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Inside TheMarket: The Warehouse Group goes into startup mode

Inside TheMarket: The Warehouse Group goes into startup mode

TheMarket lead team: Sarah Gunn, GM trading; Luke Davids, GM operations; Justus Wilde, CEO; Thomas Dallow, director of engineering; Albert Dallow, Chief Technology Officer; and Rob Cooke, CMO

TheMarket lead team: Sarah Gunn, GM trading; Luke Davids, GM operations; Justus Wilde, CEO; Thomas Dallow, director of engineering; Albert Dallow, Chief Technology Officer; and Rob Cooke, CMO

Credit: TheMarket

We made the decision to set up TheMarket separately so it can behave like a startup, so it can work in a very agile way

Nick Grayston, The Warehouse Group

The Warehouse Group has launched e-commerce venture TheMarket, an online shopping platform that brings some of the best local, international, and niche brands together in one place.

“This is our sixth consumer brand,” says The Warehouse Group CEO Nick Grayston.

“But,” as he explains, “TheMarket has been kept operationally separate from the group that includes The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, 1-Day.co.nz, and Torpedo7.” 

“We made the decision to set it up separately so it can behave like a startup, so it can work in a very agile way,” Grayston tells CIO New Zealand.

“That is why we were able to bring it to market so quickly.”

“Fourteen months from inception to launch is pretty massive,” he adds. “We want to make sure we keep that agility.”

 “While the UX (user experience) is elegant, it is very much an MVP (minimum viable product),” he states.

Credit: The Warehouse Group

This will be just one part of the ecosystem we are building

Nick Grayston, The Warehouse Group

Grayson stresses that, “TheMarket is one part of delivering on our strategy of investing in the digital future.” 

“We have completed a number of group projects to improve our digital reach for the future, including building a better supply chain, increasing our shared services competency, and improving our systems and data capability.” 

He notes further, “We are in the process of replatforming all of our digital properties, all of our e-commerce sites., And there is lots more to come, e-wallet, personalised pricing, microfinance, microinsurance.”

“We are creating a wide ecosystem that enables Kiwis to shop more conveniently and then leverage our omnichannel capability around our 250-plus stores around New Zealand.”

Currently, Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery, The Warehouse, and Torpedo7 stores act as ‘MarketPoints’ for pick up, return, and click and collect, with remaining stores to be rolled out over the next 12 months. 

TheMarket has also partnered with Fonterra Farm Source to create MarketPoints at 10 Farm Source stores around the country, so shoppers in rural areas can also take advantage of the site’s convenience.

He says more MarketPoints to be added over time. 

“Most Kiwis live within 30 minutes’ drive of a local Group store, so the existing omnichannel and distribution structure is a significant advantage, and will also help drive cross-brand foot traffic and sales for the Group,” says Wilde.

“We’re also able to access support from the Group’s Centres of Excellence, as well as their extensive customer database to help promote TheMarket.” 

“We will be adding more products, more functionality. This will be just one part of the ecosystem we are building.”

The front row seats at TheMarket launch in AucklandCredit: Photo by Divina Paredes
The front row seats at TheMarket launch in Auckland

It takes a marketplace

TheMarket launched this week with 1,500+ brands and over one million products. 

These include local brands Karen Walker, WORLD, Father Rabbit, Citta, and Barkers, as well as Australian and international brands PE Nation, Cue, Billabong, Cotton On, and The Nile.

It is headed by Justus Wilde, who was chief technology officer at MyMM, a joint venture between Wharf Holdings, Lane Crawford Joyce Group, and eCargo. 

Prior to this, Wilde founded e-commerce consultancy Amblique and also brought Demandware platform, now part of Salesforce, to Australia and New Zealand.  

Credit: Photo by Divina Paredes

We launched TheMarket as a tactical trading platform initially, but we will be continuing to develop the site by innovating the customer experience

Justus Wilde, TheMarket

“TheMarket is unlike anything that currently exists in New Zealand,” states Wilde. “It will give New Zealanders access to the world’s best local, international, and niche brands; improving range, availability, and delivery options in one place.  

