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!
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
As with any stock-based operation, we sometimes run out of things.
The trouble is, people buy parts because they need them, not because they want them, which makes our stock levels pretty erratic and hard to predict.
If we go out of stock, we give our customers the opportunity to receive a stock notification via email. As soon as more stock is scanned into our warehouse, an email is automatically sent out to customers to let them know.
So, does it work? According to our latest figures, the answer is a resounding yes.
In the last 30 days, our stock notification emails have led to 109 visits and more than $2000 in revenue.
We sell products that are hard to get elsewhere, so it seems like people are happy to wait.
What do you think? Would you use this feature on a website?
This week we hit 3000 registered customers. You don’t have to register to buy from Need A Part, so we’re pretty stoked with that figure.
Evidently, 3000 people like us enough to make an account. Presumably they think they will use us again in the future. This is good.
…or is it?
Looking at our sales data, we can see 2846 unique registered customers. That means 154 registered customers have never actually made a purchase.
Why would you bother registering if you weren’t going to buy something? Perhaps people assume you have to register.
Of those 2846 registered customers, 1135 registered before making a purchase.
Yup. People think you have to register.
38% of our registered customers registered before making a purchase.
9% of all sales were made by people who registered before making a purchase.
In light of this, we’ll definitely be reviewing our checkout process. Currently, it looks like this:
However, I suspect it’s not completely our fault. There was a time when ecommerce sites forced you to register, but that hardly ever happens these days.
Perhaps there’s still a lingering fear that a website is going to make you register, so you might as well get it over with. Or maybe some people just think that’s how the internet works.
What was the last website you visited that made you register unnecessarily? Did you go ahead with your purchase?
I was browsing through some images on my computer and found pictures of the old Need A Part storeroom…. my bedroom. It was something that Andy and I often asked ourselves:
“Would our customers trust us if they knew we were operating out of my bedroom?”
I know that I have often wondered that when purchasing online and even more so when people began to buy items off of us.
When I started Need A Part I didn’t even hold any stock. I ordered everything as a one-off item as the customer needed it, and slowly the stock just built up until I had a small warehouse inside my bedroom. Luckily I had great flatmates that let me rent out the big room, otherwise the growth of Need A Part would have been seriously stunted.
The internet is constantly reshaping the way that we interact with each other, buy things and entertain ourselves. I suppose it is not that surprising that many websites do operate or begin life in bedrooms or home offices around the world. What do you think? Is your level of trust in a website based on an assumption that they are a “real business” operating out of an office building or the likes?