New 'ShopKiwi' website encourages shoppers to support local businesses

Online shopping
ShopKiwi offers free sign-up for NZ owner-operator businesses. Photo credit: Getty.

A new website is helping New Zealand businesses get back up and running by encouraging Kiwis to shop local.

'ShopKiwi' contains a broad range of local and imported products, encouraging shoppers to think about where they spend their money.  Sign-up is free for New Zealand-owned and operated businesses, helping them to recover lost cash flow following the COVID-19 lockdown.

The website's founders, Buy New Zealand made CEO Ryan Jennings and ShopKiwi manager Dane Ambler said that it addresses a gap to support businesses that import products but still contribute to the local economy.

"There’s [been] a lot of talk about buying local and New Zealand-made...but a lot of Kiwi businesses don’t make their products here," Ambler said.

"Some of them are 100 percent New Zealand-owned and operated, they make a substantial contribution to the economy, and we don’t want them to be forgotten."

Services and supply are included, along with product categories such as computers and electronics, giftware and pets and vets. Each listing is linked to the business's website or social media page.

"The range of businesses listed includes everything from hemp-growing through to tuxedos for dogs," Ambler added.

Under COVID-19 alert level 2, businesses have now resumed trading, with many asking Kiwis to help them survive by putting their money behind local businesses, rather than shop on international websites.

"Buying from these businesses will help keep the economy rolling and most importantly keep Kiwis in jobs," Ambler added. 

The website currently has around 140 businesses signing up each day, with many more expected over the coming weeks.  

Tracking Kiwis' buying intentions before and after COVID-19 lockdown, a survey by business consultants Rutherford Labs showed that 'local' had become the second most important purchase motivation after 'price'. 

"On social media between January 2020 and April 2020, there has been an average of 176 conversations per day about local and ethical businesses and this volume is increasing by about one additional conversation per day," the report said.

"Being a NZ-owned business has become more important across all categories, but it is still not as important as price-competitiveness."

Following concerns about high delivery commissions, in April, MBIE and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged Kiwis to shop around and support local.

Kiwis interested in supporting local businesses under the ShopKiwi campaign can go to the ShopKiwi website for more information.