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Plucky Marketplace Startup Grows Amidst Retail Downturn, Urges Kiwis To 'Buy Local' Online

Amidst a New Zealand retail downturn, a 100 per cent Kiwi owned online e-commerce marketplace is urging New Zealanders to support Kiwi-owned businesses and keep their hard-earned dollars in New Zealand.

Buy Kiwi hopes to capture 0.5 per cent of the fast-growing e-commerce online market - $29m a year – before 2027. Buy Kiwi, based in Parnell, Auckland, supports only New Zealand businesses and since its launch 12 months ago it has registered more than 500 local businesses and listed more than 40,000 products for sale.

Buy Kiwi director, Scott Russell, says Buy Kiwi was funded by ‘mum and dad’ shareholder investors, all Kiwis who care deeply for the future of New Zealand. “There's no other Kiwi-owned marketplace like this in New Zealand. Buy Kiwi can help you find your local plumber, electrician, or beautician and have the confidence you're supporting a New Zealand owned business,” says Russell.

Last year New Zealanders spent more than $6bn online, with the average shopper making 27 purchases. But many businesses who service their local communities and are registered with Buy Kiwi do not have an online presence, a problem that registering with Buy Kiwi helps them solve.

With Buy Kiwi, they get nationwide reach, thus extending their customer base, gaining economy of scale and creating jobs. The platform also permits local businesses to supply and sell their products.

“We help local businesses thrive for the greater good of their local communities and the jobs they create,” Russell says. “Also, by shopping with New Zealand businesses, purchases are covered by New Zealand's Consumer Guarantees Act, which may not be the case when you make purchases overseas.”

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The growth in Buy Kiwi’s market share is rapid, increasing almost 100 percent a quarter, despite retail spending falling 1.8 per cent in the current recession and many businesses struggling with traditional sales channels due to the current consumer discretionary spend squeeze.

The problem is, Russell notes, that many online shops and marketplaces that may have a ‘’ website are not actually New Zealand owned. Feedback indicates many Kiwis feel duped when they order from a ‘’ website only to find out it is an overseas based/owned company. All businesses registered with Buy Kiwi are at least 80 per cent New Zealand owned.

“Most of us do want to buy from Kiwi businesses, not just funnel money out of New Zealand to foreign owned companies and marketplaces. Shopping locally helps keep jobs in New Zealand and creates a thriving local community.”

“It’s not necessarily about spending more but where we spend our hard-earned dollars. If each Kiwi could divert $25 of spend a week from overseas companies to Kiwi-owned businesses, that’s an extra $5bn a year that will stay in New Zealand. It just goes to show that together, we can make a real difference and every little bit counts.”

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