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Online/Offline: Where is the Bottom Line?

John Long

Whether I’m pitching a new store design concept to a retailer, or forecasting retail floor space demand in a council hearing, the sense of a very dynamic (almost chaotic) future for retail is pervasive.

I think it’s easiest to say there is no line between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ retailing. It’s all one increasingly complex market, with many segments!

In late March the NZ Herald ran some very good articles on this subject noting recent moves by Hema/Alibaba, and Amazon Go, as examples of technological innovation in retailing.

Importantly these innovations delivered a great real time, ‘instore’ customer experience. I related to the promise that frustrating checkout queues could become a “thing of the past”.

However this enthusiasm and optimism about online and offline converging needs to be kept in context; there are “rules”.

One example is TAX. At the same time as the Herald articles ran, the BBC news reported Donald Trump stepping up ‘attacks’ on Amazon.

The random reactions of lawmakers can’t be ignored. That’s what makes this future so hard to see.

A couple of years ago I was caught by this. I went online and bought two Hawaiian shirts from a great online brand I had shopped many times before. I was shocked to find (on arrival of goods in NZ) the cost had doubled and also some paperwork was involved. Tax was the reason.

The national Government and Customs had quietly lifted the cost threshold for offshore purchases in response to local retail concerns and also (no doubt) to get more revenue.

I still love that brand experience and the product but will think twice about purchasing online/offshore in the future.

RCG In The News | High Demand for Skilled Tradespeople

Source: Maori Television 

RCG have been assisting NZMA over the last year to repurpose 8000m2 of warehouse space into a new trades campus in Mt Wellington. The trades campus features new classrooms, workshops, labs, and has been purpose-built to teach students wanting to learn trades skills in South Auckland. The campus will offer training in construction, electrical engineering, painting and plastering, plumbing, gas fitting and drain laying, and Youth Guarantee courses.The facility was officially opened this week by the Minister of Building and Construction, the Hon. Jenny Salesa. Maori Television were there to capture the action from the opening, click on the link above to see how it unfolded.


We teach real skills for today’s professions. Across seven campuses nationwide we deliver employment-focused vocational training to 3500 students each year in the fields of hospitality, cookery, business, retail, contact centre, trades, sports, early childhood education and health.

For more information 0800 222 116

In the Press

Local Media Highlights Monday 9 April to Tuesday 17 April 2018

Consumer confidence growing - Stats NZ

Consumers appear to be loosening the purse-strings, suggesting any post-election nerves have now well and truly settled.

Official figures from Statistics NZ show retail spending using electronic cards rose by one percent from February - twice the expected growth of 0.5 percent.

Spending on alcohol and groceries led the way, growing by 2.9 percent, while bars and restaurants also got in on the act with spending on hospitality up by nearly 1.4 percent.

(Source: Radio NZ)

Australian giant takes $200m-plus stake in Fletcher for unkown buyer

 An international investment management business has taken a big stand on Fletcher Building for a secret buyer, swooping on just over 5 per cent of the shares, indicating strong global interest in the business.

Ellerston Capital of Elizabeth St, Sydney wrote to the ASX on Friday, saying it has become a substantial holder.

(Source: NZ Herald)

Housing Minister Phil Twyford opens up a little more about the Unitec development in interview with Mt Albert Inc editor Bruce Morris

The Government is aiming to build 50 per cent more homes on its Unitec block than the target proposed under the original private scheme.

Wairaka Land Company, the Unitec subsidiary behind the initial plan to break up the land and sell it to developers, had drafted a masterplan envisaging 2675 homes on the 29 hectare part of the precinct surplus to its needs.

(Source: Interest)

Westpac report says Auckland housing shortage will get worse before it gets better - fixing problems will 'be a slow grind'

Auckland's housing shortage is continuing to worsen and will keep doing so for several years, according to a report on the region's housing market by Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod.

The report says that since 2012 Auckland's population growth had far outpaced the pace of building, creating a shortfall of 30,000 homes, which it describes as a conservative estimate.

(Source: Insight)

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