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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boatersisland.com has them for US$15.99 – which is great.
Yet their registration form looks like this..
..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!
But sadly they only ship to Australia. Useless.
Octapc advertised through Google adwords, but has no Zumos. And their site is very poor.
I jumped in, ordered using the ridiculous form, suffered through an archaic process including a declined credit card with an incorrect error message.
(The number was actually right, the name wasn’t.)
So there it is – NZ$53.50 for a US $15.99 cable.
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?
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.