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MTB Direct launches in New Zealand

Popular Australian mountain biking business MTB Direct has expanded into New Zealand with the recent launch of a local website and shipping offer.

The online-only retailer has been serving customers in New Zealand for the past several years, but the experience left a lot to be desired. Prices were listed in Australian dollars, and shipping times were hit or miss.

“There seemed to be challenges around getting products through customs in a timely fashion. So sometimes it might only be a few days, but other times that could really blow out to weeks and we knew that wasn’t sustainable,” Jen Geale, MTB Direct co-founder and GM, told our sister site Inside Retail.

Local orders will now be sent from a warehouse in Auckland.

Another problem with the previous set-up was that MTB Direct wasn’t able to ship its full range to customers in New Zealand. Some products purchased from Australian wholesalers could only be sold to Australian customers.

“To sell to New Zealand customers meant sourcing from NZ wholesalers,” Geale explained. “And so we’ve gone and set things up ‘properly’ so we can offer the full, fast experience.”

The retailer has already connected with a range of wholesalers in New Zealand and aims to offer customers across the ditch the same experience it offers in Australia.

While New Zealand’s population is just a fifth of Australia’s, the country still represents an attractive growth opportunity for MTB Direct given the high level of interest and participation in the sport.

Geale noted that the national body for mountain biking in New Zealand has more paying members than the equivalent body in Australia.

“There are trails scattered across the country, and pre-Covid, many Australian mountain bikers would travel to New Zealand to experience the trails because the sport is so expensive there,” she explained.

Geale herself spent three months in Queenstown with her family earlier this year and was planning to return with her entire team at MTB Direct until Covid-19 happened.

The pandemic delayed the New Zealand launch slightly, but once the business stabilised in Australia, the team followed through on the expansion plans. And so far, the results have been promising.

Despite only going live a few weeks ago, revenue and visitors to the site have already more than tripled, according to Geale.  

“Sales in Australia have been high and growing too – it seems like people are still wanting to get outside, on their bike, and enjoy some exercise in the fresh air. We’re experiencing all-time peaks in demand and it’s showing no signs of slowing down just yet!”

This story first appeared on our sister site Inside Retail New Zealand.

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