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December 2019 Issue
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2019 Online Retailer of the Year: Gearshop

Gearshop owner Hamish Pirie. Photo: Raymond Salisbury

Gearshop is going from strength to strength.

Since its beginnings in 2013, it’s tripled in size – and it’s set to keep growing.

Owner Hamish Pirie says the next few months will be spent expanding the warehouse to accommodate new stock, and building domestic websites for top-selling brands, such as Big Agnes.

Its Gearpoints loyalty programme has awarded more than a million points to customers, and they keep coming back.

For the second year running, Gearshop has won the Online Retailer of the Year award – proof that its growth isn’t affecting customer satisfaction.

“It proves we’re still doing things the right way and getting a good response from customers – obviously people are happy,” Pirie says.

Gearshop hasn’t always been an online retailer. It started life in 2006 as Altitude Outdoor – a specialist outdoors store in Nelson.

In 2010, Pirie started pushing online sales in a big way and, in 2013, he pulled out of retail altogether to focus solely on web sales.

Now unrestricted by retail hours, Pirie splits his time between running Gearshop and his car rental business and working with helicopter firefighter units in Australia.

He says there are plenty of benefits to being an online business.

“We can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and people have the convenience of ordering from home, or from anywhere on the planet,” he says.

It isn’t as easy or as cheap to run as people assume, however.

“I’d spend as much on the website as someone leasing premises in downtown Auckland, and anyone running an online company will say the same thing,” he says.

Runner up: Bivouac