Archive for the ‘Going Digital’ Category

New Zealand independent book stores take on the big digital stores on their own turf

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Photo courtesy of Brenda Clarke on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Brenda Clarke on Flickr

New Zealand independent book sellers are going head to head with the big online players like Amazon by playing their game.

Independent stores such as Unity Books in Wellington and Auckland, Ponsonby Road’s Women’s Bookshop and Timeout in Mt Eden all reported good Christmas periods last year and promising growth in 2014, and they’ve made strides in the online world, too, selling e-books and physical books through their respective book stores.

Approximately 10% of sales at the Women’s Bookshop come from its online store and customers seem undeterred that its prices aren’t as competitive as Amazon.

”People are politically aware and many think that to support [tax exempt] Amazon is an unethical act. We can often get our books out to customers faster on a courier,” owner of the Women’s Bookshop, Carole Beu, said.

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Survey finds Kiwi businesses not taking advantage of digitisation

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Photo credit; Walknboston on Flickr

Photo credit; Walknboston on Flickr

PwC’s 6th Annual Digital IQ Survey suggests New Zealand companies’ technology investments may not be paying off, even though digitisation is the biggest transforming trend impacting Kiwi business.

The survey shows just one in five global business and IT executives understand what digital means for their business and how to use technology to advance their business goals, in an environment where digital spending is increasing.

“With the worldwide IT spend predicted to grow by more than 3% this year, reaching NZ$4.4 trillion, it’s crucial businesses unlock the potential of their technology investments,” PwC Partner and Digital Market Leader Paul Brabin says. ”Our study shows organisations that get it right will be twice as likely to be top performers in revenue growth, profitability and innovation.

“Technology is a great enabler, and our ability to use it well is the greatest predictor of performance. Simply put, you can’t afford to underestimate digital if you want to stay in business today.”

This finding is consistent with PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey that shows how 91% of New Zealand CEOs believe technology will be the biggest transforming trend for their business over the next five years.

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NZ business embracing mobile banking

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
Photo credit; Asim Bijarani

Photo credit; Asim Bijarani

It seems Kiwis are embracing mobile banking, if ASB’s claims are anything to go by.

The company says its relatively new Mobile Business app has seen a “remarkable uptake” in its first few weeks.

“Since the ASB Mobile Business app was launched in September, we’ve seen a rapid uptake with users authorising tens of millions of payments on-the-go every week,” says Steve Jurkovich, Executive GM of Corporate, Commercial and Rural, ASB.

“Usage of the ASB Mobile Business app is increasing rapidly week-on-week,” Jurkovich says. “This tells us that businesses owners and managers are embracing the flexibility that the app is giving them to check balances and authorise payments while balancing family and travel demands.”

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Amazon aims to help New Zealand start-ups

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Photo credit; Marciookabe on Flickr

Photo credit; Marciookabe on Flickr

Since Rod Drury and Xero showed it is possible to take on the world with a locally developed product, New Zealand has been going through a bit of a tech boom and it’s only going to get bigger.

Last month, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was in town promoting itself as the first port of call for startups wanting hosting and other cloud services.

AWS recently boosted its new company offer with the launch of AWS Activate, a bundle of services for startups providing training, user support, a community forum and credits for services. At least some of those services are free for qualifying startups.

AWS country manager Ed Lenta said he has the wave of new technology companies coming out of New Zealand in his sights.

Lenta says AWS offers startups cloud computing services so they don’t have to waste money on technology infrastructure and so they can be on equal footing with more established competitors.

Beyond that, Lenta says, AWS can also give New Zealand startups a global footprint.

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Government to aid New Zealand tech firms in entering global markets

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Photo credit; Walknboston on Flickr

Photo credit; Walknboston on Flickr

The New Zealand government aims to assist Kiwi tech companies grow and compete in the global market by investing more than NZ$3 million over the next three years to take advantage of the opportunity created by the global boom in demand for digital technologies, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said recently.

“The digital economy contributed over NZ$2 billion  in export earnings last year, and exports of computer and information services have grown at over 10 percent per annum between 2002 and 2012. Almost 75 percent of revenue from the New Zealand’s top 100 tech companies comes from international markets,” Joyce said in a statement.

“More than 62,000 people are already employed in our wider ICT sector and our investment will help create significant additional export revenues over the next four years.”

The Digital Technology High Impact Program would target support to firms working in the areas of software as a service (SAAS), web services, software development, gaming development, post production, animation and mobile technology.

Joyce also announced new repayable government grants of up to NZ$450,000  per company would be invested in start-up technology companies.

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New Zealand company takes art gallery experience online

Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Photo credit; Les Haines on Flickr

Photo credit; Les Haines on Flickr

Auckland-based takes the Asia-Pacific art world into the 21st century.

The aim of the site, co-founded by Chris Taylor and Simon Fisher, is to help collectors do due diligence on possible purchases, enabling them to see exhibitions close up and providing them with details of each work’s provenance, history and creator.

“It’s like a virtual version of an art fair with the galleries all in one place. Except we’re on all the time – that’s where our model came from,” says Taylor.

Taylor says Ocula is selective, choosing galleries in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America whose works it displays.

The new business has a number of platforms. It has a consultancy service for collectors and an auction website, Ocula Black, which has sold works worth $3 million since 2011.

