Christmas Season 2014

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Happy Holidays,

Over the holiday season our operations will be slightly different.

Dispatch

We have recently migrated our stock to a third party warehouse, Contract Logistics. This means that orders will still be dispatched through the holiday period although dispatching will not take place on statutory holidays.

Orders will be dispatched on the following days:

  • Monday 22 December
  • Tuesday 23 December
  • Wednesday 24 December (Christmas Eve)
  • Monday 29 December
  • Tuesday 30 December
  • Wednesday 31 December (News Year)

Customer Support

Our customer care team is on holiday from Wednesday 24 December – Tuesday 6 January. That means that any web enquiries, special order and backlist items will be quoted in the new year when we return.

The toll free number (0508 633 327) and our email will be monitored for any urgent matters over this time.

 

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Need A Part is Auckland’s Top Online Shop!

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NZ Post have honoured needapart.co.nz with the Top Shop Online Retailer award in 2014

Andy and Jared from Need A Part accepting the Award from Jamie at NZ Post. Jared Tasker, Jamie McEwan, Andy Abel

We entered the Auckland region Top Shop awards and won our category: Online Retailer. It is an honour to hold this title. I feel like it recognises the hard work that Andy and I have put in to needapart.co.nz over the last 5 years.

Finalists

I have to say that we were in fine company. The other finalists in our category were:

thesleepstore.co.nz (runner up)

Sleepstore Screenshot

The sleep store sells a huge range of products for people with young children. Their website is built on top of the Jbiz platform and has quality photography on all of their products.

tradedepot.co.nz

TradeDepot Screenshot

Trade Depot is an online home improvement store and does a better job than the traditional home improvement giants with their online offering. Their website is built on top of Adobe Business Catalyst.

Winners

This is what Michele A’Court, the Awards MC, read out as we took the podium:

“The judges said this website really portrayed the branding and personality of Need A Part. It is fun and quirky and offers a wide range of appropriate products. It is easy to navigate and the checkout process is straightforward. Overall an enjoyable website experience”

This is great feedback! “It is easy to navigate and the checkout process is straightforward”. You cannot possibly know how many discussions and development hours have been spent trying to achieve a “straightforward” checkout process.

Andy and I have frequent discussions on how to improve our customer’s online experience. We have a rule: Get the customer from A to B as fast as possible. To help with this, we ask a bunch of questions:

  • Why has the user arrived to our site?
  • What do they want?
  • How can we best deliver that information?

We only collect contact information we require for the task, and we don’t add in extra steps trying to up sell customers.

Basically we think about the features we hate when buying online and don’t do those things.

It is worth noting that needapart.co.nz was the only mobile-friendly website in our category. With the rise in mobile and tablet devices it is now a given that a website needs to be mobile-friendly.

If a quarter of your customers coming in to your store were in wheelchairs you would accommodate them. Trying to use a website built for desktop computers on your mobile phone takes a lot patience and sometimes just doesn’t work. Just like a customer bound to a wheelchair may not enter your store if the aisles are too narrow and stock at unreachable heights; mobile users are likely to find someone else if your site is too difficult for them to use.

Who we sat with

The Need A Part team found itself sharing a table with New Zealand Post and its guests from Pumpkin Patch as well as Bloom cupcakes (another award finalist). We shared a wonderful dinner and had a fantastic time celebrating with the Pumpkin patch marketing team.

Jeff and Ann from Bloom Cupcakes

Jeff and Ann from Bloom Cupcakes

Bloom cupcakes were my favourite for the evening. Their enthusiasm when they reached the podium was infectious, not to mention this gold quote, “Winning this Top Shop Award is the icing on the cupcake” by Ann Margaret (Bloom Cupcakes owner). Not only did they take out the Meridian Energy food and beverage Award but they were named the runner up to the regional winners!

Thanks

The sponsors of the Online Retailer award category was New Zealand Post! This is fitting since New Zealand Post has released some of the API’s that have helped us build a “straightforward” checkout process.

I would like to thank New Zealand Post and Courier Post for all of the work they put into helping small businesses distribute their product and keep their customer informed along the way.

Top Shop online retailer Category winner

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Top Shop Awards Tonight!

