Six months on from selling his remaining 25 percent stake in Sella and GrabOne to APN for a cool $4 million, Shane Bradley launches his latest endeavour: Pet.co.nz.
Pet.co.nz is the first vertical Bradley is tackling under his new e-commerce company ShopHQ, which currently has 12 staff working out of Newmarket in Auckland. Speaking to StopPress, he says three or four other vertical shopping sites will kick off this year.
Bradley is quick to sidestep any discussion about why he left Sella and GrabOne, instead simply stating he wanted a new challenge.
“I’m always looking at the next thing. It’s hard for me to take a rest and last year I looked at 20 different things before settling on ShopHQ,” he says.
Selling pet goods was a no brainer after Bradley became a pet owner himself 15 months ago with a Golden Retriever named Cooper.
“I was looking for an easy way to buy pet food for Cooper online and saw a massive gap in the market,” he says.
It’s also a very lucrative market in New Zealand. According to the Companion Animal Council’s 2011 survey, Kiwis spend a combined $1.6 billion a year on their pets.
There are other competitors selling online pet goods. One of New Zealand’s largest retailers The Warehouse has a whole section dedicated to it. Bradley says Pet.co.nz’s main differentiator is free deliveries straight from the company’s warehouse in Auckland and a catalog of over 5000 products.
The goal is to become more than just a store for chew toys, says Bradley. By creating content like how-tos and tips for pet owners he hopes to turn pet.co.nz into a community. He’s also pursuing eco-friendly pet food manufacturers, in order to cater for a wider group of pet owners.
“I don’t think anyone is doing it skilfully and focusing on the niche. If you’re a big company it’ll never be part of your focus,” he says.
Asked if adding more verticals later in the year will cause ShopHQ to lose focus on its pet brand, Bradley says the small company won’t face that problem.
“We’re not going to be opening 20 or 30 verticals, we’ll be focusing on three or four so it will be okay.”
An online ad campaign starts today to promote pet.co.nz. Bradley says the collateral was created in-house and will appear over the next four to six weeks.
“The key thing is building a product that’s so good people will tell their friends about it and do the advertising for you,”says Bradley.