For the portal, galleries choose a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription which includes a range of marketing and advertising services.

With nearly 150 galleries on its books and $1.35 million invested of their own money, Fisher and Taylor are looking for just over $1 million of funding, an 18 per cent shareholding, to market Ocula to more international galleries.

“The potential funder or funders could be from the online, e-commerce, technology, publishing, marketing or media sectors or they might be a significant art collector or private art institution,” says Fisher.

He envisages hiring about a dozen more staff, adding to two in Hong Kong and three in New Zealand.

The company is forecasting revenue in 2015 of $2.365 million rising to $6.2 million in 2018.

Sales this year are running at $400,000.

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Mobile food ordering turns out to be big business in New Zealand

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Photo credit; Sam Howzit on Flickr

Photo credit; Sam Howzit on Flickr

Ordering food over mobile devices has proven to be a boon for Wellington-based web and mobile food ordering system Mobi2Go.

Mobi2Go allows customers to place orders from tablets and smartphones at places like Hell Pizza and other eateries. It processes $2.5 million orders a month up from $1.5 million a year ago.

Chief executive Tarrik Mallet said Mobi2Go was in talks with investors to fund expansion into Australia, which has quickly become the company’s biggest market since launching there in March. Pita Pit and California Burrito are among its clients in Australia.

Mobi2Go is aimed at companies that have invested in their brand and want a dedicated website. Many of its customers are franchises.

It charges a flat monthly subscription rate regardless of the number of orders processed, so Hell Pizza pays the same as the Mt Vic Fish & Chippery.

“We spent a lot of time trying to work out what was the best model because the majority, if not all portal sites, will take a percentage of the sale,” Tarrick says. “With franchises, who are a large number of our clients, that doesn’t work, so we charge a monthly fee for as many or few orders a site has. We don’t have any term contracts and our customers attrition rate is next to nothing.”

The product was designed to be self-service so customers can go to the website, sign up and be up and running within a day for a basic site.

Most of Mobi2Go’s customers are now in Australia, with more in Singapore, Canada, Ireland, China and Costa Rica.

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Online insurance shop launched in New Zealand

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Photo credit - Alan Cleaver on Flickr

Photo credit - Alan Cleaver on Flickr

The internet continues to make it possible to do things for yourself and purchasing life insurance is one of those things.

And now, New Zealand-owned life insurance company, Fidelity Life, is celebrating a first for the life insurance industry with the launch of InsureYou – an innovative new service delivering a one stop online insurance shop.

Fidelity Life Chief Executive Milton Jennings says that direct-to-consumer online insurance sites have grown substantially in recent years and InsureYou now offers the next evolution in online insurance purchasing for New Zealanders.

“The online/direct insurance market is the fastest growing insurance market globally. Experience shows that many New Zealanders like the security of having professional advice to call on when purchasing insurance – that’s where InsureYou delivers,” says Mr Jennings.

“Compared to other nations, New Zealanders are typically underinsured. People opt out of the online purchasing process because it can be isolated without having the backup of personal advice. It’s at the times of claims during serious illness or major trauma events that people see the value in having a personal adviser. InsureYou delivers on both fronts – online convenience backed up by personal support.

“For clients themselves, InsureYou will change the way they think about insurance – no paper, no signature and no hassle, and the ability to engage an adviser if required.”

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Kathmandu bolsters online presence

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Photo credit; Jennifer Morrow on Flickr

Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Kathmandu has launched a new mobile website, which it says will be more convenient for customers browsing its online store on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

“The mobile site makes navigating and searching for information far more convenient, with less tapping, clicking and scrolling when using mobile devices,” Kathmandu said.

And the company says it’s in the process of developing additional online initiatives such as international shipping, mobile apps and services such as “click and collect”, where customers can buy a product online, then pick it up from a store.

The retailer said last month that online sales had grown by 55% in the year to July 31 and contributed 4% of total revenue.

That would equate to around $15.4 million of Kathmandu’s $384 million total sales figure in its last financial year.

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Majority of NZ money not in digital realm yet, but that’s changing

Friday, October 11th, 2013
Photo credit; Blaise Alleyne on Flickr

Photo credit; Blaise Alleyne on Flickr

New Zealanders spent $5.4 billion online last financial year according to Roy Morgan Research’s Digital Universe report, but despite that seemingly large number, Kiwi money largely remains outside the digital realm.

“The bulk of New Zealand’s net wealth is not yet in the digital universe,” Roy Morgan client services director Howard Seccombe says.

The reason for that is the baby boomers who have the wealth only deal in the fringes of digital technology. That will change over time as the boomers age out and the next generation who is more familiar with digital technologies take over.

Other findings from the report included:

  • This year’s survey shows 61% of New Zealanders are worried about their privacy,  up 11% from the survey carried out four years ago.
  • Smartphones have seen spectacular growth, with 1.4 million users. That’s a growth of 227% in four years.
  • Right now 39% of New Zealanders have smartphones.
  • The Roy Morgan numbers show smartphones amplify people’s digital behaviour. Smartphone owners are ten times as likely to shop online as non-smartphone owners, eight times as likely to bank online and nine times as likely to view video clips.
  • Roy Morgan notes a dramatic 20% decline in desktop ownership. This echoes the fall in traditional PC sales. Meanwhile tablets have grown 557% in the past four years.

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