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Need A Part is a Finalist in the Auckland region Online Retailer Category

I am so excited to be attending the Auckland / Northland region Top Shop Awards event tonight. This is one in a number of exciting things for Need A Part since our move to Auckland 4 months a go.

We are finalists in the online category which is sponsored by our friends at New Zealand Post. I feel like this represents NZ Post’s change to focus on the present and future of communications and delivery of parcels. We have definitely benefited from this by using some of their awesome software to provide a more satisfying customer experience on www.needapart.co.nz. Namely the tracking notifications API allows us to keep customers informed on the progress of their delivery.

Retail NZ has done an awesome job so far of this event and even got me to sign up to the Uber app by giving us $20 off our taxi fares to and from the awards dinner. Nice work Retail NZ.

I hope that we are named as the winners of our category this evening. I am also super stoked with placing as finalists this year. Andy and I have put in a lot of effort to Need A Part over the last 5 years. It is not easy trying to change industry perceptions, develop the systems (our whole site is coded from the ground up by Andy Abel), and grow a profitable business all at the same time. We have had a lot of support from our family, peers and other people in the industry.

It is an honour to be named as finalists and my fingers are crossed for this evening.

Need A Part sends stock all over the world from Auckland

Need A Part sends stock all over the world from Auckland

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Top Shop Finalist

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Need A Part is a Finalist in the Auckland region Online Retailer Category

 

Need A Part has been selected as one of the finalists in the online retailer category for the Auckland region. We are told there were nearly 200 entries in the Auckland region! So to say the least we are excited to rank as finalists.

Andy and I spend a large portion of our time improving our website so that customers come away with a good experience. Being named as a finalist in this category is an awesome recognition of the focus on design and user interface that we strive for.

Thanks Retail NZ and NZ Post (the sponsor of the online category). We look forward to the awards dinner in October!

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We feature in a New Zealand Post case study

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We have been privileged to work closely with NZ Post over the last couple of years to integrate a selection of their API’s into our website. These API’s not only make our jobs easier, but also give our customers a more enjoyable online experience.

You will note that a lot of our blog posts in past have been about NZ Post. That is because they truly have got alongside Need A Part and worked with us to deliver an awesome service to our customers.

Take a look at the case study that they recently produced.

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The Move

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A moving story:

A fortnight ago we moved our operations from Wellington to Auckland, taking up an opportunity offered by NZ Post to run Need A Part out of the Contract Logistics warehouse.

Andy wrapping up the pallets ready to go.

Andy wrapping up the pallets ready to go

5 Pallets in total waiting to be loaded up.

Ellise from contract logistics organised a NZ Post truck to pick up our stock

Andy stands with the NZ Post truck

NZ Post have been a big part of this move

Last pallet is up on the truck.

Loaded and ready to go. This is the last delivery that will go from Need A Part in Wellington

Showered and a fresh brew of coffee from Fidel's. Jared is ready to hit the road

Showered and a fresh brew of coffee from Fidel’s. I am ready to hit the road

 

With the last of my household stuff the Corolla is ridding pretty low.

With the last of my household stuff the Corolla is riding pretty low

 

It has long been in Need A Parts plan to relocate to Auckland to be closer to our suppliers, retailer head offices and increase the speed of parcel delivery. You may remember that in May some of the executives from NZ Post came and visited us in our humble Wellington offices. This visit has opened up a number of opportunities for us and our move to operate from Contract Logistics is just the first one.

 

5 pallets with a palletjack amongst the contract logistic racking

Our pallets arrived at Contract Logistics. Now to relocate the stock

Put it away

All of our stock has to be scanned in to new locations

Giant racking

This place is massive

Caryn came down to help us set up

Caryn came down to help us set up

Contract Logistics outwards goods

Contract Logistics outwards goods

Contract Logistics inwards goods

Contract Logistics inwards goods

Caryn and Jared working the a pile of new stock arrivals

Wife and Husband receiving team. (Caryn is going to hate this)

There are exciting times ahead people. Our parcels are going out faster, there is heaps of space for new product and we now able to start increasing our volumes. Thank you to New Zealand Post and the team of people that have helped us get here. This has been a milestone that we have worked hard to reach and you have made it so much simpler.

