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New Zealand exporters are realising the opportunity of selling online.In a recent DHL Rapid Response Survey, 88 percent of exporters surveyed stated they perceive the growth of online shopping to be an opportunity as opposed to a threat. Even of those exporters that don’t currently sell their products online, 80 percent still perceive the
online retail as an opportunity.
However just under half (46 percent) of exporters surveyed sell their products online. Furthermore, of those that sell online, the majority of exporters (40 percent) only sell about one to five percent of their total sales via the Internet.
“The response by exporters reflects the overall situation, that New Zealand is very much in the early stages of
adopting and embracing online sales. Especially compared to countries such as the US and UK," says Tim Baxter, DHL country manager New Zealand. "While the majority of exporters see the potential opportunity presented by online
exports, only a minority are capitalizing on this opportunity and maximizing their sales potential.”
The survey also revealed that there is a divide between those exporters who have embraced the online retail environment and those who have not. Of those exporters that sell online, 65 percent have an online strategy with a further 15 percent planning to develop one this year. Furthermore, 59 percent of exporters that sell online use
some form of analytics tools to track customer behaviour on their website.
Exporters are also beginning to offer multiple channels for customers to purchase their product. Of those exporters that sell online, the majority (55 percent) sell via their own website, 23 percent sell via retailers, 13 percent sell via their own retail outlets and nine percent sell via a third party website.
“It’s positive to see exporters providing customers multiple channels to purchase and taking advantage of the large well-established third party websites. These can become conduits to purchasers at home and abroad and can increase the profile of a company in a global e-commerce environment. When coupled with a sustainable and reliable delivery
solution, exporters can have access to any market in the world,” says Baxter.
In contrast, of those exporters that don’t sell online, the vast majority of exporters (45 percent) primarily sell their products via someone else’s retail store. A considerable 20 percent of exporters still rely on their own bricks and mortar retail stores as the primary sales channel, with only 35 percent selling via both their own and third party stores.
“The cost of bricks and mortar retail models makes international expansion a barrier for many smaller organizations and overseas retailers take a large cut of the profit. Online retail creates a unique opportunity to maximize local profits,” says Baxter. 

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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