“We focus on new in-season products from the most desirable brands covering every day and premium options. 

Although the marketplaces aren’t new, TheMarket is different from other sites, he states. 

“It’s much more content-focused with great design and discoverability, integrated with social, and brands selected on their desirability

It’s a contemporary, brand-driven e-commerce experience that incorporates the latest trends and insights.”

Wilde shares: “We launched TheMarket as a tactical trading platform initially, but we will be continuing to develop the site by innovating the customer experience.”

As an example, they will be looking at how they can improve delivery, using data to drive personalisation, and encourage loyalty through unique member offers.

Research shows that consumers prefer the convenience and experience of shopping with an online platform that carries a broad selection, rather than individual brands and retailers: Justus Wilde, TheMarketCredit: TheMarket
Research shows that consumers prefer the convenience and experience of shopping with an online platform that carries a broad selection, rather than individual brands and retailers: Justus Wilde, TheMarket

He notes that marketplaces represent 25 to 80 per cent of e-commerce spend in many major markets.

“We expect the share of marketplaces in New Zealand to reach 25 per cent of spend, around $3 billion, by 2025. It is exciting and a prime motivation for going after this space,” he says.

According to Wilde, a lot of major marketplaces “are standing on an existing technology stack”.

“This platform has been built for mobile consumers from the ground up,” he discloses. “Being mobile first from the start gives us a really interesting opportunity from a technology point of view.”

He points out that TheMarket is a closed marketplace, curated with local, international, and niche brands across everyday and premium categories. 

He says TheMarket also has its own technology team.

“It is very critical that we are a very separate business and that we are focused on being a platform.”

 Credit: TheMarket

The Warehouse is selling business to consumer. We are a platform that connects many consumers with many businesses

Justus Wilde, TheMarket

Wilde explains that, “The Warehouse is selling business to consumer. We are a platform that connects many consumers with many businesses. Our role is to intermediate that transaction and provide the services, the data and the systems around that.”

He further touts the advantages of a marketplace. 

“Research shows that consumers prefer the convenience and experience of shopping with an online platform that carries a broad selection, rather than individual brands and retailers,” he says. 

The successful marketplaces provide convenience - in selection, availability, inspiration, and value or offer.

TheMarket provides all prices in New Zealand dollars, buy-now, pay-later options, tracked shipping, and free returns. 

“Customers will enjoy local customer service, no matter where in the world they buy from via TheMarket,” he declares. 

“It is always about removing friction.” 

Credit: TheMarket

Karen Walker: Designer deconstructs disruption

Karen Walker and Sarah GunnCredit: TheMarket
Karen Walker and Sarah Gunn

Designer Karen Walker talks about why she partnered with TheMarket. 

“There is no ceiling, there is no limit to what you can do in this area,” says Walker, who joined the launch of TheMarket in Auckland.

“The disruption has already happened, the retail machine has already been broken, and it is being rebuilt.”

There is no ceiling, there is no limit to what you can do in this area

Karen Walker, designer

She says it is up to retailers how to transform themselves to fit into this new environment.

“A big part of that is taking every opportunity that technology allows us, and there are so many different ways you can exist in the dotcom landscape.”

Walker adds further that, “We love what technology has allowed us to build with our business and are always looking for ways to embrace any new opportunities being created."

She views TheMarket is a perfect example of this. 

“It is in areas like this... a completely different model, where the real opportunities are.”

At the panel discussion: Stuart Higgins, GM product, Cotton On Group; Jamie Whiting, managing director at Barkers Clothing; designer Karen Walker; and Justus Wilde, CEO, TheMarket Credit: TheMarket
At the panel discussion: Stuart Higgins, GM product, Cotton On Group; Jamie Whiting, managing director at Barkers Clothing; designer Karen Walker; and Justus Wilde, CEO, TheMarket

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Tags retailagileanalyticse-commercesalesforceonline shoppingAIMarketplacedesign thinkingdisruptionUIStartupecosystemomnichannelmachine learningUXthe Warehouse groupCIO50martechhuman centric designNick GraystonJustus WildeTheMarketFonterra Farm Sourcemobile-first

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