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Any ideas for our team t-shirts?

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Andy and I are tired of walking around shirtless at the Need A Part HQ. It would also be fairly awkward and potentially illegal for new team members to be subjected to this.

“Brrrr, its a bit chilly in here..” – Andy Abel (just the other day at Need A Part HQ)

These are our plans for T-Shirts. What are you ideas?

Dispatch team T-Shirt

Dispatch team T-Shirt

Development team T-Shirt

Development team T-Shirt

 

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Sorry no more pick ups

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no more pick ups in newtown

Need A Part is growing. Yuss!! We are super busy making sure that all of our parcels are dispatched on time.

There are a lot of changes happening in at the Need A Part HQ including a shift to Auckland. Unfortunately these changes will affect our customers that have enjoyed the experience of picking up from our office in Newtown, Wellington. We will no longer be offering pick ups as we move to a new warehouse location.

Our new facility is not staffed at regular hours and does not have an area for our customers to visit due to forklifts and other machinery operating. Not to mention it will be in Auckland which will be a long drive for my Berhampore neighbours.

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Global domination

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Customers from across the globe have ordered parts from Need A Part

If this was a game of Risk Need A Part would be well on its way to world domination.

It seems that when people from all over the world can’t find parts for their appliances locally they turn to Need A Part in little New Zealand in the far corner of the world.

It always strikes me as strange when we get an order coming through from Australia as a lot of our stock shares that origin. We have had sales from many countries over the last few months since we altered our checkout to allow customers outside of Australia and New Zealand to purchase.

So far we have dispatched orders to:

  • Australia
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Cook Islands
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Israel
  • Malaysia
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

In our office it is often said that “you can’t sell something you don’t have”. Exporting our products has shown us many people are happy to wait up to 10 days delivery if they know they can get what they are looking for.

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NZ Post executives visit growing business

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Pictured left to right: Ashley Smout, Chief Operating Officer, Mail and Communications, NZ Post - Paul Trotman, Chief Operating Officer, ECL - Mike Stewart, GM Business Performance and Optimisation, ECL Corporate Support - Jo Avenell, Group General Manager People & Capability - Matt Reddish, Solution Integration Specialist,  Customer Solutions Marketing and Strategy - Janet Selwood, Group Executive Manager, CEO's Office

Jared & Andy (front) with the delegation from NZ Post

Last Tuesday a delegation of NZ Post executives visited our Need A Part offices in Wellington to see our implementation of some of the NZ Post APIs and get a feel for the needs of a growing distribution business.

Andy and I are often saying that we are more a tech company than we are just another e-commerce retailer. Flexible software is at the core of Need A Part’s business model. We spend a large amount of our time working on our existing software or creating new software in order to make spare parts and consumables easy for our customers, suppliers and NZ retailers.

NZ Post has a dedication to systems and software that support their customers, so it has been a natural choice to use NZ Post as our parcel carrier.

“Need A Part is privileged to work closely with NZ Post as our business grows and requirements change.”

To be honest we were only expecting a couple of people so when there were 9 of us crammed in to our small office it was fairly exciting. We spent 10 minutes talking about our custom software and how we operate, and another 30 minutes answering questions. All of the questions that they asked us really focused on what can they do better to improve their service for Need A Part and similar small operators.

Our suggestions included making more data available in their APIs, expanding delivery options, third party logistics designed for small consignments and improving the systems that their customer service staff have access to.

Need A Part is privileged to work closely with NZ Post as our business grows and requirements change. Thanks to the team that visited. You are always welcome to call on us.

Pictured left to right:

  • Ashley Smout, Chief Operating Officer, Mail and Communications, NZ Post
  • Paul Trotman, Chief Operating Officer, ECL
  • Mike Stewart, GM Business Performance and Optimisation, ECL Corporate Support
  • Jo Avenell, Group General Manager People & Capability
  • Matt Reddish, Solution Integration Specialist, Customer Solutions Marketing and Strategy
  • Janet Selwood, Group Executive Manager, CEO’s Office

Not Pictured (Photographer):

  • Rob Holmes, Head of Online, NZ Post
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