mass, but if I can get a package from the USA in 3 days then anyone can)

So if you have got this far (and I’d apologise for ranting, but it is just so much fin) then here’s a business opportunity. Don’t worry – there are plenty of opportunities to go around.

1: Go and have a look at Torpedo7 and Fishpond.
Right – both operate out of New Zealand, have ecommerce stores in each domain and quickly service Australia and New Zealand. They treat the CER region as one country, have favourable GST breaks and can ship really quickly. So should you.

2: Look around the ecommerce space in the USA. Pick an area/store that is not represented (well) in New Zealand and Australia and that you feel will do well. Don’t be greedy and pick two or more – that’s doing what Ferrit did, and not doing what gameplanet, torpedo7 or fishpond did.
Talk it up on twitter and blogs so that if anyone else is doing it they will let you know, and you can do something else. No kidding – tell people now, and make sure you really have done your search for competitors. You did check Trade Me and eBay.com.au right? There is nothing worse than a “suprise” competitor that already owns the market.

3: Go and find suppliers that can drop ship, give you goods on consignment, get you good prices and just get you goods. Buy some of the 20% that you will need to ship fast, but keep your inventory low to save on cash spend – it’s going to start slow.

4: Build an online store. Copy shamelessly from the good ones like Apple, and do not ever outsource because that will cost you a fortune.

5: Get the word on the streets. Don’t spend much money – the best growth is organic. A few google ads and great service are all you need.

6: Call me, give me 5% of the company (or try Rowan Simpson) and put me on your board and quick dial so that you get free advice without having to read my rants. Seriously – share the equity around – use equity not cash where you can, and bring along a bunch of friends on the journey with you. After all – who wants to be a lonely multi millionaire?

7: Profit.
Oh – and watch your cash flow. Inventory can kill you and so will expensive board members. Don’t quit your day job until it is really obvious you can.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
This entry was posted in Australia Business, Business, Internet Business, NZ Business. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Why living in NZ sucks, and how you can profit

  1. Dave says:

    global.ebay.com, the eBay site that only lists sellers that will ship internationally to your region, has 8 results for “zumo power cable”, five of which are motorcycle cables. Shipping costs vary wildly but there is at least one that will ship USPS priority mail which is relatively cheap.

  2. William says:

    I find retailers not shipping to NZ very frustrating as I buy a lot of gear from US online retailers. Fortunately I have relatives in the US that are prepared to on-ship goods to me. I can usually save about 60% on items buying this way, but sometimes online stores even require a US credit card for the purchase.

    There are a number of US based shipping companies set up solely to get around the international shipping restrictions. They provide you with a US shipping address and then forward the goods to you. I have not used any of these, but have heard of people that do. Here is one such company that will ship to NZ – http://www.bongous.com
    The shipping and handling costs look quite high, but for items you can’t get in NZ this is a good option.

  3. Don says:

    Then occasionally one comes across gold dust. http://www.nzsailing.net/ seem to have taken your advice to heart. Simple web site. Email query answered within minutes, order delivered in 1 day.

    And much cheaper than retail.

  4. Josh says:

    Lance,

    Probably not a useful offer but if you need to ship to the UK, you can send it to me and I will post to you. Not cost effective, but…

    Send me an email if so

  5. Karlos says:

    Garmin gives you as much problems if you own an aircraft. I wanted a CD with simulator software for a Garmin G1000. I had a link from an American colleague where to buy it from Garmin directly. The browser settings yet, took me to the German website where the product was not available.

    O.K., so I called Garmin Germany. They said, they don’t treat the Avionics-stuff, I should call the Garmin partner in Berlin, which is an installing company. They said, Garmin doesn’t know a damn, they would only install the G1000 but do not sell anything else, I should call Garmin in the US.

    Garmin in the US would not open a customer account with my German address, I should provide one in the US or call Garmin Germany….

    I still don’t have the f***ing CD and I am about to sell my plane again to get rid of this disappointing Garmin adventure for a 30 Dollar software…

  6. Brilliant

    I’m up for 5% as well – less ranty but still useful.

  7. Pingback: Well done Trade Me, but the threat remains « Lance Wiggs

  8. lateron says:

    Diddums!

