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.
I have to say that we were in fine company. The other finalists in our category were:
thesleepstore.co.nz (runner up)
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.
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.
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
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!
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.