  9. Terry Nickell says:

    I enjoy the ebusiness because of the passive income and i don’t have to clean toilets, stalls, horse faeces or play with horses in the breeding shed. it is great, and my wife does not have to work of the weekends to help support my beer habit. e-business is the way to go because US companies are poor quality, incompetent, $$$ hungry, and inefficient, hence, why the US is bankrupt.

  10. Sue says:

    Great posting, Lance! Its annoying when sellers on Amazon do that to international buyers. They can generate soo much revenue from people like us, but they prefer not to..wonder why?! I had asked some of my friends to bring back things while they were visiting US but that lastest not too long :) One of my Aunt suggested using something called a parcel forwarding co. I tried a few of them like BongoUs, MyUs and Shipito. Out of allt he three I found Shipito had the best customer ratings, discounted international shipping rates and wayyy faster than the others. Hope this might help some of your readers!

  11. Hayden says:

    Its great you make the effort to shop around internationally, this is what most New Zealanders would do when looking for things they need:

    1) Check trademe – nothing.

    2) Go to a physical store – maybe possibly they have one.But its very expensive. The retailer tries to tell you its a “privilege” they have got one got one , and that your “lucky”, because few other shops stock them in New Zealand. They smile as you when you try to explain to them, that there is a lot of demand here and why there is not more available, as they take your money.

    3) Look the item up on Google, New Zealand ONLY search for item (buying overseas is just way to scary). Found a place a little cheaper than the physical store by a few dollars, but still expensive. I now think I have got a bargain !!!.

  12. Hayden says:

    Terry:

    Hey if you think US retailers are bad, try reversing it and going an experment I just did. Pretend your a US resident wanting to buy off a New Zealand site, and for your order to be posted to the US.

    A lot of New Zealand sites dont list ANYTHING about international orders, because its less common to recieve overseas orders here. In the US they receive them more often so they know the postage rates and can quote right away, and also most already have an “International Shipping Policy”, in place so they know if they can ship to you or not.

    On New Zealand sites, for international orders they a lot of the time say something like this “We MAY be able to post overseas please email us first, we can not work out postage costs yet”. That causes a delay in an order sometinmes up to a few days.

    So if you were a US resident buying of a New Zealand website, do you think we would look efficent as a whole ??. And take into account our localtion, and (through no fualt of our own), the long shipping times from New Zealand because of our location.

  13. Jyoti says:

    Well see i’ve had good experience with shopping online and getting things delivered to NZ but yes have had the few hicks with shipping BUT its not the best in NZ either… i’ve used fishpond twice and both times it has been the crappiest service i’ve ever gotten online.

    I ordered books which they told me would be delivered in a couple of days, they got to me 3 weeks later.. ordered a PSP as a present for someone, should have been delivered the next business day… TWO WEEKS it took them 2 weeks and they just dont give a crap that they are giving shit service… i live in auckland city they operate mainly from auckland city.. so how does an order take 2 or 3 weeks to get to me (20minutes away from their warehouse) when the item is shipped within 24 hours of receiving the order?

    see heres the thing… because we are so limited with online stores in nz people like fishpond feel they can give you crap service and not bother to make up for it because wat are you going to do? go to a retail store and spend twice as much?

    The only thing that pisses me off more then racists is sh%t service. If you dont know anything about customer service dont get into the busines… aaahhh feel so much better now that i’ve gotten it out of my system.

  14. hey says:

    look who ever started this campaighn needs to stop is idiotic I mean I am from nz and im proud to be cuz we dont discrimonate against gays and lesbian in our military and all together are country and hey america the dont ask dont tell plocicy was stupid idea you hear that bill clinton stupid and gay marriage is acceppet widely in nz accept for a couple people here and there and its legal al over the country so yeah just rubbing it in

    • rob bolbot says:

      hey.it looks a little like English ,but I can’t understand a word your’e saying!campaighn? discrimonate?idotic?plocicy?acceppet? paid attention at school?yeah right !how do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you enter a load of gibberish like this! i’m from ripoff Britain,and if you think your’ not getting royally shafted here-MAAATE YOURE DREAMIN!!!

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